The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced charges Wednesday against a dual Canadian-Kazakh national, two Russian intelligence officers and a fourth man, who lives in the U.S. but has ties to Russia, accusing them of hacking into at least a half billion Yahoo user accounts.

As a result of the charges, Toronto Police fugitive squad arrested Mr. Karim Baratov at 8:05 a.m. this morning without incident at his Ancaster home and turned him over to the RCMP.  Baratov, a 22-year-old Kazakh-Canadian is alleged to have hacked scores of e-mail accounts on behalf of people linked to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in exchange for payments of about $100 U.S. per account, according to a U.S. court indictment unsealed on Wednesday.

The DOJ announced “the indictment of four individuals responsible for the 2014 hack into the network of email provider Yahoo, the theft of information about at least 500 million Yahoo accounts and the use of that information to obtain the contents of accounts at Yahoo and other email providers.

The defendants include two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), an intelligence and law enforcement agency of the Russian Federation and two criminal hackers with whom they conspired to accomplish these intrusions.

Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, both FSB officers, protected, directed, facilitated and paid criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions in the United States and elsewhere.

They worked with co-conspirators Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov to hack into computers of American companies providing email and internet-related services, to maintain unauthorized access to those computers and to steal information, including information about individual users and the private contents of their accounts.”

The charges arise from a compromise of Yahoo user accounts that began at least as early as 2014.  The seriousness of the security breach almost undid the negotiations of Verizon’s purchase of Yahoo.

U.S. authorities will now seek Mr. Baratov’s extradition, acting U.S. Assistant Attorney-General Mary McCord told reporters.

We, both individuals and corporations must be paranoid about data security.  But the capture of Baratov gives optimism that the perpetrators of such incidents can be tracked down.

The DOJ announcement can be seen at https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/acting-assistant-attorney-general-mary-b-mccord-delivers-remarks-press-conference

A CBC news report can be seen at http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/russia-hackers-charged-yahoo-breach-1.4026006