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The US and UK accuse China of conducting a cyber espionage campaign targeting dissidents and nationals

The US and UK accuse China of conducting a cyber espionage campaign targeting dissidents and nationals

The US authorities announced this Monday the indictment of seven Chinese nationals belonging to the APT31 hacker group, linked to the Chinese Ministry of State Security and which has been collecting information on Chinese Communist Party (CPP) dissidents for 14 years. and also about American politicians and business people. It was a “large-scale illegal hacking operation” to obtain “sensitive data from elected officials and American officials, journalists and academics, valuable information from American companies and political dissidents,” said the prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York. Breon peace.

The Justice Department said in a statement that the seven suspects were charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for their involvement in the APT31 hacking group. The organization spied from China on “foreigners critical of Chinese authorities, businessmen and political officials to further Chinese economic espionage and its intelligence objectives abroad,” the note said.

The defendants are Ni Gaobin38 years old; Weng Ming37 years old; Cheng Feng34 years old; Peng Yaowen38 years old; Sun Xiaohui38; Xiong Wang35, and Zhao Guangzong, 38, all “alleged residents of the People’s Republic of China,” according to the Justice Department. The group was part of a computer espionage program run by the Hubei Ministry of State Security, which is under the Chinese government’s Ministry of State Security and was headquartered in the city of Wuhan. From there, the current defendants launched global hacking campaigns against targets inside and outside of China. In some cases, they achieved their goal and accessed private networks, email accounts, web storage and phone calls.

“Some of this espionage continued for several years,” the Justice Department warned in its letter, saying it would not tolerate “the Chinese government’s maneuvers to intimidate Americans in public office, silence dissidents protected by American law, or steal from American companies. “

The Attorney General, Merrick Garland, alluded to “malicious cyber operations threatening the national security of the United States and our allies.” According to their statement, the hacking group sent “more than 10,000 malicious emails” to thousands of victims on multiple continents as part of an operation “sponsored” by the Chinese government. The targets were journalists, civil servants and companies, emphasized the deputy attorney general. Lisa Monaco. The director of the US federal police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher WrayFor its part, warned of “China’s persistent and brazen attempts to undermine our country’s cybersecurity and attack Americans and our innovation.”

On the same Monday, the United Kingdom also accused China of carrying out cyberattacks against the British Electoral Commission and several parliamentarians in 2021, for which it has announced sanctions in response and will summon the Chinese ambassador. Zheng Zeguang. “I can confirm that agents linked to the Chinese state were responsible for two cyber campaigns targeting our democratic institutions and parliaments,” the British deputy prime minister admitted. Oliver Dowdenduring his speech in the House of Commons.

“We have seen this in China’s continued disregard for universal human rights and international obligations in Xinjiang, in China’s elimination of dissenting voices and suppression of opposition through the new national security law in Hong Kong, and in the disturbing reports of Chinese intimidation and aggressive behavior in the South China Sea ” said Dowden, who reiterated that the UK’s policy towards China is based on “national interests” and therefore it will not hesitate to “take robust and rapid action if the Chinese government threatens British interests.”

The former Prime Minister and current Foreign Minister, David Cameronconsidered a person close to Beijing, believed that “it is completely unacceptable that organizations and individuals affiliated with the Chinese state have targeted our democratic institutions and political processes.” The head of the Foreign Office said he had this Discussed the matter directly with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, recalling that sanctions had been imposed on two individuals and an organization “involved in China-linked groups.”

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