DOJ Charges Russian Accused of Hacking Ukraine’s Government Systems in 2022

Russian national Amin Timovich Stigal is accused of conspiring to hack into and destroy government computer systems and data in Ukraine. Photo: Shutterstock

By Steve Neavling

A Russian national has been charged with conspiring to hack into and destroy government computer systems and data in Ukraine and allied countries, including the U.S., the Justice Department announced Wednesday. 

The DOJ also announced a $10 million reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Amin Timovich Stigal, 22. 

A federal grand jury in Maryland indicted Stigal on Tuesday.

Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the hacking targets included Kyiv’s government systems and non-military-related data. Later, computer systems in the United States and other countries supporting Ukraine were targeted.

Stigal remains at large. The State Department’s offer stands for information on his location or any malicious cyberactivity linked to him.

“As alleged, the defendant conspired with Russian military intelligence on the eve of Russia’s unjust and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine to launch cyberattacks targeting the Ukrainian government and later targeting its allies, including the United States,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. 

In January 2022, Stigal and members of Russia’s intelligence service allegedly used a U.S.-based company to distribute malware known as “WisperGate” to Ukrainian government computer systems, aiming to destroy the systems and related data. By August, the same group had hacked the transportation infrastructure of an unidentified central European country supporting Ukraine.

“Amin Timovich Stigal attempted to leverage malware to aid the Russian military in the invasion of Ukraine,” FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said. “Today’s indictment demonstrates the FBI’s unwavering commitment to combat malicious cyber activities by our adversaries, and we will continue to work with our international partners to thwart attempts to undermine and harm our allies.”

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