US federal authorities have charged 4 men – including 2 Russian spies – in regards to the massive 2014 Yahoo data breach that resulted in the stolen data of over 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014.

It is speculated that the Russian government used the information obtain to conduct a range of espionage activities, including the targeting of “Yahoo trade secrets that contained, among other data, subscriber information including users; names, recovery email accounts, phone numbers and certain information required to manually create or “mint,” account authentication web browser “cookies” for more than 500 million Yahoo accounts” according to an indictment.

In addition to the above Alexsey Belan – a 29 Latvian born Russian national – was able to steal financial information such as gift cards and credit card numbers from webmail accounts and used the accounts to profit from earning commissions on fraudulently redirecting a subset of Yahoo’s search engine traffic.

As the frequency and severity of cyber attacks increase, Director of the FBI James Comey identified the priority “to pierce the veil of anonymity surrounding cyber crimes,” and that US national security authorities “are shrinking the world to ensure that cyber criminals think twice before targeting U.S. persons and interests.”