The two Chinese, Li Xiaoyu, 34, and Dong Jiazhi, 33, were indicted on July 7 by a federal grand jury in the State of Washington to “be introduced fraudulently in computers around the world and have stolen terabytes of data,” according to the indictment, which remained sealed until now.
21 July 2020 20h02
COVID-19: two hackers chinese accused the United States to have targeted research
WASHINGTON — The u.s. government revealed Tuesday the indictment of two Chinese accused of having conducted, in cooperation with their government, many of the computer attacks, in particular against companies that engage in research on the COVID-19.
This announcement is part of a context of exacerbated tensions between China and the United States, whose president, Donald Trump continues to charge Beijing the scale of the pandemic of novel coronavirus.
Li Xiaoyu, 34, and Dong Jiazhi, 33, were indicted on July 7 by a federal grand jury in the State of Washington to “be introduced fraudulently in computers around the world and have stolen terabytes of data,” according to the indictment, which remained sealed until now.
These “two hackers chinese are working with the chinese ministry of State Security,” said John Demers, responsible for issues of national security within the ministry of Justice. “They pirataient in part for their own benefit, but were willing to help their State”, he added at a press conference.
Beyond attacks against businesses of a dozen western nations, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany or Belgium, they have also referred to “non-governmental organizations, religious activists and pro-democracy and Human rights in the United States, China and Hong Kong,” he continued.
According to the indictment, the two men were particularly given to the authorities of their countries the access codes to the emails of a chinese dissident, in connection with the office of the Dalai Lama and those of a militant in hong kong.
According to this document, the hackers had encountered during their studies of engineers in China and they flew together, from 2009, of industrial secrets, estimated at several hundreds of millions of dollars. They have not been arrested and are likely to be in China.
They used vulnerabilities in servers and installed malicious software without the knowledge of their victims, seizing, and data related to military satellites, solar panels or chemicals.
Recently, they “have identified vulnerabilities in the computer systems of companies in california engaged in the research of vaccines, treatments or screening tests for the novel coronavirus, said the federal prosecutor in charge of the dossier, William Hyslop.
Authorities have not said if the two men were able to steal secrets. “But we are worried that this hacking or attempted hacking to slow down the search, because in the event of intrusion, the attention is focused on finding a remedy to this breach,” said Mr. Demers.
With more than 3.8 million positive cases and more than 140 000 people dead, the United States is the country most affected in the world by the pandemic that rages for several weeks, particularly in the west and the south of the country.
Donald Trump, who hopes to win a second term in office during the presidential election of 3 November, a lot of emphasis on the rapid discovery of a vaccine to come out of this crisis in health and economic.
While the health sector is engaged at full throttle in this research, the american federal police and the agency for cyber security had warned in early may against the risk of hacking chinese.
Beijing had firmly denied engaging in this type of espionage, but in early July, the director of the FBI Christopher Wray had reiterated these accusations. “At this very moment, China is working to undermine […] the american research on the COVID-19,” he assured.
The government of Donald Trump has adopted in recent months a tone very critical of China, accused by the president with concealing the extent of the spread of the new coronavirus during its appearance in the centre of the country by the end of the year 2019.