Espionage

Anxious about the biggest threat to its economic security, the United States has charged two Chinese men of carrying out a wide-ranging cyber espionage campaign on behalf of Beijing’s main intelligence agency. The US allege that the two men had hacked computer systems of several companies and government agencies in various countries.

On Thursday, the US officials alleged that Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong carried out the state-backed campaign to steal trade secrets and other information from government agencies and major corporations of a dozens of nations, including the US.

The indictment is the latest chapter of the cyber espionage criminal case undertaken by the US Justice Department. It informed that apart from NASA and the US Navy, the cyber-attack programme also hit telecom companies, a major bank and healthcare providers of 12 countries.

The Justice Department said the two hackers worked for the APT10 Group, which Washington, London and other allies say is backed by the Chinese Ministry of State Security. It said the Group has “conducted extensive campaigns of intrusions into computer systems around the world” during 2006 to 2018.

It also added that the APT10 has invaded their systems through the hacked MSPs, and thus stolen “hundreds of gigabytes” of delicate data and information from its targets.

The new indictments came after less than 2 months since the US charged 10 Chinese, including two intelligence officers, for both hacking and recruiting insiders to pilfer data and IT system passwords. It was alleged that the 10 Chinese were also linked to the APT10 Group.

The US charges of cyber espionage on the two Chinese men was backed by Britain (the US ally) which too blamed the Chinese Ministry of State Security for trade-secret espionage affecting the Western nations.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that Beijing has continued the cyber attacks for commercial and economic motives. He said that these activities must end, adding that “they go against the commitments made to the UK in 2015, and, as part of the G20, not to conduct or support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property or trade secrets.”

While both the United States and Britain have been accusing China over cyber espionage, it has claimed that Washington is “fabricating facts,” saying that they are just “creating something from nothing” and are “unwarrantedly denouncing China on cybersecurity issues.”

While one of the most powerful countries of the world, the United States has blamed China of cyber espionage in several countries, the issue has raised concerns for the rest of world. Moreover, as the claims have been backed by the UK, the threat for several other nations have escalated.

While China seems to have cracked the information of the strongest economy across the globe, the potential menace lingering over other nations cannot be overlooked.