U.S. Charges Chinese Officials Over Cyberspying

The Justice Department has never before filed criminal charges against a foreign actor for cyberspying.
Posted at 10:44 AM, May 19, 2014

The U.S. Justice Department has, for the first time in its history, filed criminal charges against Chinese officials for cyberspying.

ERIC HOLDER: "This is a case alleging economic espionage by members of the Chinese military. The range of trade secrets and other information stolen in this case is significant." (Via CNN)

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder accused Chinese government officials of hacking American companies to steal trade secrets and intellectual property. (Via Bloomberg)

The five Chinese officials charged were members of the People's Liberation army. A law enforcement source told theLos Angeles Times it's "unlikely that China would turn over any of the individuals charged."

The Justice Department says the hacked American companies are all in the nuclear power, metals and solar products industries. (Via U.S. Department of Justice)

The Obama administration has long considered China's army and state-sponsored hackers some of the top threats to the U.S.' cybersecurity.

This 2011 U.S. government report described Chinese actors ​as "the world's most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage." (Via Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive

Last year security firm Mandiant reported hackers traced to China stole data from 141 organizations worldwide — including The New York Times and The Washington Post. (Via ABC

China denied it was behind the spying. (Via The New York Times

In March, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the Pentagon would triple its cybersecurity staff to defend against Internet attacks. (Via Jewish News One

According to The Washington Post, experts estimate cyber-espionage costs the U.S. economy between $25 billion and $100 billion per year.