The Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Merrick Garland, has announced indictments against Chinese nationals it says were involved in hacking on the behalf of the Chinese government.
“A federal grand jury in San Diego, California, returned an indictment in May charging four nationals and residents of the People’s Republic of China with a campaign to hack into the computer systems of dozens of victim companies, universities and government entities in the United States and abroad between 2011 and 2018,” the department revealed in a press release.
“The indictment, which was unsealed on Friday, alleges that much of the conspiracy’s theft was focused on information that was of significant economic benefit to China’s companies and commercial sectors, including information that would allow the circumvention of lengthy and resource-intensive research and development processes. The defendants and their Hainan State Security Department (HSSD) conspirators sought to obfuscate the Chinese government’s role in such theft by establishing a front company, Hainan Xiandun Technology Development Co., Ltd. (海南仙盾) (Hainan Xiandun), since disbanded, to operate out of Haikou, Hainan Province.”
The indictment helps to unravel unfounded claims from congressional Republicans that President Biden or his administration would be “soft” on China.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said in a statement, “These criminal charges once again highlight that China continues to use cyber-enabled attacks to steal what other countries make, in flagrant disregard of its bilateral and multilateral commitments.”
“Today’s international condemnation shows that the world wants fair rules, where countries invest in innovation, not theft.”
The indictment and announcement from the Biden team sends a shot across the bow to China in the ongoing global cyber conflict.
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