Chinese nationals charged with trade secrets theft in US

Acting U.S. Attorney Soo Song and the Pittsburgh FBI's Special Agent in Charge Bob Johnson announce an indictment against three alleged hackers from the Chinese firm Boyusec on Tuesday Nov. 27 2017

It said the three sent "spearphishing" emails to computers in western Pennsylvania and around the world.

The Chinese nationals face charges of computer hacking, theft of trade secrets, conspiracy and identity theft.

The said hackers stole trade secrets and sensitive corporate information from GPS maker Trimble Inc.so that they could use such knowledge on developing a Global Navigation Satellite Systems technology created to improve the accuracy of location data on mobile devices. The hackers are also accused of stealing 407 gigabytes of data from Siemens' network in 2015, as well as information on Trimble products created to improve the location-tracking abilities of mobile devices "in a cost-effective way". It added that between 2011 and May of this year, the hackers 'conspired to hack into private corporate entities in order to maintain unauthorized access to, and steal sensitive internal documents and communications from such private companies. But a Justice Department spokesman told Cyberscoop News that it reached out to the Chinese government during the October 3 Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Dialogue in Washington, seeking assistance, but "received no meaningful response".

"The Justice Department is committed to pursuing the arrest and prosecution of these hackers, no matter how long it takes, and we have a long memory", said Dana Boente, acting assistant attorney general for national security, on Monday. "In 2013 and 2014, defendant Xia regularly accessed those web-based email accounts to access the employee's stolen emails, which contained proprietary and confidential economic analyses, findings and opinions", the indictment says. He lives in Guangzhou and was a founding member and equity shareholder of Boyusec.

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Security researchers say Boyusec is also known as APT 3 and Gothic Panda.

The investigation that led to the charges being filed was conducted by the FBI, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations.

James Lewis, a cyber security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Chinese hacking may be on the upswing after the 2015 agreement in which both countries agreed not use purely commercial espionage. Mr. Zandi declined to comment and referred questions Monday to a Moody's spokesman, who declined to comment on its economist. "Let's see what Beijing says, if anything".

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.

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