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US Charges Hackers At Chinese Cybersecurity Firm For Stealing Trade Secrets

28 November 2017, 01:05 | Todd Saunders

DOJ indicts three Chinese nationals over hacks on Siemens, Moody's, and Trimble

Chinese firm indicted in US court for fraud after hacking into networks of Siemens and Moodys

A federal grand jury in Pittsburg has indicted three Chinese nationals on charges of computer hacking for allegedly penetrating networks used by Moody's Analytics and other US businesses to steal sensitive information and communications.

More precisely, the DOJ charged Wu Yingzhuo with hacking Trimble, Dong Hao with hacking Siemens, and Xia Lei with hacking Moody's Analytics.

Boyusec has been watched as a suspicious actor by Western security firms for several years.

Researchers earlier this year identified a link between Boyusec and the Advanced Persistent Threat 3 hacking group allegedly responsible for stealing the blueprints for ASIO's new Canberra building in 2013.

Their targets included Moody's, Trimble Inc. and Siemens AG, the latter of which has offices in Pittsburg.

"These conspirators masked their criminal conspiracy by exploiting unwitting computers, called 'hop points, ' conducting spear-phish email campaigns to gain unauthorised access to corporate computers, and deploying malicious code to infiltrate the victim computer networks", acting U.S. attorney Soo Song said.

APT3 used malware uploaded to an ASIO employee's laptop to steal the blueprints.

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In 2014, Dong accessed Siemens's computer networks for the objective of obtaining and using employees' usernames and passwords in order to access Siemens' network.

New York-based Moody's meanwhile uses its expertise in credit analysis and economic research to manage risk, and the German manufacturer Siemens has footholds in a number of fields from health care and energy management to financial services and transportation. "We rigorously monitor and protect our infrastructure and continually detect and hunt for breaches", the spokesperson said, but noted the company "does not comment on internal security matters".

Dong allegedly accessed Siemens' networks in 2014 and obtained employees' login credentials. Both Wu and Dong are founding members and shareholders, while Xia is just an employee.

It added that in 2015-2016 they stole newly developed hardware and software information from a new global satellite navigation system being developed by Trimble.

Along with Xia they remain in China.

The three defendants face eight counts of conspiring to commit computer fraud and abuse, conspiring to commit trade secret theft, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

APT3, also known as UPS, Gothic Panda, and TG-011, has been active since 2010 and has been tied to the theft of intellectual property from private businesses, but also to cyber-espionage with substantial political implications.

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