WASHINGTON - U.S. prosecutors have charged six Russian military intelligence officers in connection with a global computer malware campaign that struck the 2017 French presidential election and the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea among other targets.
The cyber campaign represented "the most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group," said John C. Demers, head of the Justice Department's national security division.
"No country has weaponized its cyber capabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russia, wantonly causing unprecedented damage to pursue small tactical advantages and to satisfy fits of spite," Demers said Monday at a news conference.
The six hackers, all officers of the Russian military intelligence service known as GRU, "engaged in computer intrusions and attacks intended to support Russian government efforts to undermine, retaliate against, or otherwise destabilize" targets around the world, the Justice Department said.
These included Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure; Georgian companies and government entities; the elections in France; an investigation into Russia's poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in Britain; and the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the Justice Department said.
In addition, the hackers, using the NotPetya malware, struck hospitals and medical facilities in the Heritage Valley Health System in Pennsylvania, a FedEx Corporation subsidiary and an unidentified U.S pharmaceutical manufacturer.
The Justice Department had previously indicted GRU officers with hacking Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential election. The latest charges do not allege election interference on the part of the GRU.
The six defendants were identified as Yuriy Sergeyevich Andrienko, Sergey Vladimirovich Detistov, Pavel Valeryevich Frolov, Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev, Artem Valeryevich Ochichenko, and Petr Nikolayevich Pliskin
They face charges of conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and false registration of a domain name.