US charges two Chinese nationals with hacking

World Today

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. The Justice Department is charging two Chinese citizens with carrying out an extensive hacking campaign to steal data from U.S. companies. An indictment was unsealed Thursday against Zhu Hua and Zhang Shillong. Court papers filed in Manhattan federal court allege the hackers were able to breach the computers of more than 45 entities in 12 states. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The U.S. Justice Department has charged two Chinese citizens with conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Justice Department officials said Zhang Shilong and Zhu Hua are part of a hacking group known as Advanced Persistent Threat 10, or APT-10. The two suspects have not been arrested and remain at large.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.


Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said:

The accusation violates the basic principle in international relations, harms China-U.S. cooperation. China firmly opposes such acts.

[The] Chinese government’s stance on cybersecurity has been consistent and clear. China is a firm supporter of cybersecurity and opposes internet espionage of any forms. Chinese government has never been involved or supported anyone’s commercial hacking in any form.

The U.S. departments have long been conducting unlawful hacking and surveillance on foreign governments, enterprises, and individuals in an organized manner. It’s a known secret. China will not accept U.S. accusation as it’s an act of recrimination.

China urges U.S. to stop its wrong doing and revoke its so called lawsuits against the Chinese citizens, so to avoid harming bilateral cooperation. China will adapt necessary measures to safeguard its cyber security and interests.

The United Kingdom and some other countries have also made wrong comments about China on the issue of cybersecurity. China will not accept this. We urge these countries to respect fact and stop slandering China, and avoid hurting their bilateral relationships with China, or cooperation with China in important areas.

Prosecutors allege that, from 2006 through 2018, APT10 targeted private tech companies and government entities to steal “…data, intellectual property and confidential business and technological information at managed service providers (MSPs), which are companies that remotely manage the information technology infrastructure of businesses and governments around the world…”

The DOJ declined to name any of the companies but said the U.S. Navy and NASA were targeted.

The companies operate in sectors including telecommunications, finance and healthcare. The impacted networks are based in at least a dozen countries including Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Officials said a common tactic known as “spear phishing” was used: typically misleading emails are sent to victims that lure them into clicking a link which inserts malware into a computer network allowing hackers access to data.

Prosecutors said the hacking operation was conducted to give China an “unfair advantage” in the global marketplace.

“This is outright cheating and theft, and it gives China an unfair advantage at the expense of law-abiding businesses and countries that follow the international rules in return for the privilege of participating in the global economic system,” Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said.

No hard evidence was presented in the indictment. In the U.S. court system, little evidence is typically made public while securing an indictment. China has repeatedly denied involvement in hacking schemes and has condemned all cyberattacks.

Einar Tangen on the US espionage indictments against two Chinese nationals

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with CGTN’s Current Affairs Commentator Einar Tangen, about the espionage indictments the U.S. has issued against two Chinese nationals.