Published: Sun, December 23, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

China says U.S. hacking charges fabricated

China says U.S. hacking charges fabricated

US authorities said the two defendants, who worked in China in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security, were charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The Justice Department said the two hackers, Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, worked for the so-called APT10 group which Washington, London and other allies say is backed by China's Ministry of State Security.

APT10 also hacked into the computer systems of commercial and defence technology firms and USA agencies in a separate campaign that began in 2006, stealing hundreds of gigabytes of data from at least 45 companies and government bodies across a dozen U.S. states.

A USA indictment has accused Chinese hackers of obtaining unauthorised access to the computers of at least 45 entities, including commercial and defence technology companies and U.S. government agencies such as Nasa and the United States navy.

The alleged hackers, one of whom is nicknamed "Godkiller", are accused of breaching computer networks beginning as early as 2006 in a range of industries, including aviation and space, finance, biotechnology oil and gas, satellites and pharmaceuticals.

The group also compromised more than 40 computers belonging to the U.S. navy, and stole the personal information of more than 100,000 personnel.

The hackers, officials say, work under the direction of China's Ministry of State Security - one of the country's intelligence organisations.

"For years, China has stomped on worldwide law and has used its cyber capabilities to steal American technology, intellectual property, and private information", said senior Republican Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

In an indictment unsealed on Thursday, prosecutors said Zhu Hua and Zhang Shillong were acting on behalf of China's main intelligence agency. The centre said it is also working with Australian MSPs on a new partner program focused on security.

The move seriously violates the basic norms governing global relations, seriously damages China-US cooperation and is of a very bad nature, she said. Gen. Rod Rosenstein said at a news conference unveiling the unsealing of the indictment in the case. In response to the first such indictments back in 2014, for example, China's Foreign Ministry issued a fiery statement calling the charges "purely ungrounded and absurd".

"The Chinese government had never participated in, or supported anyone, stealing commercial secrets", she added.

In an operation coordinated with U.S. allies in Europe and Asia, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the inditement of the duo aimed to rebuff "China's economic aggression".

China yesterday called the USA arrogant and selfish after two Chinese citizens were charged with stealing U.S. trade secrets and other sensitive information on behalf of Beijing's main intelligence agency.

APT 10 hacks against MSPs allowed Chinese spies to indirectly gain access to confidential data of numerous companies that are clients of the MSPs.

When a managed service provider is hacked, it can unintentionally provide attackers access to secondary victims who are customers of that company and have their computer systems connected to them, according to experts.

Beijing on Friday accused Washington of "fabricating facts".

The spokeswoman also warned that China will not tolerate any more unjustified criticism of alleged cyber theft, either from the White House or from other supporting powers, such as the United Kingdom.

US-Chinese relations have been strained recently amid a bilateral trade row.

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