Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray announced the indictment of two accused Chinese hackers on Thursday. The state-connected hackers are accused of penetrating networks of U.S. agencies and companies.
Rosenstein said “this is not the first time” that the Justice Department has announced actions against state-sponsored Chinese hackers. Wray said China is doing all it can to be the most influential country in the world and it’s using “illegal” methods to get there.
“While we welcome a fair competition, we cannot tolerate illegal hacking, stealing, cheating,” Wray said.
Rod Rosenstein on indictment of Chinese hackers : “it is unacceptable that we continue to uncover cybercrime committed by China.” Says the Chinese have violated a commitment they made. “The evidence suggests China may not intend to abide by its promises.”
“China stands accused of engaging in criminal activity that victimizes individuals and companies in the United States… China will find it difficult to pretend that it’s not responsible.”
The Trump administration has taken a hard stance on China, on issues of trade, technology and espionage.
Relations with China remain tense, as the Trump administration looks to reach a firm agreement with Chinese officials on trade and tariffs.
The recent arrest of the CEO of Huawei in Canada has further complicated those relations. China has warned of “grave consequences” if that CEO isn’t released.
Trump national security adviser John Bolton spoke to the threat Russia poses in Africa and around the world last week.
“The predatory practices pursued by China and Russia stunt economic growth in Africa, threaten the financial independence of African nations, inhibit opportunities for U.S. investment, interfere with U.S. military operations and pose a significant threat to U.S. national security interests,” Bolton said.
Rosenstein: The charges are for attacks on “managed service providers” that provide IT services to other companies.
Rosenstein: “The activity alleged in this indictment violates the commitment that China made” in 2015.
“The evidence suggests that China may not intend to abide by its promises.”
“Today’s charges mark an important step in revealing to the world China’s continued practice of stealing commercial data.”
More than 90% of DOJ’s economic espionage cases over the past seven years involve China, as do more than two thirds of its trade-secrets-theft cases, according to Rosenstein.
“China stands accused of engaging in criminal activity that victimizes individuals and companies in the United States, violates our laws, and departments from international norms of responsible state behavior.”
Rosenstein says that in the face of overwhelming evidence, “China will find it difficult to pretend that it is not responsible for these actions.”
He warns hackers to be careful.
“In some cases, we know exactly who is sitting at the keyboard perpetrating these crimes in association with the Chinese government.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray: “The threats we face have never been more severe or more pervasive, or more potentially damaging to our national security. And no country poses a broader, more severe, long-term threat to our nation’s economy than China.”
DOJ press release
Wray: “The scope of this investigation was broad, as you might imagine,” with field offices in New Orleans, NY, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Houston, as well as DOJ computer forensics labs, NCIS, and international partners.
Wray: “We are deeply concerned about American innovation ending up in the wrong hands.”
Wray says that as part of this case, the FBI and NCIS investigated China’s theft of more than 100,000 U.S. service members’ personal information.
Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for SDNY, says the hackers also targeted government agencies, including NASA, DOE, and the Navy.
Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein announces charges against 2 alleged Chinese hackers who worked on behalf of Chinese intelligence