FBI’s Most Wanted
Hacking. This may be the most misunderstood and complicated term that makes the news on a daily basis. Whenever I hear the word “hacker” I immediately imagine some petty thief sitting on his computer buying things online with my stolen credit card information. Surely I’m not the only person who has received a phone call from their bank asking them if they are aware of fraudulent charges on their account. I imagine that if this happened to you, that you were sent a new card in the mail a few days later and that the money was safely transferred back into your account later that day. But what happens when someone is able to hack more than just your money? What if they are able to hack into your life’s work and then use that information for their own benefit? Well, that actually wasn’t a question, it’s a fact. As of May 1st, 2014, five members of China’s military were indicted for corporate cyber-attacks.
This is the first time that individuals from a foreign government are being charged with cyber-crimes against major U.S. corporations. Sun Kailiang, Huang Zhenyu, Wen Xinyu, Wang Dong and Gu Chunhui are the five members from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the Republic of China who were indicted for their cyber-crimes. The victims of their cyber-crimes include U.S. companies such as Westinghouse Electric Co, SolarWorld AG, United States Steal Corporation, Alcoa Inc., Allegheny Technologies Inc. and a workers union. The hackers not only stole valuable information about trade practices and procedures, but they also stole vital energy information. While conducting their cyber-attack, the criminals did everything from send false emails requesting secret information to downloading schematics for power-plant production. These expert hackers were able to gain access to nearly all aspects of these major U.S. companies.
After looking into the investigation, I discovered that each of these corporations were in some way involved in more than just business with China. As stated by the FBI, “… those companies were engaged in negotiations or joint ventures or were pursuing legal action with, or against, state-owned enterprises in China”. These hackers were able to access vital information about U.S. competitors and their negotiation strategies with these Chinese enterprises. Of course the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson denied any government or military responsibility for the crimes stating that, “The U.S. accusation against Chinese personnel is purely ungrounded and absurd”. This latest case of suspected cyber-attacks from China is the first to actually move forward with official criminal charges and is likely to strain the U.S.–Chinese relationship even further.
I would love to hear from someone living in China about these accusations. Though I’m fully aware of the U.S.’s capacity to lie about such accusations, I want to know what you think about this. Do you think that these charges were fabricated by the U.S. or do you believe that the crimes committed are legitimate? Does this case latest case of cyber-attacks strain the relationship between the U.S. and China as much as the news says it does? Whether from China or not, please leave me a post and let me know what your thoughts are on this case.