WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Thursday unsealed charges against four Russian nationals it accused of carrying out a yearslong hacking campaign that targeted thousands of computers in the U.S. and around the world in a bid to gain access to systems that could disrupt or physically damage vital energy facilities.
The defendants all worked for the Russian government and targeted hundreds of companies in 135 countries, U.S. authorities said.
The indictments cover alleged activity that took place between 2012 and 2018, officials said. In recent weeks the Biden administration has repeatedly warned U.S. businesses, including energy companies, that they should be on high alert for the potential of debilitating Russian cyberattacks that could occur as a form of retaliation from the Kremlin for the punishing economic sanctions put in place against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
See also: ‘The Cold War was over, I think it’s restarted’: Putin’s cyberwar judo tactics, and how to cope with our fear of hacks
“Russian state-sponsored hackers pose a serious and persistent threat to critical infrastructure both in the United States and around the world,” Lisa Monaco, deputy attorney general, said on Thursday. “Although the criminal charges unsealed today reflect past activity, they make crystal clear the urgent ongoing need for American businesses to harden their defenses and remain vigilant.
An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.
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