US courts have charged ten Chinese intelligence officers for a string of economic espionage campaigns against several Western aerospace companies, the Financial Times reports.
The hacking group operated between 2010 and 2015 on assignments to steal turbofan jet engine technology for appropriation by commercial Chinese companies, according to the indictment.
“This is just the beginning,” said John Demers, head of the US justice department’s national security division. “Together with our federal partners, we will redouble our efforts to safeguard America’s ingenuity and investment.”
The ten accused were a mixture of technology specialists, experienced spies, and intermediaries with Beijing. The combination of state and private sector operatives “reflects how China is conducting cyber-enabled commercial espionage,” said a former counsel for cyber investigations at the DoJ.
Technology transfer and theft of technology by Chinese entities has become increasingly central to the tensions between Washington and Beijing. Yesterday, the US approved sanctions on a southern Chinese chipmaker for attempting to steal sensitive technology from Idaho-based semiconductor firm Micron.