US charges two Chinese spies for hacking
Two wanted Chinese nationals linked to Beijing have been charged by U.S. prosecutors for their alleged involvement in a global hacking operation.
The operation is alleged to have targeted hundreds of companies and governments for over ten years and stolen sensitive information.
The 11-count indictment which was revealed on Tuesday, July 22, alleges that Li Xiaoyu, 34, and Dong Jiazhi, 33, who are said to be working for China’s state intelligence bureau, have stolen terabytes of data from high-technology companies, around the world including the United States.
The hackers were accused of targeting the networks of over a dozen U.S. companies in Maryland, Massachusetts, and California developing vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, recently.
Recall that some weeks ago, the FBI and Homeland Security warned that China was actively trying to steal U.S. research data related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The justice department said that the hackers were first discovered after they targeted a U.S. Department of Energy network in Hanford, Washington.
The hackers were accused of targeting companies in Australia, South Korea, and several European nations. They were alleged to make use of known but unpatched vulnerabilities in widely used web server software to break into their victims’ networks.
By gaining a foothold onto the network, the hackers installed password-stealing software to gain deeper access to their systems.
The indictment revealed that the Chinese hackers stole “hundreds of millions of dollars” worth of trade secrets and intellectual property.
Other things they stole include data related to military satellite programs, military wireless networks and high-powered microwave and laser systems from defense contractors.
We gathered that they allegedly targeted their victims on behalf of China’s intelligence services, but also hacked for personal financial gain.