The US Justice Department has stated that it has charged five Chinese residents and two Malaysian businessmen in an extensive hacking effort which encompassed targets from video games into pro-democracy activists.
Federal prosecutors said the Chinese nationals were charged with hacking more than 100 businesses in the US and overseas, including applications development companies, computer manufacturers, telecommunications providers, social networking companies, gaming firms, nonprofits, universities, and think-tanks in addition to foreign politicians and governments and civil society figures in Hong Kong.
American officials stopped short of alleging the hackers were working on behalf of Beijing, but at a declaration Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen expressed exasperation with Chinese authorities, saying they were – at the very least – turning a blind eye to cyber-espionage.
“”We know the Chinese authorities to be at least as able as the law enforcement authorities here and in likeminded states to enforce laws against computer intrusions,” Rosen said.
“But they choose not to.”
He alleged that among those Chinese defendants had awakened into a colleague that he was”very close” to China’s Ministry of State Security and could be protected”unless something very big happens.”
“No responsible government knowingly shelters cyber criminals that target victims worldwide in acts of rank theft,” Rosen said.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately return an email seeking comment. Beijing has repeatedly denied responsibility for hacking at the face of a mounting pile of indictments from US authorities.
Together with the alleged hackers, US prosecutors also indicted two Malaysian businessmen, Wong Ong Hua, 46, and Ling Yang Ching, 32, who were charged with conspiring with two of the electronic spies to profit from computer intrusions targeting video game companies in the US, France, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
The Justice Department said the pair operated by means of a Malaysian company called SEA Gamer Mall. Messages left with the firm weren’t immediately returned. Messages sent to email addresses allegedly maintained by the hackers also got no immediate reaction.
US Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers stated on Wednesday that the Malaysian defendants were in custody but were likely to fight extradition.
The Justice Department said it’s obtained search warrants this month leading to the seizure of hundreds of accounts, servers, domain names and “dead drop” Web pages used by the alleged hackers to assist siphon data from their victims.
The Department said Microsoft had developed steps to block both the hackers and that the company’s activities “were a significant part” of the entire US attempt to neutralise them. The business acknowledged this in a statement that applauded government officials for “taking action to protect our customers.”
The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by David Shepardson, Susan Heavey, Raphael Satter and Mark Hosenball in Washington DC. Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Matthew Lewis and Richard Chang.
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