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Canadian Karim Baratov among four charged in massive hack of Yahoo

The Justice Department has charged two Russian intelligence officials and another two hackers hired by the Russian government with stealing more than 500 million accounts from Yahoo.

Four people, including two Russian Federal Security Service officers, have been indicted by a San Francisco federal grand jury in connection with a 2014 hacking attack on Yahoo, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

Officials identified the agents as Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, both of whom were part of the successor agency to Russia's KGB.

Of the four charged, one was taken into custody on Tuesday in Canada, authorities said.

Acting assistant attorney general Mary McCord announced the indictments at a news conference in Washington DC today. The charges for one of the largest computer hacks in American history, included conspiracy, economic espionage, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

The breach announcements were the latest in a series of setbacks for the Internet pioneer, which has fallen on hard times in recent years after being eclipsed by younger, fast-growing rivals including Alphabet Inc's Google and Facebook Inc. The company was accused of not fully disclosing the extent of the breaches after more details emerged while the terms of the acquisition by Verizon was still being negotiated. After announcing the indictments USA will put out another official request for their extradition, he said.

The four are accused of targeting the email accounts of Russian and USA government officials, reporters, financial services employees and military personnel, officials said.

According to the indictment, the cybercrime was carried out from at least January 2014 until September 2016, but the Justice Department said information stolen information continued to be used up until at least December 2016.

This marks the first time the USA government has issued criminal charges against Russian officials for cyber attacks. McCord said it appears the hackers used the attack for intelligence gathering as well as financial gain.

The announcement comes as USA authorities investigate Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election through a hacking campaign.

In addition to the 2014 breach, Yahoo said it had a 2013 security breach affecting more than 1 billion accounts and has not determined the cause of that breach.

Ultimately, the price of the deal was cut $350 million to a final price of $4.48 billion.