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US charges six Russians for NotPetya cyberattack in 2017

US charges six Russians for NotPetya cyberattack in 2017
The attack caused multiple APMT facilities to grind to a halt

Six Russian intelligence agents have been charged by the US Department of Justice over several cyberattacks in recent years including the NotPetya malware attack in 2017, which cost Maersk around US$300m.

The attack brought down Maersk’s IT systems and caused multiple APM Terminals (APMT) facilities to close for days, resulting in global supply chain chaos.

The six people charged are all officers in the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a military intelligence agency.

They are alleged to have engaged in computer attacks intended to support Russian government efforts to undermine, retaliate against, or otherwise destabilise Ukraine, Georgia, French elections in 2017, efforts to hold Russia accountable for the use of a weapons-grade nerve agent in the UK, and the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

Assistant attorney general for national security John C. Demers said: “No country has weaponised its cyber capabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russia, wantonly causing unprecedented damage to pursue small tactical advantages and to satisfy fits of spite.

“Today the department has charged these Russian officers with conducting the most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group, including by unleashing the NotPetya malware.  No nation will recapture greatness while behaving in this way.”

In June 2017, destructive malware attacks that infected computers worldwide using malware known as NotPetya affected Maersk, as well as the Heritage Valley Health System in Pennsylvania, a FedEx Corporation subsidiary, TNT Express and a large US pharmaceutical manufacturer.

The defendants, Yuriy Sergeyevich Andrienko, 32; Sergey Vladimirovich Detistov, 35; Pavel Valeryevich Frolov, 28; Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev, 29; Artem Valeryevich Ochichenko, 27; and Petr Nikolayevich Pliskin, 32, are all charged in seven counts.

These comprise conspiracy to conduct computer fraud and abuse, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, damaging protected computers, and aggravated identity theft.  Each defendant is charged in every count.