Chinese nationals acting on behalf China’s intelligence indicted: DOJ
December 20, 2018 | Brainwave Science
According to Reuters, U.S. prosecutors unsealed an indictment that charges two Chinese nationals with computer hacking attacks on a broad range of U.S. government agencies and corporations, including the Navy and the space agency NASA, according to a court filing. Two nationals of the People’s Republic of China (China) identified as Zhu Hua and Zhang Jianguo, worked in China to hack into computers to steal intellectual property and confidential business and technological data, according to an indictment. U.S. authorities said the two worked in association with the Chinese ministry of state security.
Zhu and Zhang were members of a hacking group operating in China known within the cyber security community as Advanced Persistent Threat 10 (the APT10 Group). The defendants worked for a company in China called Huaying Haitai Science and Technology Development Company and acted in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security’s Tianjin State Security Bureau. “The indictment alleges that the defendants were part of a group that hacked computers in at least a dozen countries and gave China’s intelligence service access to sensitive business information,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “This is outright cheating and theft, and it gives China an unfair advantage at the expense of law-abiding businesses and countries that follow the international rules in return for the privilege of participating in the global economic system.”
Hacking targets included the U.S. Navy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and companies involved aviation, space and satellite technology, the indictment said.
United States Justice Department has put Chinese hackers on notice, “We want China to stop its illegal cyber activities,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in announcing the charges.
The U.S. actions could add to already tense relations between Washington and Beijing. The two countries, which boast the No. 1 and No. 2 economies in the world, are in the midst of a bruising trade dispute that has seen both sides slap tariffs on the other. Situation is very complex in wake of rising tensions between Beijing and Ottawa following the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng in Vancouver on December 1 at behest of the US. “China is one of the most prolific actors in the economic espionage space, having invested in cyber espionage in a way that is unprecedented in other countries,” says Eric O’Neill, Carbon Black’s national security strategist and a former FBI operative best known for his role in the capture of Soviet spy Robert Hanssen. “The theft of sensitive defense technology and cyber intrusions are major national security concerns and top investigative priorities for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) of the U.S. Department of Defense,” said DCIS Director O’Reilly. “The indictments unsealed today are the direct result of a joint investigative effort between DCIS and its law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate individuals and groups who illegally access information technology systems of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Defense Industrial Base. DCIS remains vigilant in our efforts to safeguard the integrity of the Department of Defense and its enterprise of information technology systems.”
Even in the wake of overwhelming evidence, China continues to deny and complains that western media have repeatedly depicted China as the villain behind the scenes.
Cyber-espionage is a National Security threat. In recent years there has been widespread reporting and accusations related to China’s intense spying activity in cyberspace, following claims that the country uses cyber tactics to gain access to military and technological secrets held by both foreign states and corporations. Countries all over the western world including the UK have accused China of conducting a “widespread and significant” campaign of cyberespionage against the U.K. and its allies. Simultaneous news released from both the UK and US agencies confirmed China’s illegal operations. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says China’s actions “go against commitments made to the U.K. in 2015 and as part of the G20 not to support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property or trade secrets.” A case filed in October 2018 marked the first time that a Chinese Ministry of State Security officer was extradited to the United States to stand trial. There is a technology that can help hunt down cyber spies hacking into U.S. corporations’ computer networks are stealing valuable trade secrets, intellectual property data and confidential business strategies and its called iCognative by Brainwave Science. Despite advances in cyber-security, cyber espionage continues to offer threat actors a relatively low-cost, high-yield avenue of approach to a wide spectrum of intellectual property. In a changing world, police organizations are forced to continuously adapt and evolve to remain effective. The new technologies that cater to law enforcement needs in their applications, cost-effectiveness, and applicability are limited. Advancements made in neuroscience and cognitive psycho-physiology can provide law enforcement with a breakthrough solution for investigatory practices. In this current world facing so many criminal acts, iCognative plays an instrumental role in the delivery of truth and justice by collecting intelligence and verifying evidence.
In the case against Zhu and Zhang [members of a hacking group operating in China known within the cyber security community as Advanced Persistent Threat 10 (the APT10 Group)], the Federal Bureau of Investigations team can utilize case related investigation data such as: members of other groups and insiders within a US company who co-operated with the hackers; methods or security protocols that have been compromised by the hackers; pattern of target selection utilized; associates in other countries that have been planted by the group as a part of global enterprise; collaborators and bosses at Chinese Ministry of State Security’s Tianjin State Security Bureau; etc., along with other sensitive investigation data (called Stimuli) can be utilized to conduct a iCognative test on both the perpetrators. With the utilization of this test US Government agencies including Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation can uncover identities of other co-conspirators working on behalf of Chinese government in the US.
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