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Monday, May 19, 2014
U.S. Charges Chinese Military Hackers for Cyber Espionage Against U.S. Corporations

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged five supposed members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army with hacking into computers and stealing trade secrets from six U.S. organizations in the nuclear power, steel and solar industries, the agency announced Monday.

A grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania (WDPA) indicted five Chinese military hackers, alleging that they conspired to hack into American entities, to maintain unauthorized access to their computers and to steal information from those entities that would be useful to their competitors in China, including state-owned enterprises (SOEs). In some cases, it alleges, the conspirators stole trade secrets that would have been particularly beneficial to Chinese companies at the time they were stolen. In other cases, it alleges, the conspirators also stole sensitive, internal communications that would provide a competitor, or an adversary in litigation, with insight into the strategy and vulnerabilities of the American entity.

These persons were officers in Unit 61398 of the Third Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The indictment alleges that Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, among others known and unknown to the grand jury, hacked or attempted to hack into U.S. entities (2006-2014), while Huang and Gu supported their conspiracy by, among other things, managing infrastructure (e.g., domain accounts) used for hacking. These persons were officers in Unit 61398 of the Third Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The victim companies were Westinghouse Electric Co. (Westinghouse), U.S. subsidiaries of SolarWorld AG (SolarWorld), United States Steel Corp. (U.S. Steel), Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI), the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW) and Alcoa Inc.

American officials have long been concerned about hacking from abroad, especially China.

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