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DOJ charges two Chinese nationals with 'extensive' hacking campaign

DOJ charges two Chinese nationals with 'extensive' hacking campaign

US officials say two Chinese citizens acting on behalf of their country's main intelligence agency carried out an extensive hacking campaign to steal data from military service members, government agencies and private companies in the United States and almost a dozen other countries, including Canada.

All told, prosecutors say, the alleged hackers stole "hundreds of gigabytes" of data, breaching computers of more than 45 entities in 12 states.

"China's state-sponsored actors are the most active perpetrators of economic espionage", FBI Director Chris Wray said Thursday in announcing the case. More than 245 organizations were attacked, including NASA labs and US Navy networks.

The Justice Department said that one of the managed service providers hacked was a NY company that gave the Chinese nationals access to data from the company's clients involved in banking, telecommunications, medical equipment, manufacturing, health care, biotechnology, oil and gas exploration, and others.

"China's goal, simply put, is to replace the USA as the world's leading superpower and they're using illegal methods to get there", FBI Director Chris Wray said at a news conference.

In America, US prosecutors unsealed an indictment today that charges two Chinese nationals with computer hacking attacks.

The RCMP and Global Affairs Canada had no immediate comment on the US charges.

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USA authorities said the two worked in association with the Chinese ministry of state security.

It targeted a range of global companies and sought to steal intellectual property and commercial secrets from Europe, Asia and the US. The charges include conspiracy to commit intrusions against a dozen companies in the United States and around the world.

To carry out its theft, the Justice Department said APT10 managed to slip into systems belonging to managed service providers (MSPs) "for businesses and governments around the world".

This campaign shows that elements of the Chinese government are not upholding the commitments China made directly to the United Kingdom in a 2015 bilateral agreement. The US and China have only recently resumed negotiations on trade issues in an effort to de-escalate a trade war that is hurting not just the growth of both countries, but also the rest of the world. "These activities must stop".

"We want China to cease illegal cyber activities and honour its commitment to the global community, but the evidence suggests that China may not intend to live up to its promises".

Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that the Department of Justice would announce charges against hackers who have been allegedly working for Chinese intelligence services and engaged in an economic espionage campaign.