The United States has charged two Chinese hackers with stealing research on the coronavirus and other matters from various laboratories and organizations.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the charges against Li Xiaoyu, 34, and Dong Jiazhi, 33, on Tuesday in a press release. The indictment comes less than a week after British, Canadian, and U.S. intelligence agencies accused Russia of attempting to steal research on a coronavirus vaccine.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) released a statement slamming Chinese President Xi Jinping for sanctioning the hacks against the United States and calling for a more aggressive stance against the Chinese government.
“This indictment reveals yet again that Chairman Xi leads an army of hackers that steal and attempt to steal — every single day, in almost every country and industry. Indictments like this are an important way to focus attention on an urgent problem, but we need to be using more of the tools at our disposal to fight back against this communist aggression,” Sasse said.
The 11-count indictment says Li and Dong launched cyber attacks against businesses, organizations, and tech research facilities in at least 11 countries, including the United States, over the course of a decade. In only the latest string of attacks did the suspects focus on coronavirus vaccines and research, according to the DOJ.
“Today’s indictment demonstrates the serious consequences the Chinese MSS and its proxies will face if they continue to deploy malicious cyber tactics to either steal what they cannot create or silence what they do not want to hear,” FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich said in a statement. “Cybercrimes directed by the Chinese government’s intelligence services not only threaten the United States but also every other country that supports fair play, international norms, and the rule of law, and it also seriously undermines China’s desire to become a respected leader in world affairs. The FBI and our international partners will not stand idly by to this threat, and we are committed to holding the Chinese government accountable.”
William Hyslop, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, added: “As the grand jury charged, the computer systems of many businesses, individuals and agencies throughout the United States and worldwide have been hacked and compromised with a huge array of sensitive and valuable trade secrets, technologies, data, and personal information being stolen. The hackers operated from China both for their own gain and with the assistance and for the benefit of the Chinese government’s Ministry of State Security.”
The United States recently partnered with the United Kingdom and Canada to accuse Moscow of trying to rip off the intellectual property, including the formula to a coronavirus vaccine, through cyberattacks on pharmaceutical research labs.
As The Daily Wire reported:
“It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said. “While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behaviour, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health. The UK will continue to counter those conducting such cyber attacks, and work with our allies to hold perpetrators to account.”