The United States today filed charges against two alleged Chinese hackers, linked to the Ministry of State Security of China, whom it accused of having infiltrated computer systems in order to obtain confidential information on commercial matters.
US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a press conference that the two accused, identified as Zhu Hu and Zhang Shilong, are suspected of "conspiracy to commit computer intrusions against dozens of companies in the United States and the world." "
The "number 2" of the Department of Justice said that this case is "significant", since the alleged "hackers" attacked Managed Service Providers (MSPs), which are companies that other companies contract to store, process and protect commercial data, usually confidential.
Rosenstein explained that "when hackers gain access to MSO, they can steal sensitive business information that gives competitors an unfair advantage."
The deputy prosecutor added that the charge alleges that the defendants worked for a group of cybernetic experts known as APT-10, who use "malware" to access computer networks in order to extract data over a prolonged period of time.
The official stressed that a dozen countries have been affected by the action of the alleged "hackers" and that among the victims there are banking and financial firms, telecommunications, health teams, consultants, biotechnology companies, automobile manufacturers and companies dedicated to mining and oil and gas exploration, among others.
"The defendants allegedly committed these crimes in association with the Chinese intelligence service, known as the Ministry of State Security," said Rosenstein, who recalled that this is not the first time that the US Department of Justice takes similar legal action against "Chinese state actors and associates for stealing commercial information".
"More than 90% of the cases of the Department (of Justice) about alleged economic espionage in the last seven years involve China, more than two thirds of the cases of the Department involving theft and trade secrets are linked to China," he said.
The United Kingdom and other allied countries today accused "elements of the Chinese Government" of a "broad cyber-attack campaign" against intellectual property and "sensitive" trade data in Europe, Asia and the US.
The British Foreign Ministry reported that it has been identified as the author of the "malicious" digital attacks on the APT 10 group, which would act "for the Chinese Ministry of State Security," according to a statement.