Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray announced the unsealing of an indictment against two accused Chinese hackers on Thursday. The state-connected hackers are accused of penetrating networks of U.S. agencies and companies.
The charges leveled against accused hackers Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, both of whom have multiple aliases, include conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Rosenstein and Wray wouldn't name the victim companies. The Justice Department says the two men were members of a hacking group operating in China within a community known as Advanced Persistent Threat 10.
Rosenstein said "this is not the first time" that the Justice Department has announced actions against state-sponsored Chinese hackers. Wray said China is doing all it can to be the most influential country in the world and it's using "illegal" methods to get there.
"While we welcome a fair competition, we cannot tolerate illegal hacking, stealing, cheating," Wray said.
The Trump administration has taken a hard stance on China, on issues of trade, technology and espionage. Relations with China remain tense, as the Trump administration looks to reach a firm agreement CEO of telecom company Huawei has further complicated those relations. China has warned of "grave consequences" if that CEO isn't released.. The recent arrest of the
Trump national security adviser John Bolton spoke to the threat Russia poses in Africa and around the world last week.
"The predatory practices pursued by China and Russia stunt economic growth in Africa, threaten the financial independence of African nations, inhibit opportunities for U.S. investment, interfere with U.S. military operations and pose a significant threat to U.S. national security interests," Bolton said.