US Indicts Two Chinese Nationals for Massive Hacking Campaign

WASHINGTON—Two Chinese hackers associated with the Ministry of State Security in China were charged by the United States with an extensive global computer-intrusion campaign carried out over more than a decade.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the charges at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Dec. 20, together with FBI Director Christopher Wray and other officials.

According to the indictment, two Chinese citizens, acting on behalf of the Chinese regime’s main intelligence agency, carried out an extensive hacking campaign to steal hundreds of gigabytes of data from military service members, government agencies, and private companies in the United States and at least a dozen other countries.

The indictment makes clear that the United States is in a cyber war with China, which is one of the greatest security challenges facing the U.S. government and its citizens, and the United States must have a strategic response, experts said.

The two are accused of breaching computer networks in a broad swath of industries, including “aviation, satellite and maritime technology, industrial factory automation, automotive supplies, laboratory instruments, banking and finance, telecommunications and consumer electronics, computer processor technology, information technology services, packaging, consulting, medical equipment, healthcare, biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing, mining, and oil and gas exploration and production,” the DOJ said in an release.

Prosecutors say they also stole personal information of more than 100,000 U.S. Navy personnel, including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, salary information, personal phone numbers, and email addresses.

The two hackers, Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, as members of the APT10 Group (Advanced Persistent Threat 10), engaged in an intrusion campaign beginning in or about 2006 up to and including in or about 2018, the indictment reveals. One of the methods they allegedly used was to obtain unauthorized access to the computers and computer networks of managed service providers (MSPs) for businesses and governments around the world.

After they gained access to MSPs, they could “gain unauthorized access to the computers and computer networks of the MSPs’ clients and to steal, among other data, intellectual property and confidential business data on a global scale,” the release says.

“One way to think of what is alleged in this indictment, is that you’ve all heard about situations where you see someone essentially, the cyber-equivalent, of breaking into a house,” said Wray.

“This is more like breaking into and getting the keys from the maintenance supervisor who has the keys to hundreds and hundreds of apartments and all the residents in those apartments. That’s why this is so significant.”

Over the course of the MSP Theft Campaign, the APT10 Group successfully obtained unauthorized access to computers located in at least 12 countries, including Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Read the full article at The Epoch Times.