In the press release, James B. Comey, the FBI Director, stated (in no uncertain terms) that this behavior must stop. If you have been following the articles here are TSW, you know that we agree. Our writers have been writing about Chinese hacking against American companies and individuals for some time. Like Comey, we believe that these acts of war against Americans, both individuals and companies, have to stop or that America has to take measures to stop it.
In this most recent case of Chinese hacking, the Chinese military targeted six Americans that are associated with the U.S. nuclear, metals and solar industries. Those indicted are Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu, and Gu Chunhu.
The goal of the Chinese military was to secretly hack into the computers of these individuals and maintain access over a period of time in an effort to steal any information pertaining to the targeted industries to relay back to American competitors in China, particularly state-owned enterprises. This information includes trade secrets, internal communications, and other sensitive materials
Other Cases of Chinese Hacking
During the indictment, FBI Director James B. Comey stated, “For too long, the Chinese government has blatantly sought to use cyber espionage to obtain economic advantage for its state-owned industries. The indictment announced today is an important step.”
Amazingly, even though such hacking has been known to happen, this indictment is the first time that the American justice system sought to stop it. However, if U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has anything to do with it, it will not be the last time. Due to the severity of the case and the amount of information acquired by the hackers, Holder feels a much more aggressive response must be taken now than what was taken in the past.
TSW has been following the various cases of Chinese hacking for several years now and it appears that the Chinese are escalating their efforts.
This past December, TSW reported that American companies that utilize cloud services in China could be easy targets for Chinese military hackers.
In that article, we pointed out the close relationship between the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), the agency which deploys many of its Chinese hackers, and the Chongqing Special Cloud Computing Zone, the Chinese economic entity associated with cloud services. In April, our very own Chinese correspondent, WC, reported on China’s ever-increasing use of the Internet as a weapon of war.
In his article, China Ramps Cyber Power Weaponry, WC points out:
“China has mined key US infrastructure, and stolen American military and commercial secrets and things are getting worse.”
In March, Gabrielle reported on the first ever convictions under the the Economic Espionage Act of 1996. In that case, it was two American businessmen selling secrets to you know who…That’s right, China.
America at Risk
It is fairly obvious that China is waging a cyber war against the United States and has been doing so for some time.
American individuals and American businesses are at risk of of being hacked by the Chinese military in an effort to put the communist country ahead of America in a number of industries.
It is high time that America retaliates against the Chinese for their hacking efforts.
I believe John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, expressed that commitment to retaliation when he said:
“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.”