United States charges Chinese nationals with computer hacking of Navy, NASA

United States charges Chinese nationals with computer hacking of Navy, NASA

China has accused the U.S. of fabricating facts after Washington indicted two Chinese nationals for hacking.

China's foreign ministry said on Friday that it resolutely opposes the "slanderous" accusations from the U.S. and urges Washington to withdraw its allegations. The same month, the Justice Department arrested an alleged spy for China's Ministry of State Security on charges of economic espionage and attempting to steal U.S. aviation trade secrets.

The US and the United Kingdom have charged two Chinese hackers for attacking targets in a dozen countries with the aim of stealing intellectual property and sensitive commercial data.

The United States says the two Chinese men hacked the computer systems of companies and government agencies in a dozen countries, in a state-backed campaign of cyber-espionage.

The focus of the hacking spree was an apparent attempt to steal American trade secrets for the benefit of Chinese firms, with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Goddard Space Center and seven companies involved in the aviation, space and satellite industry among the targets.

It has always been an "open secret" that USA government agencies have hacked into and listened in on foreign governments, companies and individuals, the ministry added.

"China's goal, simply put, is to replace the U.S.as a world superpower, and they are using illegal means to get there", FBI Director Chris Wray told reporters on Thursday.

The United States charged two Chinese nationals who are alleged to belong to a group of hackers operating China - known in global intelligence circles as Advanced Persistent Threat 10 or APT10.

Western governments, including USA allies Britain and Australia, have accused Beijing of cyber-attacks.

The hacking campaign "gave China's intelligence service access to sensitive business information" and constituted "outright cheating and theft" that gave China an unfair advantage over law-abiding businesses, said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The hollowing out of Chinese technology companies gathers pace. Prosecutors say they also obtained the names, social security numbers and other personal information of more than 100,000 Navy personnel.

"It helps them compete in a way that we can't".

"That's good for the economy and that's good for our society".

USA officials testified before Congress last week that Beijing's continued hacking has made a mockery of that 2015 commitment by President Xi Jinping following a first-of-its-kind indictment that accused Chinese hackers of stealing corporate data from brand-name US companies.

In a statement IBM said "it's aware of the reported attacks and already has taken extensive counter-measures worldwide as part of our continuous efforts to protect the company and our clients against constantly evolving threat".

A Navy spokesman said that sailors are notified immediately when there is a data breach, but declined further comment due to an ongoing investigation.

The two, identified as Zhu Hua and Zhang Jianguo, worked in China to hack into computers to steal intellectual property and confidential business and technological data, according to an indictment.

The UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), through its public-facing National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) offshoot, said APT10 had "targeted healthcare, defense, aerospace, government, heavy industry/mining, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and IT industries, among many other sectors".

The indictments came amid heightened tensions over trade, hacking and geopolitical issues between Washington and Beijing.

This is the latest in a series of hacking cases brought by the U.S. against Chinese nationals.

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