Published: Tue, November 28, 2017
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

United States attorney in Pittsburgh indicts 3 Chinese hackers suspected in cyber attacks

In 2014 the three Chinese hackers broke into German industrial giant Siemens' computer networks, stealing large amounts of files and data from its energy, technology and transportation businesses, according to the USA indictment.

Wu Yingzhuo, Dong Hao, and Xia Lei were charged with computer hacking, theft of trade secrets, conspiracy and identity theft. The hackers used that access to steal usernames and passwords belonging to Siemens employees and proprietary commercial data stored by the company.

U.S. authorities have acted on one of the worst-kept secrets in cyber-security and have filed official charges against three Chinese hackers part of one of China's elite cyber-espionage unit. The three Chinese nationals, owners, employees, and associates at the China-based cybersecurity firm Guangzhou Bo Yu Information Technology Company Limited, allegedly carried out attacks against businesses in the financial, engineering, and technology sectors from 2011 to 2017.

It added that in 2015-2016 they stole newly developed hardware and software information from a new global satellite navigation system being developed by Trimble.

Prosecutors say Wu and Dong founded Boyusec and are equity shareholders. Researchers at security firm Symantec concluded past year that the actions APT3 were consistent of those of a state-sponsored actor.

The APT3 hacking group is also known as BuckEye, UPS Team, Gothic Panda and TG-011. The emails of an economist working for Moody's were hacked and forwarded to the three. In 2013 and 2014, defendant Xia regularly accessed those web-based email accounts to access the employee's stolen emails, which contained proprietary and confidential economic analyses, findings and opinions.

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At the time of the indictment, none of the three hackers charged were in custody.

This is not the first time that the U.S. has charged individuals that were part of Chinese cyber-espionage operations.

The Chinese company has not commented on the charges. (ATI), USW, US Steel, and Alcoa. She said there was no suggestion that the hacking was state-sponsored.

"On the secret battlefield without gunpowder, China needs special agents to gather secrets from the US", the nationalist Chinese tabloid The Global Times wrote in an article a year ago praising a Chinese man charged with criminal espionage for his service to the country.

Following the hacks, US Steel tried to get the US government to ban the sale of cheap Chinese-made steel on the US market, albeit the company later dropped the request earlier this year.

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