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US charges two Chinese with alleged state-sponsored hacking
23 December 2018, 07:48 | Tara Lloyd
US charges Chinese hackers with 'massive theft' from NASA, Navy and tech sector
China's Foreign Ministry said today that it resolutely opposed "slanderous accusations" from Washington after two Chinese nationals said to be linked to Beijing intelligence were charged with stealing confidential data from American government agencies.
The US authorities say the indicted hackers, identified as Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilon, worked for Huaying Haitai Science and Technology Development Company and were contracted by China as cyber mercenaries.
The indictment follows a growing pattern of charging Chinese individuals for hacking operations, ranging from allegations out of NY that an individual stole information about turbine technology to charges against 10 sources alleged to have "conspired to hack USA and European defense and aerospace contractors" in OH in October. The group also allegedly targeted more than 40 computers to steal confidential data belonging to the U.S. Navy, which included the personal information of more than 100,000 personnel.
"To accuse China of hacking is a tactic to put pressure on Beijing during the 90-day grace period", he said, referring to the trade war truce agreed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his USA counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina at the start of the month.
The Justice Department said the hackers had targeted numerous managed service providers (MSPs), specialist firms which help other companies manage their information technology systems - potentially giving hackers an entry into the computer networks of dozens of companies.
"China's goal, simply put, is to replace the U.S.as the world's leading superpower, and they're using illegal methods to get there", said Wray.
The US on Thursday called on China to act responsibly in cyberspace after a "broad cyberattack campaign" against intellectual property and "sensitive" commercial data breach that have been detected in the US, Europe and Asia, Efe newsreported.
"We want China to cease its illegal cyber activities and honor its commitment to the global community", he said.
Regardless of any actual crimes they may have committed, the charges brought against China's hackers Thursday will undoubtedly play a role in the negotiations.
A poster shows two Chinese citizens suspected to be part of the APT 10 Group and carrying out an extensive hacking campaign to steal data from US companies.
Such cases, however, have since become a more standard part of the US response to its cyber concerns.
The US Justice Department accused China of breaking a 2015 pact to curb cyber espionage for corporate purposes.
"The sustained cyber intrusions by APT10 were significant and focussed on large scale Managed Service Providers (MSPs) - specialist companies that manage IT services and infrastructure for many medium to large businesses and organisations, both in Australia and globally", said the statement released by Payne and Dutton.
More than 90 per cent of Justice Department economic espionage cases in the past seven years involve China, Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein, and more than two-thirds of trade secrets cases were connected to the country.
China responded on Friday by accusing the USA of "fabricating facts".
-China relations. While there has been a lull in the trade war between the two countries, the USA recently worked with Canada to arrest the CFO of Huawei.
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The arrest has alarmed global markets amid worries it could torpedo possible thawing of trade tensions between the USA and China . Huawei is now China's largest technology company by employees, with more than 180,000 staff and revenue of $93 billion in 2017.
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