Countries Join US in Blaming China for APT10 Hacking Spree

UK and allies condemn China as US charges hackers over 'economic espionage'
Rod Rosenstein, Chris Wray announce indictment of Chinese hackers
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23 December, 2018

On Thursday, the US Justice Department announced criminal charges against Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, who it said acted on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security in coordinating espionage activity through a hacking group known as APT10 - Advanced Persistent Threat 10 - to steal trade secrets and technologies from at least 12 countries.

China called the US arrogant and selfish on Friday after two Chinese citizens were charged with stealing American trade secrets and other sensitive information on behalf of Beijing's main intelligence agency.

US officials say the primary objective was to steal trade secrets and intellectual property that the Chinese government later gave to Chinese firms - giving an unfair global advantage to local companies.

They are said to have hacked into 45 commercial and defence technology companies in at least 12 US states, hit a number of countries including the United Kingdom, and hacked into US Navy computer systems and stole personal information of more than 100,000 personnel.

The alleged hackers, one of whom is nicknamed "Godkiller", are accused of breaching computer networks beginning as early as 2006 in a range of industries, including aviation and space, finance, biotechnology oil and gas, satellites and pharmaceuticals. "These hacks have even breached names, dates of birth, email addresses, salary information and Social Security numbers of more than 100,000 United States Navy personnel this year".

American officials said evidence showed hackers had targeted Managed Service Providers (MSPs) - specialist firms that help companies manage their information technology systems - potentially giving them access to the computer networks of dozens of companies.

"The United States is fabricating facts, creating something from nothing, and unwarrantedly denouncing China on cybersecurity issues", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Friday.

Britain, Australia and New Zealand also slammed China over what they called a global campaign of cyber-enabled commercial intellectual property theft, according to Reuters. However this comes as increasing pressure is applied against China from the Five Eyes intelligence nations, which includes New Zealand.

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In a joint statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen expressed the government's "concern" about the activities they believe violated the 2015 cyber commitments between Beijing and Washington.

Thursday's federal indictment of two Chinese hackers damningly sets out the real trade problem: That country is run by thieves. "If our officials in China were indicted, they would not stop their work", he said at an event in Washington last month. More than 90 percent of Justice Department economic espionage cases over the past seven years involve China, he added, and more than two-thirds of trade secrets cases are connected to the country.

China and the U.S.

The first, known as the "Technology Theft Campaign", began in or about 2006 and involved the group gaining access to the computer networks of more than 45 technology companies and U.S. government agencies, in order to steal information about various technologies.

The UK joined the United States in levying the accusations.

In October, the US government charged Chinese intelligence officers with stealing information on a turbo fan engine used in commercial jetliners. In October, it charged Chinese intelligence officers with stealing information on a turbo fan engine used in commercial jetliners.

The charges come amid a trade war between United States and China and the arrest earlier this month of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.


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