DoJ indicts Chinese Army hackers of Unit 61398


Center Building 208 Datong [, via Mandiant].

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) yesterday indicted five Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) officers. The allegation is that they were hacking U.S. companies, to steal secrets.

Wang Dong (UglyGorilla), Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu (WinXYHappy), Huang Zhenyu and Gu Chunhui, are all said to be officers in Unit 61398 of the Third Department of the PLA.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers break out the popcorn.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.


Ellen Nakashima, William Wan, William Branigin and Karen de Young, call it a "landmark case":

The Justice Department has indicted five members of the Chinese military. [It] paves the way for more indictments and demonstrates that the United States is serious about holding foreign governments accountable.

The indictment is intended to address what...officials have called one of the top threats to national and economic security, with an estimated annual cost...that ranges from the tens of more than $100 billion.

China has summoned the U.S. ambassador...Max Baucus to complain that U.S. authorities published their indictment ignoring [China's] strong protests. ... Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement [that] the charges are “purely ungrounded and absurd,” [adding] that the United States had “fabricated facts.”.  MORE


And Jaikumar Vijayan wonders if this will change anything:

The U.S. government's decision [to] indict five members of the Chinese military...marks a significant escalation of what until now has been largely a war of words. ... U.S. government officials and security experts have long pointed to China as the single largest source of state-sponsored attacks. ... Over the past several years, China-based hackers are believed to have stolen huge troves of military and industrial data.

[But] it's a near certainty that China will not hand over the five individuals. ... And it's unlikely that the indictments alone will significantly slow the alleged Chinese attacks. ... Instead, all the move is likely to do is provoke China to retaliate. ... With an obvious reference to the [NSA] "China is a victim of severe U.S. cyber theft, wiretapping and surveillance activities," the Chinese government said.  MORE


Here's what the Chinese press are saying:

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang...expressed strong indignation and opposition to the move. ... Describing China as a staunch defender of cyber security, Zheng said none of the country's...personnel, or individuals have ever participated or been involved in cyber theft of trade secrets.

A great number of revelations suggested that the United States has carried out large-scale, organized cyber theft and monitoring targeting government facilities, agencies, companies, universities and even individuals in China. ... The U.S. behaviors testify to its arbitrariness and hypocrisy, [Zheng] said...adding that his country will respond further as the situation develops.  MORE


Meanwhile, the pseudonymous Zsa Zsa Gaborg drips with unintentional irony:

The charges are that [Chinese] government officials organized corporate espionage.

The equivalent would be if the US government had been spying on Airbus and passing the info to Boeing.  MORE

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