The United States has announced that it has charged four Russian hackers with ties to the Russian government for attacks between 2012 and 2018 against hundreds of entities in the world’s energy sector.
“Hackers with ties to the Russian state pose a serious and ongoing threat to critical infrastructure in the United States and worldwide,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement.
“While these are past activities, it clearly shows that US companies need to strengthen their defences and remain vigilant,” she added. US President Joe Biden said on Monday that US companies have a “patriotic” duty to better protect themselves against computer attacks from Russia in response to Western sanctions imposed since the invasion of Ukraine.
However, the two files that were made public on Thursday date from before the war. A first indictment, dated June 2021, is against Evgueni Gladkikh, a 36-year-old programmer associated with the Russian Defense Ministry. He is accused of participating in the attack on a refinery in a third country, in 2017, with malware called Triton.
A second indictment, dated August 2021 in Kansas, is against Pavel Akoulov, Mikhail Gavrilov and Marat Tyoukov. They are suspected of being agents of the Russian security services (FSB) and having carried out a spate of attacks in the energy sector between 2012 and 2017. None of the accused has been arrested.