FBI Indicts Chinese Spies Hacking U.S. Companies

Posted: Sep 16, 2020 1:50 PM

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued charges against five Chinese hackers and asked for the public's help in locating them. They targeted hundreds of U.S. companies, universities, communications firms and social media outlets. 

"Zhang Haoran, Tan Dailin, Qian Chuan, Fu Qiang, and Jiang Lizhi are all part of a Chinese hacking group known as APT 41 and Barium. On August 15, 2019, a Grand Jury in the District of Columbia returned an indictment against Chinese nationals Zhang Haoran and Tan Dailin on charges including Unauthorized Access to Protected Computers, Aggravated Identity Theft, Money Laundering, and Wire Fraud.  These charges primarily stemmed from alleged activity targeting high technology and video gaming companies, and a United Kingdom citizen," the FBI detailed. 

"On August 11, 2020, a Grand Jury in the District of Columbia returned an indictment against Chinese nationals Qian Chuan, Fu Qiang, and Jiang Lizhi on charges including Racketeering, Money Laundering, Fraud, Identity Theft, and Access Device Fraud. These charges stem from their alleged unauthorized computer intrusions while employed by Chengdu 404 Network Technology Company," the FBI continued. "The defendants allegedly conducted supply chain attacks to gain unauthorized access to networks throughout the world, targeting hundreds of companies representing a broad array of industries to include: social media, telecommunications, government, defense, education, and manufacturing. These victims included companies in Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan and Sweden.  The defendants allegedly targeted telecommunications providers in the United States, Australia, China (Tibet), Chile, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. The defendants allegedly deployed ransomware attacks and demanded payments from victims."

Republican Senator Ben Sasse is weighing in and arguing these cases represent a broader threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party.

"These indictments show that the Chinese Communist Party will turn a blind eye to cybercrime if reckless hacking ultimately benefits Beijing. Chairman Xi continues to provide a license to these criminals to hack and steal at will. As this case demonstrates, it will take international partnership and cooperation to stop Beijing sanctioned cybercrime," Sasse said.