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US prosecutors have accused seven men of participating in a sophisticated hacking scheme that targeted more than 100 companies, government agencies, and nonprofits across the globe, according to federal charges unsealed Wednesday.

It’s one of the largest hacking campaigns to be prosecuted in the US to date, and the defendants’ alleged methods laid out in the complaint reveal the prominence of so-called supply chain attacks that target software providers in order to hack their customers.

The defendants are accused of being a part of APT41, also known as Barium, a longstanding hacking group based in China that has been the subject of several other cases brought by the Department of Justice in recent years. Prosecutors say the group worked to steal intellectual property while simultaneously running ransomware attacks for profit.

Two Malaysian businessmen, Wong Ong Hua and Ling Yang Ching, were arrested in Malaysia on Monday in connection with the hacks, a rare occurrence in the prosecution of international cybercriminals.

The other five defendants — Zhang Haoran, Tan Dailin, Jiang Lizhi, Qian Chuan, and Fu Qiang — are believed to remain in China and are unlikely to be extradited, but the US filed charges nonetheless in order to publicly identify them.

“The Department of Justice has used every tool available to disrupt the illegal computer intrusions and cyberattacks by these Chinese citizens,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement. “Regrettably, the Chinese Communist Party has chosen a different path of making China safe for cybercriminals so long as they attack computers outside China and steal intellectual property helpful to China.”

Prosecutors said that between 2014 and 2020, the defendants allegedly targeted social media companies, video game companies, nonprofits, universities, think tanks, and foreign governments, as well as pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, but didn’t name the firms or agencies that …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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