Two Chinese nationals charged with hacking US government and military

Posted December 23, 2018

United States deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said China had "violated" its 2015 agreement to curb cyber espionage for commercial purposes. According to US officials, those are industries related to "Made in China 2025" - a Chinese government plan to extend economic influence globally.

In London, the Foreign Office likewise accused China of not living up to their bilateral agreement against hacking driven by commercial and economic motives.

The charges are the latest move by the Trump administration to demonstrate how China has routinely violated an informal anti-espionage or "data theft" agreement between former President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which came about in 2015 after US threats to retaliate over the China's persistent use of hackers to steal new technologies. The attacks were probably made in the period between 2006 and 2018.

The Justice Department is charging two Chinese citizens with carrying out an extensive hacking campaign to steal data from USA companies.

The US has charged the two Chinese nationals with conducting a massive state- sponsored cyber theft targeting companies and government agencies in at least a dozen countries.

WASHINGTON - The United States and more than a dozen allies are expected on Thursday to condemn China for efforts to steal other countries' trade secrets and technologies and to compromise government computers, the Washington Post reported.

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Meanwhile, if something like it occurs, God forbid, it can lead to the death of the whole civilization and, maybe, our planet. Any such inspections - if they were to happen - should not be unilateral but should take place in both countries, he added.

"We urge the U.S. to immediately correct the wrong practices, stop smearing the Chinese side on cyber security issues, and revoke the so-called prosecution of (the) Chinese personnel to avoid serious damage to the relations between the two countries", Hua said in a statement.

"The allegation itself will give rise to some suspicion, at least, among the global public, that these hacking activities are actually supported by the Chinese state", he said.

Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong had a part of the Advanced Persistent Threat 10 (APT10 Group), a hacking group working out of China, and also acted in association with China's Ministry of State Security, the country's intelligence agency.

Those cases involved both hacking and recruiting insiders to steal data and IT system passwords.

It has always been an "open secret" that USA government agencies have hacked into and listening in on foreign governments, companies and individuals, the ministry added. We know why they are doing it.

Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, also have smeared China on cybersecurity issues, Hua said, adding that China asks those countries to respect the facts to avoid damaging their relationship and cooperation in major areas with China.

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For example, he offered to mediate in Meng Wanzhou's case, technological giant Huawei's financial director arrested in Canada, if it would serve to close a trade pact with China.

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted two Chinese spies involved in an worldwide hacking scheme that targeted 45 private firms and government organizations over a span of 12 years.

And, according to reports, USA officials believe Chinese government-linked hackers were behind the theft of data on some 500 million guests of hotel giant Marriott, first reported on November 30.

The indictment filed in federal court in Manhattan describes how in recent years, as government agencies and corporations have shifted data to cloud computing providers and services including email and collaboration tools to tech service providers, the Stone Panda hackers followed, typically stealing the log-in credentials of system administrators in order to reach coveted proprietary data of clients.

They are not in custody and the United States does not have an extradition treaty with China.

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