Russia’s hateful eight: FBI reveals most wanted hackers as bungling spies unmask 300 agents
- Vladimir Putin’s bungling spies were unmasked in FBI wanted posters yesterday
- Bureau named 8 Kremlin agents accused of cyber attacks targeting US and UK
- Spy agencies around the world now have a database of Russian cyber spies
Sam Greenhill for the Daily Mail
Vladimir Putin’s bungling spies were unmasked in FBI wanted posters yesterday.
The bureau named eight Kremlin agents – including the bumbling four-strong Hague gang – accused of cyber attacks targeting the US and Britain.
It came as the Russian president faced further humiliation over his ‘dumb Bond’ spies last night after the spies caught in Holland in April inadvertently outed another 300 Kremlin agents.
Dutch Ministry defence issued pictures of Evgenii Serebriakov (left) seen here at the Olympic games in Brazil on 14th August 2016.
Oleg Sotnikov (left), who has been named as one of the four GRU officers who tried to hack the global chemical weapons watchdog. Alexei Sergey Vich Morenets (right) uploaded a picture of his face to the website mylove.ru using a photograph taken in the Russian capital
Spy agencies around the world now have a database of Russian cyber spies – because two of the men caught in The Hague had diplomatic passports using their real names and dates of birth.
Investigative website Bellingcat – which exposed the true identity of one of the Salisbury novichok assassins – checked Hague hacker Alexei Morenetz’s name against a public register of car ownership in Russia. His Lada’s registered address is Military Unit 26165, which houses the Kremlin’s cyber warfare department.
In one of the worst intelligence breaches in recent history, it turns out there are 305 other cars registered to that address. The list of GRU spies includes their names, dates of birth, passport details and even their mobile phone numbers – unmasking Putin’s supposedly elite cyber attack unit. Morenetz was further embarrassed when it was revealed his profile picture on a dating website showed him in front of the GRU headquarters in Moscow. It comes a day after authorities named four GRU officers caught red-handed in The Hague, outside the headquarters of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog as it investigated the Salisbury poisonings. Adding to Putin’s woes last night:
- The identity of the second Salisbury assassin is on the brink of being unveiled;
- Moscow faces new international sanctions to punish it for launching a four-year cyber Cold War;
- The US charged seven Russian spies with crimes including hacking, identity theft and fraud using crypto-currencies.
The Kremlin dismissed all the allegations as anti-Russian prejudice. Putin’s spokesman said Britain and its allies making the claims were ‘obsessed with hysteria, spy mania and Russophobia’.
Putin’s team of four ‘dumb Bonds’ caught in The Hague were noticed by Dutch intelligence the moment they landed in Amsterdam.
A man identified as Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin (left) is seen in an undated photograph provided by the FBI. A man identified as Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov (right) is seen in an undated photograph provided by the FBI
A man identified as Artem Andreyevich Malyshev (left) is seen in an undated photograph provided by the FBI.
MI6 was tipped off and a joint British and Dutch spy team shadowed them, watching them sitting in their hire car outside the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Unlike more common remote hacking techniques, the GRU agents needed to park close to the site to hack into the organisation’s wi-fi.
Dutch police later swooped on the Marriott Hotel next door where the Russians had booked rooms. Hotel manager Vincent Pahlplatz said police officers were asking him which rooms the men were in when the spies emerged from the lift.
He added: ‘The police officers simply told the men, “Will you please follow me”, and they did.’ He said the men left calmly – until one threw his phone on the ground and stamped on it.
The four escaped criminal charges because they carried diplomatic passports and were deported to Moscow.