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DOJ indicts three Chinese nationals over hacks on Siemens, Moody's, and Trimble

DOJ indicts three Chinese nationals over hacks on Siemens, Moody's, and Trimble

The alleged hacking campaigns, which relied on spear-phishing emails and malware, ran from 2011 through May, according to a federal indictment dated September 13 and unsealed Monday in usa federal court in Pittsburgh.

Three Chinese nationals have been charged with hacking the computers of credit agency Moody's, German conglomerate Siemens and electronic manufacturer Trimble, and for theft of Trimble's trade secrets. The indictment said they were owners, employees and associates of Guangzhou Bo Yu Information Technology Company Ltd, a firm in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou that offers cybersecurity services.

Dana Boente, acting assistant attorney general for national security, said: "Once again, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have demonstrated that hackers around the world who are seeking to steal our companies' most sensitive and valuable information can, and will, be exposed and held accountable".

The Journal described the indictment as part of "name-and-shame campaign to publicize alleged foreign hackers", and noted it did not accuse the Chinese government of backing the three's actions.

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In August of this year, a Chinese man was arrested in Los Angeles and accused of selling malware that was used to hack into USA companies.

All three men have been charged as individuals rather than state-sponsored hackers, Reuters reports. But a Justice Department spokesman told Cyberscoop News that it reached out to the Chinese government during the October 3 Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Dialogue in Washington, seeking assistance, but "received no meaningful response". The Ministry of State Security doesn't accept media inquiries. The hackers allegedly stole roughly 407 gigabytes of data from Siemens's network in 2015.

A Siemens representative said the company doesn't comment on "internal security matters" but that it "rigorously" monitors its networks. It says no client data was breached. "Trimble and its employees consistently maintain high standards in protecting its worldwide cyber assets". The operation in question allegedly started in 2011, when the hackers gained access to the unidentified economist's account and began forwarding all of their emails to an account controlled by themselves. The emails of an economist working for Moody's were hacked and forwarded to the three. As a result, however, APT 3 wasn't able to launch as many attacks as some other hacking groups.