7 Chinese Govt Cyberpunks Accused for 14-year Hack Campaign

An indictment was unsealed, charging seven nationals of the US Department of Justice(DOJ) with wireless fraud conspiracies and computer hacking.

In accusation and court filings, the defendants are identified by the PRC Ministry of State Security (MSS) and known within the cybersecurity community as Advanced Persistent Threat 31 (the APT31 Group).

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco has accused that “Over 10,000 malicious emails were deployed, impacting numerous victims across continents, with the alleged goal of suppressing critics of the Chinese regime, infiltrating government bodies, and pilfering trade secrets. Similarly, a widespread global hacking campaign, purportedly supported by the Chinese government, of targeting journalists, political figures, and businesses.”

Intricate insight into a 14-year-long effort by APT31 targeting strategy

  • US and Dissenters of China: Opposition politicians, journalists, and Government Administrators.
  • US Organizations: Defense Contractors, technology, telecommunications, and other Core industries.
  • US political electioneering: Employees and officials from both prime parties.

It's claimed that the hackers employed advanced tactics such as zero-day exploits to infiltrate email accounts, embezzle intellectual property, and potentially influence the US elections.

Illustration of Alleged Activity:

  • Attempting to breach the email accounts of Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) members, a group vocal about concerns regarding the Chinese government.
  • Trying to infiltrate the systems of US defense contractors and a major 5G network equipment supplier.
  • Spying on Hong Kong pro-democracy activists.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division emphasized the importance of staying alert to cybersecurity risks and foreign attempts to influence events, particularly with the upcoming 2024 election cycle. He affirmed the DOJ's commitment to utilizing every available means to thwart cyber threats that endanger national security and suppress basic freedoms globally.  

Impeachment Outlines Targeted  Roles

  • Malware development and manipulation.
  • Infrastructure management for data breaches.
  • Surveillance and violation operations against US entities.

The defendants are accused of devising to engage in computer intrusions and wire fraud. In the court of justice, they were presumed to be innocent before being found guilty. The DOJ is proceeding the case with assistance from the National Security Division.