THE US has charged five members of a shadowy Chinese military unit for allegedly hacking US companies for trade secrets, infuriating Beijing which suspended cooperation on cyber issues.
Hacking has long been a major sticking point in relations between the world’s two largest economies, but Washington’s move marks a major escalation in the dispute.
In the first-ever prosecution of state actors over cyber-espionage, a federal grand jury overnight indicted the five on charges they broke into US computers to benefit Chinese state-owned companies, leading to job losses in the United States in steel, solar and other industries.
Attorney General Eric Holder called on China to hand over the five men for trial in the steel city of Pittsburgh and said the United States would use “all the means that are available to us” should Beijing refuse.
The grand jury indicted each of the five — Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu and Gu Chunhui — on 31 counts, which each carry penalties of up to 15 years in prison.
Prosecutors said that the five officers belonged to Unit 61398 of the People’s Liberation Army.
Full article: Codenamed hackers from secret Chinese military unit Unit 61398 charged in world-first move by US (news.com.au)