• Wednesday, Sep 23, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:06 am

US announces charges against Chinese, Malaysian hackers

  • Published at 12:42 pm September 17th, 2020
US Hacking China
US Deputy Attorney General Jeffery A Rosen speaks during a Justice Department's news conference to announce charges in China-related intrusion campaigns, in Washington DC on September 16, 2020 Reuters

The five Chinese remain at large but the two Malaysians were arrested in Malaysia on Monday and the USA is seeking their extradition

The US Justice Department on Wednesday announced charges against five Chinese nationals and two Malaysians who ran global hacking operations for at least six years to steal identities and video game technology, plant ransomware, and spy on Hong Kong activists.

Three of the Chinese suspects operated out of Chengdu 404, a Sichuan-based company that purported to offer network security services for other businesses.

They hacked the computers of hundreds of companies and organizers around the world to collect identities, hijack systems for ransom, and remotely use thousands of computers to mine for cryptocurrency like bitcoin. 

Two other Chinese nationals who formerly worked for Chengdu 404, and the two Malaysians, were indicted for hacking into major gaming companies to steal their secrets and "gaming artifacts," likely tradable in-game chits and credits, and resell them.

Together the seven were long recognized by cybersecurity experts as the "APT41" hacking organization, identified by their shared tools and techniques.

While some had thought that the group could be run by the Chinese government, the indictments did not identify a strong official connection.

But according to court filings, Jiang Lizhi, one of the Chengdu 404 hackers, boasted to a colleague in 2012 that he was protected by China's Ministry of State Security, and indicated they were protected if they did not hack domestically.

"Some of these criminal actors believed their association with the PRC provided them free license to hack and steal across the globe," federal prosecutor Michael Sherwin said in a statement.

The charges did not indicate any direct political motivations behind the hackers' activities, though they did gain access to government computer systems in India and Vietnam.

But they said that in 2018, Chengdu 404 deployed a program to collect information on people involved in Hong Kong's democracy movement, on a US media group reporting on the treatment of minority Uighurs in China's Xinjiang region, and on a Tibetan Buddhist monk.

The filings do not indicate how the information was used.

The seven face a range of charges including computer and wire fraud, identity theft, money laundering, and racketeering.

The five Chinese remain at large but the two Malaysians were arrested in Malaysia on Monday and the United States is seeking their extradition.

50
50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail