The U.S. government on Wednesday announced global hacking charges against five Chinese and two Malaysian citizens. The Justice Department charged them with computer intrusion against more than 100 U.S. and foreign companies.
The two Malaysians have already been arrested, while the five Chinese are still at large in China.
The Department of Justice issued its indictment of five Chinese citizens for attacks on more than 100 companies and institutions in the United States and elsewhere, including Australia, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Attacks ranged from social networking and video game companies to universities and telecommunications providers.
According to prosecutors, the two Malaysian men, Wong Ong Hua, and Ling Yang Ching, were arrested in Malaysia on Sunday.
They face an extradition request to the United States, where they would be charged with conspiring with Chinese pirates to profit from the multi-billion dollar attacks on the video game industry.
The five Chinese defendants remain at large, identified as Zhang Haoran, Tan Dailin, Jiang Lizhi, Qian Chuan, and Fu Qiang.
The seven men have been charged three times: in August 2019, August 2020, and those revealed on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
In addition to charging the seven men, U.S. authorities said they confiscated hundreds of accounts, servers, domain names, and command and control websites used by the defendants to carry out their computer intrusion crimes.
The indictments are part of the Trump administration’s decision and effort to expose cyber crimes committed by Chinese people to benefit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by transferring valuable information of all kinds.
In July, according to AP News, prosecutors had already accused other Chinese hackers of working with the CCP. They had interfered with companies developing vaccines against the CCP Virus and were stealing valuable information involving billions of dollars in intellectual property and trade secrets from companies worldwide.
The charges brought against Chinese citizens are the latest action in a tense relationship between the world’s two largest economic powers, China and the United States.
The relationship worsened dramatically during the CCP Virus pandemic after President Trump blamed the CCP for spreading the virus.
Over the past few months, both countries took concrete actions in the context of a declared trade war.
“The Department of Justice has used every tool available to disrupt the illegal computer intrusions and cyberattacks by these Chinese citizens,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen.
“Regrettably, the Chinese communist party has chosen a different path of making China safe for cybercriminals so long as they attack computers outside China and steal intellectual property helpful to China.”
FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates the ramifications facing hackers in China. But it is also a reminder to those who continue to deploy malicious cyber-tactics that we will use all the tools we have to administer justice.”
Michael R. Sherwin, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, also held the CCP accountable for the recent cyber attacks: “As set forth in the charging documents, some of these criminal actors believed their association with the Peoples Republic of China provided them free license to hack and steal across the globe.”