This Tuesday, July 31, 2018 photo shows the entrance of the building of the Russian military intelligence service, named in Robert Mueller's July 13 indictment, as home to GRU Unit 26165 in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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Six years ago, a Russian-speaking cybersecurity researcher received an unsolicited email from Kate S. Milton. Milton claimed to work for the Moscow-based anti-virus firm Kaspersky. In an exchange that began in halting English and quickly switched to Russian, Milton said she was impressed by the researcher's work on exploits – the digital lock picks used by hackers to break into vulnerable systems – and wanted to be copied in on any new ones that the researcher came across.The researcher – who works as a security engineer and runs the malware-sharing site on the side – always had a pretty good idea that Milton wasn't who she said she was.It identified "Kate S. Milton" as an alias for military intelligence officer Ivan Yermakov, one of 12 Russian spies accused of breaking into the Democratic National Committee and publishing its emails in an attempt to influence the 2016 election.The researcher, who gave her exchanges with Milton to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said she wasn't pleased to learn she had been corresponding with an alleged Russian spy. It isn't clear whether Yermakov was working for the GRU when he first masqueraded as Kate S. Milton.
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