Four Russian Hackers Indicted

( According to the Department of Justice, four Russian agents were indicted last year for hacking attacks targeting the global energy sector, including a nuclear power plant operation in the US and a Saudi petrochemical facility.

Between 2012 and 2018, the Russian hackers targeted thousands of computers at hundreds of companies in 135 countries, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said last Thursday.

The Justice Department said one of the Russians was employed by a research institute with the Russian Ministry of Defense while the other three were agents with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

The two indictments were unsealed shortly after President Biden warned that Russia would step up its cyberattacks against US businesses in response to sanctions. However, the two are not connected.

Evgeny Viktorovich Gladkikh was indicted in June of last year. Gladkikh, 36, is a computer programmer with a Russian Ministry of Defense institute. He was indicted along with unnamed coconspirators for seeking to hack industrial control systems at global energy facilities.

Evgeny Gladkikh is accused of hacking a Saudi refinery in 2017 using the malware “Triton” or “Trisis.” His co-conspirators designed the Triton malware used to prevent the refinery’s safety systems from functioning.

From February to July of 2018, the co-conspirators researched similar US-owned refineries in the United States, but were unsuccessful at hacking into the company’s computer systems, the DOJ said.

The other three Russians, FSB agents Pavel Aleksandrovich Akulov, 36, Mikhail Mikhailovich Gavrilov, 42, and Marat Valeryevich Tyukov, 39, were indicted in August 2021 and charged with carrying out multiple energy sector hacking attacks between 2012 and 2017.

The three agents were members of the FSB group known as Center 16 and worked for the operational group Military Unit 71330, known by cybersecurity experts as “Dragonfly,” “Energetic Bear,” and “Crouching Yeti.”

The DOJ said the three agents carried out a successful spear-phishing attack on the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation in Burlington, Kansas. Wolf Creek operates a nuclear power plant.

As they are Russians, none of them are in custody. The State Department has offered up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest of the three FSB agents.