Chinese Cybersecurity Workers Hacked Firms, US Charges

Chinese Cybersecurity Workers Hacked Firms, US Charges

Chinese Cybersecurity Workers Hacked Firms, US Charges

Through their phishing campaigns and malware attacks, the said hackers were not only able to breach networks at several USA based private companies like Moody's Analytics, Siemens AG and Trimble Inc., but were also able to get their hands on confidential trade secrets and sensitive employee information.

All three men have been charged as individuals rather than state-sponsored hackers, Reuters reports.

According to statements made in the indictments, the three have been accused of using email phishing scams and malware to steal business secrets. The indictment said they were owners, employees and associates of Guangzhou Bo Yu Information Technology Company Ltd, a firm in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou that offers cybersecurity services.

Pentagon intelligence officials disclosed a year ago that Boyusec was linked to the MSS and a global Chinese telecommunications company known as Huawei Technologies that US officials say has ties to the Chinese military.

U.S. prosecutors in Pittsburgh in May 2014 indicted five officers from the secretive unit 61398 with hacking into United States nuclear, metal and solar firms to steal trade secrets.

Prosecutors allege that the men used these techniques to gain access to the network of German technology giant Siemens in May and June 2014. The group's victims appear to have aligned with industries highlighted in the most recent Five Year Plan - the Chinese government's directive for how the country should focus its efforts - "including green/alternative energy, defense-related science and technology, biomedical and aerospace", Recorded Future says.

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The hackers monitored e-mail correspondence of an unidentified Moody's economist; stole data from transportation, technology and energy units at Siemens; and targeted Trimble as it developed a new and more precise global navigation satellite system, the indictment said.

For one victim, information that the defendants targeted and stole trade secrets between December 2015 and March 2016, the US Department of Justice said.

Trimble spent millions of dollars over three years developing a GNSS product that uses a low-priced antenna to improve location data for tablets and mobile phones, the indictment says.

Officials with Moody's Analytics, which specializes in evaluating risk, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about the indictment. The operation in question allegedly started in 2011, when the hackers gained access to the unidentified economist's account and began forwarding all of their emails to an account controlled by themselves.

Against Moody's, Xia hacked into the email of a Moody's specialist and placed a rule on his email that forwarded all messages to a separate email account.

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