US authorities uncover 14-year Chinese hacking operation: Millions of online accounts breached

The operation had allegedly been supported by the Chinese government.

Hooded computer hacker working on desktop PC computer

The Justice Department and FBI revealed a far-reaching cyber operation orchestrated by seven Chinese nationals targeting millions of Americans’ online accounts, US officials, and critical institutions. The operation, spanning 14 years, is alleged to have been supported by the Chinese government. In response, the US State Department announced a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the apprehension of the suspects.

The hackers allegedly sent over 10,000 malicious emails worldwide, impacting numerous victims across various sectors. FBI Director Christopher Wray condemned China’s persistent efforts to undermine US cybersecurity, promising relentless pursuit of those endangering national security and prosperity.

These charges come in the wake of similar accusations by the UK and New Zealand against China for cyber campaigns targeting government institutions and politicians. However, Chinese diplomats have vehemently denied these allegations, dismissing them as fabricated slander.

According to US prosecutors, the hacking resulted in compromised work accounts, personal emails, and other sensitive data. The hackers employed sophisticated tactics, including sending deceptive emails with hidden tracking links, enabling them to access victims’ devices and networks. Targets ranged from US government officials to foreign dissidents and companies across various industries, including defence contractors and telecommunications firms.

The indictment against the seven Chinese men outlines their alleged involvement in compromising the security of individuals and organizations worldwide, highlighting the global scale and severity of the cyber-espionage operation.