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Russians relied on bitcoin to finance election hacking, prosecutors say

The 12 Russians indicted on Friday for conspiracy to intervene within the 2016 presidential election used well-known ways to penetrate pc programs. To finance the operation, they relied on bitcoin, federal prosecutors stated.

The indictment, which stemmed from the investigation of particular counsel Robert Mueller, described the actions in a bit on cash laundering. “The Defendants conspired to launder the equal of greater than $95,000 via an online of transactions structured to capitalize on the perceived anonymity of cryptocurrencies similar to bitcoin,” the federal government indictment claims.

Purchases with bitcoin included pc servers and area registrations. Prosecutors allege they used bitcoin to assist conceal their identification. 

“Using bitcoin allowed the Conspirators to keep away from direct relationships with conventional monetary establishments, permitting them to evade better scrutiny of their identities and sources of funds,” the indictment reads.

They used a number of “devoted electronic mail accounts” to trace the bitcoin transactions. One electronic mail account named “gfadel47,” acquired bitcoin fee requests from roughly 100 totally different electronic mail accounts, prosecutors stated. 

The Russian officers allegedly used faux names, together with “Ward DeClaur” and “Mike Lengthy,” when buying a Malaysian server used to plant malware on networks of the Democratic Congressional Marketing campaign Committee and Democratic Nationwide Committee.

“It price little or no cash,” CNET senior producer Dan Patterson stated on CBSN. “What they actually invested in was psychological warfare, ensuring they may trick individuals into falling for these spear phishing kind of assaults.” 

Patterson stated it was basically “a quite simple assault” that tricked staffers into clicking on emails from rogue accounts. That enabled Russian operatives to steal usernames and passwords and finally infiltrate all the community by exploiting safety holes in Microsoft Alternate.

He notes it wasn’t the primary time Russian hackers are believed to have used such ways.

“They did the identical factor in Ukraine,” Patterson stated, referring to a sequence of cyberattacks that wreaked havoc on that nation’s power grid. “Actually, the Russians in all probability used Ukraine as a check mattress for cyberattacks focused on the U.S.”

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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