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San Diego Prosecutors Charge Chinese Nationals For Hacking And Stealing Infectious Disease Research

Written by Andrew Morris

Federal prosecutors released information Monday regarding the apprehension of four Chinese nationals working in the interest of Chinese Foreign Intelligence.

Reports state the defendants worked for the Hainan State Security Department, which is a foreign intelligence branch of the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security.

The agency allegedly stole information on industrial agencies like healthcare, aviation, defense, and infectious disease research. The Chinese hackers were in search of this information because it was “of significant economic benefit to China’s companies and commercial sectors.”

The four perpetrators are Ding Xiaoyang, Cheng Qingmin, Wu Shurong, and Zhu Yunmin, all of whom worked under the Hainan State Security Department, known as the HSSD, through a front company Hainan Xiandun Technology.

The agency employed false emails, website domains, and online profiles to impersonate and mirror legitimate corporations to steal information. Additionally, the campaign, which ran from 2011 to 2018, continued to steal information for the Chinese government despite a formal agreement between the US and China in 2015 to quell cyber-related theft of trade secrets and personal property.

“These criminal charges once again highlight (how) China continues to use cyber-enabled attacks to steal what other countries make, in flagrant disregard of its bilateral and multilateral commitments,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco.

This incident comes as a comparatively small symptom of a larger illness. The seemingly never-ending power grab as China seeks to be the world’s primary economic superpower. This does not even come close to the first instance of this type of breach, yet the current sitting President and his administration do very little to combat or condemn their actions.

Photo via City News Service