Chinese and Malaysian hackers charged by US over attacks
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has accused five Chinese and two Malaysians of hacking more than 100 companies.
The two Malaysian businessmen “conspired” with two of the Chinese hackers to specifically target the video game industry, the DoJ said.
They would obtain in-game items and currencies by fraud, hacking or other means and would sell the digital items for real money, he added.
Both Malaysian men were arrested.
The five Chinese were “fugitives” in China, the DoJ added. The United States does not have an extradition treaty with China.
The other three Chinese hackers targeted software developers, computer manufacturers, social media companies and others, according to the indictment.
Two of the Chinese hackers – named Zhang Haoran and Tan Dailin, both 35 – have integrated their attacks on tech companies with hacking video game companies.
The two Malaysians – Wong Ong Hua, 46, and Ling Yang Ching, 32, are alleged to have worked with Chinese hackers to attack video game companies in the United States, France, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
“Many of the Chinese defendants have compromised the networks of video game companies around the world. It is a billion dollar industry. And it has defrauded them of gaming resources,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told reporters.
“Two of the Chinese defendants are charged with two of the Malaysian defendants of selling those assets on the black market through their illegal website.”
At least nine known victim video game companies are listed in the indictment, but none are identified by name. Many are multinationals and at least one had multiple sub-companies.
Another of the allegations involved crimes including identity theft and money laundering by three of the Chinese men, which according to the DoJ had affected more than 100 companies.
It said that Jiang Lizhi, 35, Qian Chuan, 39, and Fu Qiang, 37, worked as senior managers for a Chinese network security company.
But they also used their skills for “offensive” operations, he added.
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The companies were located all over the world, not only in the United States but also in Australia, Brazil, Chile, India, Japan, Singapore and elsewhere.
Microsoft, as well as Google, Facebook, and Verizon have all helped officials investigate and cut attack methods, the US government said.
Mr. Rosen also blamed the Chinese state for allowing this activity to take place.
“The Department of Justice has used all available tools to stop illegal cyber intrusions and cyber attacks by these Chinese citizens,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the Communist Party of China has chosen a different path to make China safe for cybercriminals as long as they attack computers outside of China and steal China’s useful intellectual property.”
- Computer hacking