Dec. 20 (UPI) — The FBI has indicted two Chinese nationals for hacking U.S. defense agencies and corporations in an attempt to steal sensitive information, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.
The indictment said Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong belong to APT10, a state-sponsored hacking group also known as Stone Panda and Menu Pass.
The groups have been trying to penetrate U.S. companies and steal hundreds of gigabytes of sensitive data going back to 2006, the charges said. The targets included space satellites to pharmaceuticals.
“Members of the APT10 Group, including [the defendants] conducted extensive campaigns of global intrusions into computer systems,” the indictment states.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said China is doing everything it can to become the most influential country in the world, including breaking the law.
“While we welcome a fair competition, we cannot tolerate illegal hacking, stealing, cheating,” Wray said.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said this isn’t the first time the Justice Department has cracked down on Chinese hackers.
“It’s just as if they had broken into American companies and taken the data out physically,” Rosenstein said. “It is unacceptable that we continue to uncover cybercrime committed by China against America and other nations.”
He went on to warn China that the U.S. and its allies “know what China is doing, why they’re doing it” and sometimes even “who is at the keyboard.”
APT10 has also been accused of stealing confidential data on 100,000 Navy personnel.
The indictment came after the United States arrested the CFO of Huawei, a Chinese telecom company accused of espionage. China has warned of “grave consequences” if the executive, Meng Wanzhou, is not released.