The Department of Justice announced charges against two Chinese hackers who, among other things, targeted companies developing COVID-19 vaccines, testing technology and treatments. “The campaign targeted intellectual property and confidential business information held by the private sector, including COVID-19-related treatment, testing, and vaccines,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said. Their hacking campaign lasted more than ten years and targeted companies in countries with high technology industries, including the US, Australia, the UK, Belgium, Germany, Japan, and South Korea. The DOJ has brought 11 charges against them. The campaign was discovered when the hackers targeted the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in Eastern Washington, US Attorney William D. Hyslop for the Eastern District of Washington said. Who are the hackers? The two hackers — Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi — worked with the Guandong State Security Department (GSSD) of the Ministry of State Security (MSS) — China’s intelligence, security and secret police agency. Why did they hack? As per the DOJ, the two hackers at times acted for their own personal financial gain, and at times for the benefit of MSS and other Chinese government agencies. The nature of the material stolen indicates that the hacking was state-driven, Raymond Duda, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle division, said. What did they steal? “The hackers stole terabytes of data which comprised a sophisticated and prolific threat to U.S. networks.” The hackers also provided MSS with personal data on certain targets, including passwords for email accounts of Chinese dissidents, including…
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