China calls US arrogant and selfish after hacking indictment

Apt 10 China

The pair worked for Huaying Haitai Science and Technology Development Company in Tianjin and "acted in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security's Tianjin State Security Bureau".

Among the cyberespionage manoeuvrers detailed in the indictment is the alleged use of a phishing technique, which sent emails that appeared to be coming from legitimate email addresses but were in fact from members of "Advanced Persistent Threat 10", the China-based hacking group to which Mr Zhu and Mr Zhang purportedly belong.

"Australia calls on all countries - including China - to uphold commitments to refrain from cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, trade secrets and confidential business information with the intent of obtaining a competitive advantage", they said.

US authorities said hacking targets included NASA's Goddard Space Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory and companies involved in aviation, space and satellite technology.

The group is said to have taken "gigabytes of sensitive data" from firms involved in the fields of aviation, space and satellite, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas exploration, communications, computer processor and maritime, it said.

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.

A statement from Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying described the "unwarranted accusations" as a serious violation of the basic norms of worldwide relations that was harmful to China-US cooperation.

Ugly as the effort may get, it's time for the West to start looking for ways to roll back China's access to that global trading system.

In a joint statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen expressed their government's concern about an activity they believed violated the 2015 cyber commitments between Beijing and Washington.

The two men, Zhu Hua and Zhang Shi Long, operated under several handles, with Zhu known as Afwar, CVNX, Alayos and Godkiller, and Zhang known as Baobeilong and Atreexp.

Of course, the two indicted Chinese nationals live in China, so there isn't much chance that they will be tried in the U.S.

The British government accused China of conducting a "widespread and significant" campaign of cyber-espionage against the United Kingdom and its allies. Those efforts have continued even after Beijing committed in 2015 to halting the theft of trade secrets following a first-of-its-kind indictment that accused Chinese hackers of stealing corporate data from brand-name USA companies.

The deputy attorney general said the group attacked so-called managed service providers, which are trusted to store, process and protect commercial data including intellectual property and other confidential information.

The DoJ's charges are part of its "naming and shaming" effort focused on the blurred distinctions between some the military and intelligence hackers of some countries and the private contractors they hire, who may have ulterior commercial ambitions.

Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden were also expected to issue statements criticising China's alleged hacking activities, Reuters reported, citing a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing are high over tit-for-tat trade tariffs and after Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies, was arrested in Canada at the request of the United States.

China has been accused of a global hacking campaign, targeting Australian and other western companies to steal their secrets.

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