US officials on Thursday said two alleged Chinese hackers carried out an extensive campaign on behalf of Beijing's main intelligence agency to steal trade secrets and other information from government agencies and "a who's who" of major corporations in the United States and nearly a dozen other nations. The indictment is the latest in a series of Justice Department criminal cases targeting Chinese cyberespionage and coincided with an announcement by Britain blaming China's Ministry of State Security for trade-secret pilfering affecting Western nations, the AP reports. The hackers, identified as members of the group APT10, or "Stone Panda," are not in custody. Prosecutors said their names are Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong.
The alleged hackers, one of whom is nicknamed "Godkiller," are accused of breaching computer networks beginning as early as 2006 in a range of industries. Prosecutors say they breached computers of more than 45 entities in 12 states, including NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and Goddard Space Center. Prosecutors say they also obtained the names, Social Security numbers, and other personal information of more than 100,000 Navy personnel. "China's state-sponsored actors are the most active perpetrators of economic espionage," FBI Director Chris Wray said in announcing the case. "While we welcome fair competition, we cannot and will not tolerate illegal hacking, stealing, or cheating." China on Friday said the US was "fabricating facts out of thin air."
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