WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) – Four Chinese citizens were indicted in a global hacking campaign targeting dozen of companies, universities and government agencies in the US and abroad, the US Department of Justice said Monday.
The indictment was revealed when the United States and a coalition of allies on Monday accused the Chinese Ministry of State Security of a global cyber hacking campaign, specifically attributing a major Microsoft attack announced earlier this year to hackers who work for Beijing. Continue reading
The hacking attack was sponsored by the Ministry of State Security and focused on information that would greatly benefit Chinese companies and corporations, including research and development processes, according to the indictment cited by the Justice Department.
A response from the defendants was not immediately available.
The defendants and officials from the Hainan State Security Ministry (HSSS) attempted to use a front company to cover up the Chinese government’s role in information theft, according to the indictment, which was returned in May and unsealed on Friday.
The campaign targeted trade secrets in industries such as aerospace, defense, education, government, healthcare, biopharmaceutical and maritime industries, according to a Justice Department statement.
Victims were in Austria, Cambodia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“These criminal charges re-emphasize that China, in blatant disregard of its bilateral and multilateral commitments, continues to use cyber-assisted attacks to steal what other countries are doing,” US Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in the statement.
The double indictment states that Ding Xiaoyang, Cheng Qingmin and Zhu Yunmin are HSSD officers responsible for coordinating computer hackers and linguists at the bogus companies.
The fourth defendant, Wu Shurong, an employee of the front company Hainan Xiandun Technology Development Co. Ltd., “created malware, hacked into computer systems operated by foreign governments, corporations and universities, and monitored other Hainan Xiandun hackers,” it said Ministry of Justice .
Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Mark Heinrich
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