Obama admin accuses China of cyberhacking; China doth protest too much

posted at 8:41 pm on May 19, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

On Monday, the Obama administration finally went ahead and formally charged five Chinese government officials with coordinating cyberattacks against six major American companies — marking the first time the U.S. has specifically called out hackers acting on explicit orders from a foreign government. Here’s the official statement from the FBI:

WASHINGTON—A grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania (WDPA) indicted five Chinese military hackers for computer hacking, economic espionage, and other offenses directed at six American victims in the U.S. nuclear power, metals, and solar products industries.

The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to hack into American entities to maintain unauthorized access to their computers and to steal information from those entities that would be useful to their competitors in China, including state-owned enterprises (SOEs). In some cases, it alleges, the conspirators stole trade secrets that would have been particularly beneficial to Chinese companies at the time they were stolen. In other cases, it alleges, the conspirators also stole sensitive, internal communications that would provide a competitor, or an adversary in litigation, with insight into the strategy and vulnerabilities of the American entity.

“This is a case alleging economic espionage by members of the Chinese military and represents the first-ever charges against a state actor for this type of hacking,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said. “The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands an aggressive response. Success in the global market place should be based solely on a company’s ability to innovate and compete, not on a sponsor government’s ability to spy and steal business secrets. This administration will not tolerate actions by any nation that seeks to illegally sabotage American companies and undermine the integrity of fair competition in the operation of the free market.”

And of course, on cue, here come the protestations of the communist party officials who believe themselves fundamentally incapable of any sort of breach of international ethics:

Chinese government officials on Monday strongly rebuked the U.S. over its claims of cyber-spying by five Chinese military officers, saying the Justice Department indictment was based on  “fabricated facts” and would jeopardize U.S.-China relations.

“The Chinese government, the Chinese military and their relevant personnel have never engaged or participated in cyber theft of trade secrets,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang said in a statement. “The U.S. accusation against Chinese personnel is purely ungrounded and absurd.”

The Chinese government demanded that the U.S. indictment, unsealed Monday, be withdrawn. Chinese officials also said they would suspend activities of the China-U.S. Cyber Working Group, created last year to address allegations of hacking. …

“Well today, we are” providing proof, said John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security. “For the first time, we are exposing the faces and names behind the keyboards in Shanghai used to steal from American businesses.”

Puh-lease. China has been all up in our cyber-grill spying on both our national security and commercial systems for ages now — and I suppose that the Obama administration at least saying something on the record about it is certainly better than doing absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, however, it is practically speaking a pretty mild gesture, and while it may escalate some already-escalating tensions, it won’t amount to anything in the way of getting the Chinese to actually back off of the espionage:



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China also denies the existence of Tiannamen Square and claims its coal plants emit only unicorn farts.

rbj on May 19, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Phew. At least they weren’t cyber-spying.

WryTrvllr on May 19, 2014 at 8:50 PM

Some Filipino hackers just messed up 200 Chinese commie websites in revenge for their bullying re. the “disputed” Philippine islands.

Heh.

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/05/19/14/pinoy-hackers-deface-chinese-websites

itsnotaboutme on May 19, 2014 at 8:56 PM

I read somewhere today that China will probably retaliate with indictments of their own (I can’t find the article to link to but it is China’s typical response to this kind of thing). Obviously I want us to stick it to China for their cyberspying and other goofball crap in the SCS for instance…but it would be hilarious if they indicted Holder out of spite. Holder will at last be formally charged with something, somewhere….LOL….

William Eaton on May 19, 2014 at 8:58 PM

Puh-lease. China has been all up in our cyber-grill spying on both our national security and commercial systems for ages now —

If you say so Erika.

(That VPN you said was getting cut off still working great over a year later, btw)

DarkCurrent on May 19, 2014 at 9:02 PM

@William Eaton, could they add Holder’s boss too? I’d be willing to trade their indicted for our indicted.

rbj on May 19, 2014 at 9:03 PM

Puh-lease. China has been all up in our cyber-grill spying on both our national security and commercial systems for ages now —

If you say so Erika.

DarkCurrent on May 19, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Ah, the word “China” is in the headline, so the Bagdad Bob of the murderous, mega-corrupt Chinese regime magically appears!

itsnotaboutme on May 19, 2014 at 9:08 PM

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/us-accuses-china-of-hacking-may-2014/

US accuses China of hacking, May 2014
China
*****

5h
State Department expresses regret at China’s announcement that they are suspending participation in the US-China Cyber Working Group; ‘We expect the Chinese government to understand that today’s announcement relates to law enforcement’ – @NBCNews
End of alert
=============

China
7h
White House says US action against China on cybersecurity reflects growing concern that the behavior has continued – @Reuters
End of alert
=============

China
9h
More: US cyber-spying accusations are ‘made up’ and will damage ‘mutual trust,’ Chinese foreign ministry says in statement – @BBCNews
Read more on http://www.bbc.com
=========================

