China and the United States have been hacking each other for years. But the U.S. distinguishes between military espionage and “economic espionage”, the official U.S. position being that military espionage (which the U.S. does) is acceptable, while economic espionage (which China does along with military espionage) is not acceptable. Now the U.S. has indicted 5 Chinese military officials – members of the People’s Liberation Army elusive “Unit 61398” – with economic espionage for hacking into Westinghouse, Alcoa, U.S. Steel, SolarWorld, United Steel Workers Union, and Allegheny Technologies. (Full text of first 20 pages of indictment below.)
Cybersecurity experts have revealed that an army unit in China nicknamed “Advanced Persistent Threat 1” has been launching cyberattacks and data theft against American firms for some time. There seems to be enough evidence from the cybersecurity firm Mandiant to even pinpoint the origin of the attacks which have been linked to People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398.