Washington Officials have argued for years over cyber espionage, it is one of the nation’s top national security concerns because foreign hackers have stolen secrets from defense contractors as well as technology secrets that could possibly threaten U.S. prosperity.
In the toughest action taken by Washington to address cyber spying, according to Reuters, a U.S. grand jury has indicted five Chinese military officers on charges of hacking into American companies for information on nuclear plant design, solar manufacturing and other secrets. The U.S. companies involved are in nuclear energy, steel manufacturing and solar energy.
China denied the charges and said that they were “made up,” and this would damage trust between the two nations. Reuters has reported that the Chinese foreign ministry has said that it would suspend the activities of a Sino-U.S. Internet working group.
According to the L.A. Times, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said at a news conference in Washington that the hacked companies and organizations included U.S. Steel Corp., Westinghouse, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies, the United Steel Workers Union and U.S. subsidiaries of Solar World, a German company.
Officials have declined to estimate the size of the losses to the U.S. companies at issue, but said they were “significant.” Frank Asbeck, Solar World CEO said in a statement according to Reuters that, “We are happy that the American government is taking the initiative now and we support the U.S. authorities’ investigations to investigate this under criminal law.”
Monica Orbe, an Alcoa spokeswoman said that, “To our knowledge, no material information was compromised.” Reuters has also reported that U.S. Steel declined to comment on the issue.
“This is a case alleging economic espionage by members of the Chinese military…to advantage state-owned companies and other interests in China,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder reported at a recent press conference, according to the National Post.
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