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Justice Department indicts 7 accused in 14-year hack campaign by Chinese gov

Justice Department indicts 7 accused in 14-year hack campaign by Chinese gov

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The US Justice Department on Monday unsealed an indictment charging seven men with hacking or attempting to hack dozens of US companies in a 14-year campaign furthering an economic espionage and foreign intelligence gathering by the Chinese government.

All seven defendants, federal prosecutors alleged, were associated with Wuhan Xiaoruizhi Science & Technology Co., Ltd. a front company created by the Hubei State Security Department, an outpost of the Ministry of State Security located in Wuhan province. The MSS, in turn, has funded an advanced persistent threat group tracked under names including APT31, Zirconium Violet Typhoon, Judgment Panda, and Altaire.

Relentless 14-year campaign

“Since at least 2010, the defendants … engaged in computer network intrusion activity on behalf of the HSSD targeting numerous US government officials, various US economic and defense industries and a variety of private industry officials, foreign democracy activists, academics and parliamentarians in response to geopolitical events affecting the PRC,” federal prosecutors alleged. “These computer network intrusion activities resulted in the confirmed and potential compromise of work and personal email accounts, cloud storage accounts and telephone call records belonging to millions of Americans, including at least some information that could be released in support of malign influence targeting democratic processes and institutions, and economic plans, intellectual property, and trade secrets belonging to American businesses, and contributed to the estimated billions of dollars lost every year as a result of the PRC’s state-sponsored apparatus to transfer US technology to the PRC.”

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