The United States has indicted two Chinese hackers, who have accumulated a long charge sheet over their crime spree, and have been linked with China’s state intelligence bureau. Apparently, the attackers have been launching security attacks at various companies and even governments from a long time, and have finally been allegedly found stealing data of critical US COVID 19 research.
The duo was first discovered when it was launching an attack at the U.S. Department of Energy network in Hanford, Washington, according to the Justice Department. Ever since, U.S. based agencies have been on their tales, and witnessed similar attacks at companies in Australia, South Korea, and several European nations. After a long investigation, the FBI has finally released the identity of these hackers, named Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi.
It was found that these hackers used widely known, but unpatched vulnerabilities in ubiquitous web server software to gain access to their victims’ systems. After getting in, the duo would install password stealing software on these networks, giving them deeper access to the systems, which allowed them to return to them whenever they want.
However, U.S. has finally caught a whiff of who is behind these attacks, which, reportedly, stole terabytes of data from high-technology companies. Li and Dong have been charged with 11 charges, including Conspiracy to Access without Authorization and Damage Computers, Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Trade Secrets, Unauthorized Access to Computers, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, and Aggravated Identity Theft.
The indictment says that the Defendants stole “hundreds of millions’ of worth of trade secrets, intellectual property, and other valuable business information.” Moreover, the document adds that the group did not hack just for itself, and in some instances, was “sharing business and other information of obvious interest to the PRC Government’s Ministry of State Security”.
It was found that the duo was targeting networks that belonged to companies belonging from Maryland, Massachusetts and California, and were attempting to work on and find treatment of COVID 19.
The move has brought shame to the CCP led country, and has fueled the acrimony between the two superpowers. Infact, US assistant attorney general for national security John C. Demers said, “China has now taken its place, alongside Russia, Iran and North Korea, in that shameful club of nations that provide a safe haven for cyber criminals in exchange for those criminals being ‘on call’ to work for the benefit of the state, here to feed the Chinese Communist party’s insatiable hunger for American and other non-Chinese companies’ hard-earned intellectual property, including COVID-19 research.”