China
10h
China says US accusations of cyber spying are made up – @Reuters
End of alert
============

China
10h
Attorney General Eric Holder on Chinese hacking charges: ‘You can never tell how these things will play out. It is our hope to have these people stand before an American jury’ – @NBCNews live video
End of alert
============

China
10h
United Steelworkers on Chinese hacking charges: ‘We find the matter troubling and take it quite seriously, but because the investigation is ongoing, the USW cannot comment’ – via @NBCNews
End of alert
============

China
10h
Attorney General Eric Holder on criminal charges against Chinese hackers: ‘This should serve as a wakeup call’ – @NBCNews live video
End of alert
============

China
10h
Alcoa statement on Chinese hacking charges: ‘To our knowledge, no material information was compromised during this incident which occurred several years ago. Safeguarding our data is a top priority for Alcoa and we continue to invest resources to protect our systems’ – via @CNBC
End of alert
=============

China
10h
Live video: Justice Department announces criminal charges against Chinese hackers – @NBCNews
Read more on nbcnews.com
========================

China
11h
Indictment accuses alleged Chinese hackers of targeting US nuclear power, metals and solar products industries; alleged victims are brand-name companies including Alcoa and Westinghouse – @AP
End of alert
============

China
11h
US companies allegedly targeted by Chinese hackers include US Steel, Alcoa and Allegheny Technologies – @Reuters
End of alert
=============
China
11h
US grand jury charges 5 Chinese hackers with economic espionage, trade secret theft – @AP
End of alert
===============

China
11h
US indictment alleges Chinese conspired to hack into US entities to steal information useful to competitors in China – @Reuters
End of alert
===============

China
13h
US Justice Department has filed criminal charges against several Chinese government officials, accusing them of stealing American trade secrets through cyber espionage – @NBCNews
Read more on nbcnews.com
========================

United States
14h
US Department of Justice files 1st ever criminal charges for cyber economic espionage against a state actor – @NBCNews
Read more on nbcnews.com

canopfor on May 19, 2014 at 9:19 PM

So, the Hopey Administration has now p*ssed off China, along with the USSR!!

OutStanding!
(sarc)

canopfor on May 19, 2014 at 9:22 PM

China also denies the existence of Tiannamen Square

rbj on May 19, 2014 at 8:45 PM

This is true, and they have brainwashed their population to believe that the United States made up the Tiannamen Square Massacre as well.

A Chinese girl who worked at my company for a few years always denied that it happened, and no amount of evidence I showed her could convince her that it happened. And she is very bright.

Such is the effect of persistent propaganda, and why we HAVE to destroy the Left’s hold on academia (fortunately a chance to do so is soon to come via economic collapse of the current university system…)

ConstantineXI on May 19, 2014 at 9:24 PM

…a few decades…too late.

KOOLAID2 on May 19, 2014 at 9:30 PM

Ah, the word “China” is in the headline, so the Bagdad Bob of the murderous, mega-corrupt Chinese regime magically appears!

itsnotaboutme on May 19, 2014 at 9:08 PM

I hope your charity work is going well friend.

DarkCurrent on May 19, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Gotta hand it to Clinton.

He just sold it and didn’t do all this caterwauling….

BigWyo on May 19, 2014 at 9:43 PM

From Zero Hedge: FBI Issues “Most Wanted” Notice For Wang “Ugly Gorilla” Dong And 4 Other Chinese Army Officers…
.

ExpressoBold on May 19, 2014 at 9:46 PM

China also denies the existence of Tiannamen Square and claims its coal plants emit only unicorn farts.

rbj on May 19, 2014 at 8:45 PM

There is no Tiannamen Square, but Tiananmen Square does exist.

DarkCurrent on May 19, 2014 at 9:46 PM

…but it would be hilarious if they indicted Holder out of spite. Holder will at last be formally charged with something, somewhere….LOL….

William Eaton on May 19, 2014 at 8:58 PM

If it don’t work the first time, they’ll just indict him an hour later….

BigWyo on May 19, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Yeah, well? In retaliation the Glorious Peoples Republic of China will retaliate by exporting poison dog food and shoddy merchandise containing ungodly amounts of lead.

Tekov Yahoser on May 19, 2014 at 9:48 PM

I hope your charity work is going well friend.

DarkCurrent on May 19, 2014 at 9:42 PM

It is!
Thank you very much!

itsnotaboutme on May 19, 2014 at 10:03 PM

If you want a clever, sarcastic weekly (?) report on the latest corruption and/or scandals in China, I highly recommend subscribing to China Uncensored on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/user/NTDChinaUncensored

itsnotaboutme on May 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM

It is!
Thank you very much!

itsnotaboutme on May 19, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Good to hear. Is there a place we can make donations online?

DarkCurrent on May 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM

China dismisses U.S. indignation over international spying.

