Cybersecurity

US charges 7 hackers affiliated with the Chinese government

Seven hackers connected to the Chinese government have been charged with conspiring to commit computer fraud and wire fraud as part of an extensive scheme that has victimized thousands, according to the US Attorney’s Office of the EDNY.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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Seven hackers affiliated with the Chinese government have been charged with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusions” and “conspiracy to commit wire fraud,” operating as part of APT31—also known as Violet Typhoon—a threat group that for years has targeted US “foreign critics, businesses, and political officials in furtherance of the PRC’s economic espionage and foreign intelligence objectives,” according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY).

“Their sinister scheme victimized thousands of people and entities across the world, and lasted for well over a decade,” Breon Peace, US attorney for the EDNY, said in a press release on March 25.

Access denied. In addition to charging the seven hackers, all of whom are in their 30s, with conspiring to commit computer fraud and wire fraud, the US Department of the Treasury is sanctioning two of the hackers and Wuhan Xiaoruizhi Science and Technology Company Ltd. (Wuhan XRZ), a company established in 2010 and based in Wuhan, Hubei, China—where the first Covid-19 case emerged. Wuhan XRZ is a “China-based Ministry of State Security (MSS) front company that has served as cover for multiple malicious cyber operations,” according to a press release.

The UK also announced the same day that it was sanctioning the two threat actors associated with APT31 as well as the Wuhan-based science and tech company, noting that the individuals targeted “officials, government entities, and parliamentarians in the UK and internationally.”

The US Department of State did not immediately respond to IT Brew’s request for comment. The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office told IT Brew the agency has nothing further to add to its statement.

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.