The judiciary has charged four members of the Chinese military for a massive Equifax hack

The judiciary has charged four members of the Chinese military for a massive Equifax hack

Washington – The Justice Department unveils charges against four members of the Chinese military Credit agency hacking into Equifax And in 2017, millions of Americans are stealing personal information.

“It was one of the biggest data breaches in history,” said Attorney General William Barr at a press conference Monday. “The level of theft was surprising. It is alleged that the hackers had the name, birth date and Social Security number of about 145 million Americans and at least 10 million American driver’s licenses.”

The four accused are Wu Xiang, Wang Qian, Xu Ke and Liu Lei, all of whom are members of the 54th Research Institute, a component of the People’s Liberation Army of China. A federal grand jury in Atlanta returned this The nine-count is charged Accused of computer fraud, economic espionage and wire fraud. These men were not taken into custody and the FBI considers them to be desirable.

“This is the biggest theft of the sensitive [personally identifiable information] The state-sponsored hackers made any record, “said David Bowdich, deputy director of the FBI.” This accusation is also a reminder that China is one of the most significant threats to our national security today by attacking our economy, our cyber infrastructure and our citizens. “

Bowditch said there was no evidence that millions of Americans were using stolen personal information, but acknowledged that it could be in the future. Equifax Settlement of class action litigation In 2019 it violated more than $ 700 million.

Attorney General William repeatedly announced cyber-related law enforcement actions
A poster showing four members of the Chinese army was accused of hacking into Equifax just after a press conference in Washington, Attorney General William Barr’s Justice Department on February 10, 2020.

Sarah Silbigger / Getty Images


Prosecutors allege the hackers could steal the login credentials used to gain access to the company’s network database by exploiting vulnerabilities on a portal on Equifax’s website. Once inside the network, hackers searched databases to detect personal information, and saved the results to files that could be broken into smaller files to download more efficiently.

The complaint states that hackers used 34 servers in 20 countries to access the Equifax network and used existing encrypted communication channels to “blend in with normal network activity.”

The hackers first gained access to the first portal in May 20 and allegedly stole data from Equifax’s database until the end of July. Prosecutors said the theft amounted to economic espionage and theft of business secrets.

“Hackers also stole Equifax’s business privacy, compiled data used to store personal information and have been duped by sophisticated database designs.” “These trade secrets were the result of decades of investment and hard work by companies.”

The Attorney General said the issue of Equifax in recent years is consistent with China’s “apathetic appetite” for personal information about Americans. He also said that “theft of intellectual property from American businessmen by accessing state-sponsored computers” is part of a wider campaign.

“China accounts for about 5% of our economic espionage, and in recent years almost 60% of all commercial privacy theft cases were related to China,” Barr said.

The Trump administration has raised concerns about the Chinese security system, especially Huawei’s information security system. The administration effectively terminated Huawei’s access to the US market in 2019, stating that the company had taken a security risk as it could be forced to cooperate with the Chinese government’s surveillance order. Last month, the U.K. Neglected These warnings and Huawei announced that it would provide equipment for 5G networks in the country, raising concerns over intelligence-sharing between the United States and Britain.

At a conference in Washington last week, Barr pointed to impending accusations targeting state-sponsored cyberattacks from China and warned against the dangers posed by economic espionage. Christopher Warr, director of the FBI, said the bureau’s “nearly three of our offices are involved in the theft of United States-based technology and nearly six investigations across almost every industry and sector.”

On Monday, Barr acknowledged that the United States “generally does not make criminal charges against members of the military or intelligence services of countries other than the United States”, but said that “indiscriminate theft” of information about private citizens would not be tolerated.

On April 23, then-Attorney General Eric Holder filed charges against five Chinese military hackers for stealing trade secrets of six American companies in the nuclear power, metals and solar industries. The allegations were first brought against the state-sponsored actors for hacking offenses.

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