International Law

US criminally charges Chinese military officials with cyberspying


One of the FBI wanted posters.

Updated: Attorney General Eric Holder has announced an indictment accusing five Chinese military officials of directing a conspiracy to hack into U.S. companies.

The indictment alleges that the officials sought to steal trade secrets and intellectual property by hacking operations, report the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today reports. The targeted companies included Westinghouse Electric and subsidiaries of U.S. Steel, Solar World, Allegheny Technologies and Alcoa, the Times says. USA Today also lists the United Steel Workers Union as a target.

The indictment is the first in which the U.S. accused a foreign government of economic espionage, Holder said. The press release is here. The Federal Bureau of Investigations posted the men on its site for Cyber’s Most Wanted, along with wanted posters.

Officials told the Post that the indictment will send a strong message, even if the officials are never tried.

Updated at 9:40 a.m. to report on Holder’s announcement, and at 11:50 a.m. to add the information about the FBI’s Most Wanted.

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