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Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Three former U.S. intelligence officers agreed to pay nearly $1.7 million in penalties over three years after admitting to violating U.S. hacking and export laws while employed by the United Arab Emirates, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The men confessed to supplying the UAE government with advanced offensive cyber technology that could be used to illegally gain access to computers, including mobile phones, around the world.

  • Marc Baier, Ryan Adams and Daniel Gericke also agreed to a lifetime ban on future U.S. security clearances and certain restrictions to their future employment options in order to resolve an investigation into their actions.

The big picture: Baier, Adams and Gericke worked for DarkMatter, a company that is an arm of the UAE government, according to the New York Times.

  • They admitted to carrying out hacking operations for the UAE government between 2016 and 2019, the Justice Department said.
  • With the technology the three men supplied, UAE cyber officials were able to breach the servers for an undisclosed U.S. company, giving them access to "any of the tens of millions of smartphones and mobile devices" using that company's operating system over an 18-month period.

What they're saying: “Hackers-for-hire and those who otherwise support such activities in violation of U.S. law should fully expect to be prosecuted for their criminal conduct," said Mark Lesko, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Go deeper: Des Moines school district warns of "more sophisticated" hacking attempts

Go deeper

Dec 7, 2021 - Technology

Google sues foreign botnet operators

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google LLC has filed a lawsuit against a botnet named Glupteba, believed to be operated from Russia. It's a network that the company says has been infecting Google services on Windows computers for years.

Why it matters: Tech companies are taking the reins in fighting back against computer hackers, not just relying on law enforcement to do it.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor on Jan. 18. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.