Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital currencies were part of the efforts of Russian intelligence agents to hide their tracks while attacking the World Anti-Doping Agency and other entities, as revealed by the US indictment.
Kremlin-supported hackers working for Russian military intelligence (GRU) have used cryptocurrency as part of their activities around the world in an attempt to hide their ties with the Russian state, the US Department of Justice He said on Thursday. The department indicted seven GRU officials for attempting to obtain illegal access to computers, websites and data systems of US citizens, agencies and companies, as well as international organizations.
The GRU agents were part of a larger network, revealed on Thursday by the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The three countries accused Moscow of organizing large-scale attacks on bodies and individuals who were investigating the Russian state.
The US authorities claimed that the seven GRU agents received virtual currency payments, including Bitcoin (BTC)and partially financed their activities through the mining sector.
"The conspirators used several dedicated e-mail accounts to track basic information about bitcoin transactions and to facilitate bitcoin payments to suppliers.One of these dedicated accounts received hundreds of bitcoin payment requests from about 100 different accounts e-mail, "wrote the Department of Justice in the indictment.
Because most of the US victims were in Pennsylvania, the Justice Department filed an indictment against the seven GRU officials in the Western District Court of Pennsylvania. According to the indictment, the hackers received cryptocurrency for the development of infrastructure and a fake website of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
"In those cases where the conspirators were acquiring hacking infrastructure, payments were made using a complex network of transactions that involved operational accounts in fictitious names and typically used cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, to further mask their identities and conduct."
At the time, WADA, located in Canada, was investigating allegations of a state-supported doping program for Russian athletes. Many of the investigators were US citizens.
According to the indictment, the GRU agents also targeted the US Anti-Doping Agency (USDA) and several international organizations including the FIFA global football body, the Sports Arbitration Court (TAS / CAS), the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
In July, the United States Department of Justice declared that Russian spies received digital currencies as payments for their attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.