These GRU hackers and their co-conspirators engaged in computer intrusions and attacks intended to support Russian government efforts to undermine, retaliate against, or otherwise destabilize: (1) Ukraine; (2) Georgia; (3) elections in France; (4) efforts to hold Russia accountable for its use of a weapons-grade nerve agent, Novichok, on foreign soil; and (5) the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games after Russian athletes were banned from participating under their nation’s flag, as a consequence of Russian government-sponsored doping effort.
John C. Demers Assistant Attorney General For National Security, noted that the indictment does not allege interference in the U.S. presidential election.
The defendants in this case were all members of Military Unit 74455 of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate, an intelligence agency known as the GRU. The Department previously charged members of this same unit, also known to cybersecurity researchers as “Sandworm Team,” for their role in Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections. We make no election interference allegations here. Rather, today’s charges illustrate how Unit 74455’s election activities were but one part of the work of a persistent, sophisticated hacking group busy sabotaging perceived enemies or detractors of the Russian Federation, regardless of the consequences to innocent bystanders or their destabilizing effect.