Russian ‘influencers’ of US Elections Charged by DoJ
The political melodrama pushing back to 2016 US presidential elections spilled over to 2018 as well. On July 13, the Justice Department (DoJ) indicted twelve Russian citizens to have committed crimes which resulted in ‘interfering’ with the US Presidential elections. The DoJ identified these nationals to have used cryptocurrencies to fund their federal crimes.
Intelligence Directorate agents mined for BTC
In the announcement, the august body found that the accused nationals worked for the intelligence bureaus of Russia and had used alternate currency such as Bitcoin to hack computer networks of local US offices. The hackers had focused on intruding networks which were related to the political party, Democratic Party’s candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign. They also intruded provincial government’s state boards across the US and a host of technology companies.
In the District of Columbia, a grand jury was formed with FBI units from Pittsburgh, San Francisco as well as the National Security Division.
The investigations by these agencies helped in identifying and eventually establishing with evidence that cryptocurrency was used to buy accounts as well as servers. These hardware and accounts were then used to access networks and engage in spearphishing the campaign.
The entire attack was masterminded in such a way that it appeared as a hack by a beleaguered Russian technology group or a cryptocurrency loyalist group.
However, it now appears to be to the contrary. The whole campaign was disarmed by the calculated manipulation by these ‘interferences.’
The Russian intelligence agents after penetrating network of the Democratic Party bought thousands of emails and documents which were stolen and released on DCLeaks.com. These compromised account details were then re-used by a group allegedly calling themselves as ‘American Hacktivists.’
In the run-up to the investigations, DoJ has not identified that the criminal activities of these nationals were responsible for altering the number of votes or the outcome of the elections that were held in 2016.
DoJ’s indictment includes criminal charges which total eleven. These include charges of money laundering in cryptocurrencies. The value of the money illegally held by these five Russian nationals is listed as $95,000. These funds were gained by indulging in hacking activities. The indictment also identifies that the funds were raised by these nationals through bitcoin mining activities and they paid the website DCLeaks.com, with the same bitcoin money. The same funds were used for spearphishing their attacks.
The government body has been the umbrella body overseeing investigations into all types of cryptocurrency crimes. These were related to a series of price manipulation allegations in the last weeks of May. The organization has been monitoring the investigations into Bitcoin and Ethereum prices.
In the past year, the US cryptocurrency industry has been the target of allegations of price manipulation, apart from the intentional hacking and rigging of the 2016 US Presidential elections by using these anonymous coins. The DoJ verdict was much awaited, ever since the investigations commenced after the announcement of the results.
The regulatory atmosphere to control and monitor cryptocurrencies in the US received a fillip with the President ordering the formation of a new task force to watch financial fraud, cryptocurrency fraud, and other digital currency crimes.