US charges Chinese military officials with hacking

A US grand jury has brought espionage charges against five Chinese military officials for allegedly targeting six US companies and stealing trade secrets, publicly accusing China of cyber-spying for the first time.

This wanted poster was displayed at the Justice Department in Washington, yesterday.

The hackers targeted US companies in the nuclear power, metals and solar products industries to steal information useful to competitors in China.

The companies targeted include Alcoa Inc, United States Steel Corp, Allegheny Technologies Inc, Westinghouse Electric Co, and US subsidiaries of SolarWorld AG, US officials said.

The hackers also targeted United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied-Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW), officials said.

The move “indicates that DoJ has ‘smoking keyboards’ and (is) willing to bring the evidence to a court of law and be more transparent,” said Frank Cilluffo, head of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at the George Washington University.

American officials have long been concerned about hacking from abroad, especially China. Secret US State Department cables obtained by WikiLeaks traced major systems breaches to China, Reuters reported in 2011. One 2009 cable pinpointed attacks to a specific unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

Such charges, however, are symbolic, but the move would prevent the individuals indicted from travelling to the United States or other countries that have an extradition agreement with the United States.

“It sends a strong message to the Chinese,” a senior fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International s, James Lewis, said.

Other experts remained sceptical the move would deter online invasions.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

Breaking Stories

More than 60 escape injury as train hits car at level crossing

Survivor tells of ’skin peeling’ as nine die after huge blaze at warehouse party in California

Former Nazi POW leaves €450k to ’kind’ Scottish village

The coffins of the Chapecoense footballers killed in the air crash have arrived home in Brazil

Lifestyle

Top eight foodie gifts for Christmas under €10

How to be a better person in the digital age

Dublin Strolls provides a guide to the rich interiors of the city's architecture

The people behind the gardens

More From The Irish Examiner