America confirms it has proof: Sun Kailiang was recorded talking in Hong Kong elevator about spying on U.S., and was heard whispering about his hacking expoits while in bed with his mistress, on 8 separate occasions.

G. Charles on May 19, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Charged In Absentia doesn’t count. Does anyone think China will extradite these people? It’s all smoke and mirrors, like this administration,

hpk1942 on May 19, 2014 at 10:14 PM

From Zero Hedge: FBI Issues “Most Wanted” Notice For Wang “Ugly Gorilla” Dong And 4 Other Chinese Army Officers…
.

ExpressoBold on May 19, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Back in the day, I worked for AOL… There was a Chinese guy that kept getting his account nuked because of his screen name. His name was Dong, and he was irate, because Dong is proud name in China. His original screenname was “DongGK” or something like that, and he was some sort of professional and wanted to use his real name, but someone would complain and he kept getting variations of his name nuked for TOS violations. He started getting really pissed off, and started creating names like “ImYourDong” and “BigDong4You” “HasAnybobySeenThisDong” and “YourFavoriteDong” and “UWantThisDong”…

I felt sorry for Mr Dong, but lawdy, we laughed our asses off over the trials and travails of being a Dong on AOL…

PointnClick on May 19, 2014 at 10:18 PM

I hope your charity work is going well friend.

DarkCurrent on May 19, 2014 at 9:42 PM

It is!
Thank you very much!

itsnotaboutme on May 19, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Good to hear. Is there a place we can make donations online?

DarkCurrent on May 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Wow! Thank you very much!

http://ripeforharvest.org/home/donate/

Please specify Davao City Outreach. Again, thank you!

itsnotaboutme on May 19, 2014 at 10:53 PM

I felt sorry for Mr Dong, but lawdy, we laughed our asses off over the trials and travails of being a Dong on AOL…

PointnClick on May 19, 2014 at 10:18 PM

.
That was an interesting story… thanks!
.
I got there, in Dulles, in ’98 just after they completed CC2 and exited in ’01, after AOL “bought” Time-Warner.

ExpressoBold on May 19, 2014 at 10:56 PM

Great Shakes!
Corporate spying?
Say it ain’t so.

connertown on May 20, 2014 at 12:30 AM

Obama admin accuses China of cyberhacking; China doth protest too much

Yeah, they’re going to send Agent Gideon and the rest of the team over to Shanghai to arrest them, right?

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 20, 2014 at 4:46 AM

Nobody cares about China as a potential threat, or they wouldn’t have spend twenty years after the fall of Soviet Union pushing NATO to the East and buying a fight with Russia.

You can be friendly with China and use it to contain Russia. That’s the Nixon Option. And it made sense in the Cold War when the Soviet Union was the greater threat.

Or you can be friendly with Russia and use it to contain China. Which would make sense now, as China is a rising giant, while Russia is no longer Communist and has an economy about the size of Italy’s, and is in decline.

You can’t do both.

America has chosen an aggressive orientation against post-Communist and socially conservative Russia, and has effectively chosen to accept the rise of the Communist Chinese giant. In fact American diplomacy is pushing Russia into China’s arms, just because Russia is under so much American pressure that the Russians have to have a big ally even if the Chinese make the Russians play second fiddle. (Which the Russians hate.)

Given this fundamental strategic choice, all talk of containing China on any level is bogus.

David Blue on May 20, 2014 at 6:01 AM

There is no Tiannamen Square, but Tiananmen Square does exist.

DarkCurrent on May 19, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Forgive my spelling when I’m working on my HP TouchPad at night. BTW, how much does the Chinese government pay you?

rbj on May 20, 2014 at 9:11 AM

China also denies the existence of Tiannamen Square and claims its coal plants emit only unicorn farts.

rbj on May 19, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Sounds like we need to import their clean coal technology.

Ward Cleaver on May 20, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Forgive my spelling when I’m working on my HP TouchPad at night. BTW, how much does the Chinese government pay you?

rbj on May 20, 2014 at 9:11 AM

What OS are you running on that? Wasn’t there a hack to make them run Linux? Or was it Android?

Ward Cleaver on May 20, 2014 at 9:18 AM

against post-Communist re-Czarist and socially conservative Russia

David Blue on May 20, 2014 at 6:01 AM

FIFY

GWB on May 20, 2014 at 10:39 AM

BTW, how much does the Chinese government pay you?

rbj on May 20, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Not as much as it should ;)

DarkCurrent on May 20, 2014 at 10:47 AM

What does a politician do when his administration is collapsing around him due to multiple scandals ? Simple ! He distracts the American-public’s attention by starting a “foreign-spy ” scam ! The next two years are going to be highly entertaining as I.R.S. and Obamacare and other scandals collapse into a pile of rusty “junk.” The summation of the Obama Presidency is contained in one word,…G.I.G.O. “Garbage in means Garbage out !”

Bugdust172 on May 20, 2014 at 10:54 PM