The US filed charges against 5 “officers in Unit 61398 of the Third Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)” and declared that “Cyber theft is real theft and we will hold state sponsored cyber thieves accountable as we would any other transnational criminal organization that steals our goods and breaks our laws.”

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The Department of Justice stated:

The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to hack into American entities, to maintain unauthorized access to their computers and to steal information from those entities that would be useful to their competitors in China, including state-owned enterprises (SOEs). 

These crimes were allegedly committed between 2006 to 2014 against:

Westinghouse Electric Co.

U.S. subsidiaries of SolarWorld AG

United States Steel Corp. Allegheny Technologies Inc.

United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW), and

Alcoa

The crimes charged in the indictment were:

  • Conspiring to commit computer fraud and abuse
  • Accessing (or attempting to access) a protected computer without authorization to obtain information for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain.
  • Transmitting a program, information, code, or command with the intent to cause damage to protected computers.
  • Aggravated identity theft.
  • Economic espionage.
  • Trade secret theft.

The “Wanted Poster” is a dramatic reality and watching this case will reveal a great deal about cyber events, intrusions, and crime.