Feds: Chinese Government-Backed Hackers Targeted Software Companies, Online Games

cyberattack
REUTERS/EDGAR SU/FILES

A group of Chinese hackers working on behalf of the Chinese government have been charged by U.S. authorities after allegedly targeting a number of American software companies including the popular system management tool CCleaner and multiple online games.

Ars Technica reports that a group of hackers working on behalf of the Chinese government have targeted U.S. organizations including the system management software CCleaner and multiple online games. This week, U.S. prosecutors charged seven men for carrying out a string of financially motivated hacks on over 100 U.S. and overseas organizations.

U.S. prosecutors allege that the men targeted tech firms with the aim of stealing software-signing certificates, user account data, and valuable business information, all with the approval of the Chinese government. The defendants allegedly worked for front companies located in China and used their intrusions into game developers and software makers for money laundering, identity theft, wire and access device fraud, and to a number of other criminal schemes including ransomware and cryptojacking operations.

One of the three indictments unsealed on Wednesday states that the defendant Jiang Lizhi boasted of his connections to China’s Ministry of State Security and claimed that these connections protected him from legal issues “unless something very big happens.” Jiang’s associate, Qian Chuan, allegedly spent 10 years supporting Chinese government projects such as the development of a secure cleaning tool to wipe confidential data from digital media.

A third man, Fu Qiang, worked alongside the others and were officers of a China-based firm called Chengdu 404 Network Technology Co. Ltd. The company described itself as a network security company composed of elite white-hat hackers who provide services including penetration testing, password recovery, mobile device forensics, and other defensive services.

Prosecutors wrote:

However, in addition to any purported ‘white hat’ or defensive network security services which it provided, Chengdu 404 was also responsible for ‘offensive’ network security operations

That is to say, Chengdu 404 employees and officers including Jiang, Qian, and Fu committed, and conspired to commit, criminal computer intrusion offenses targeting computer networks around the world, including, and as described further herein, over 100 victim companies, organizations, and individuals in the United States and around the world, including in South Korea, Japan, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Chile, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand.

Read more at Ars Technica here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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