Chinese Military Personnel Charged with Computer Fraud, Economic Espionage and Wire Fraud for Hacking into Credit Reporting Agency Equifax
Indictment Alleges Four Members of China’s People’s Liberation Army Engaged in a Three-Month Long Campaign to Steal Sensitive Personal Information of Nearly 150 Million Americans
A federal grand jury in Atlanta returned an indictment last week charging four members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with hacking into the computer systems of the credit reporting agency Equifax and stealing Americans’ personal data and Equifax’s valuable trade secrets.
The nine-count indictment alleges that Wu Zhiyong (吴志勇), Wang Qian (王乾), Xu Ke (许可), and Liu Lei (刘磊) were members of the PLA’s 54th Research Institute, a component of the Chinese military. They allegedly conspired with each other to hack into Equifax’s computer networks, maintain unauthorized access to those computers, and steal sensitive, personally identifiable information of approximately 145 million American victims.
“This was a deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people,” said Attorney General William P. Barr, who made the announcement. “Today, we hold PLA hackers accountable for their criminal actions, and we remind the Chinese government that we have the capability to remove the Internet’s cloak of anonymity and find the hackers that nation repeatedly deploys against us. Unfortunately, the Equifax hack fits a disturbing and unacceptable pattern of state-sponsored computer intrusions and thefts by China and its citizens that have targeted personally identifiable information, trade secrets, and other confidential information.”
According to the indictment...