US indicts two Chinese hackers for stealing industry data, including from Nasa

World | 21 Dec 2018 12:30 pm

U.S. officials on Thursday said two alleged Chinese hackers carried out an extensive campaign on behalf of Beijing’s main intelligence agency to steal trade secrets and other information from government agencies and "a who’s who” of major corporations in the United States and nearly a dozen other nations.

The indictment is the latest in a series of Justice Department criminal cases targeting Chinese cyberespionage and coincided with an announcement by Britain blaming China’s Ministry of State Security for trade-secret pilfering affecting Western nations.

The alleged hackers, one of whom is nicknamed "Godkiller,” are accused of breaching computer networks beginning as early as 2006 in a range of industries, including aviation and space, finance, biotechnology oil and gas, satellites and pharmaceuticals. Prosecutors say they also obtained the names, Social Security numbers and other personal information of more than 100,000 Navy personnel.

In a new twist reflecting corporate computing’s evolution, the hackers often infiltrated cloud computing companies and other major technology providers to indirectly reach clients’ valuable documents.

Prosecutors said the alleged hackers stole "hundreds of gigabytes” of data, breaching computers of more than 45 entities in 12 states including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Goddard Space Center. The hackers, identified as members of the group APT10, or "Stone Panda,” are not in custody. Prosecutors said their names are Zhu Hua and Zhang Shillong.

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