The tit-for-tat battle between the United States and China continues to escalate, and now China is accusing the U.S. of fabricating facts in its cyber hacking claims. These latest accusations come after the U.S. charged two Chinese nationals with stealing trade secrets from American government agencies.
According to an unsealed indictment, the two alleged hackers were able to breach computers of more than 45 entities in a variety of industries including aviation, space and pharmaceutical technology—all on behalf of the Chinese military.
The Department of Justice claimed that the suspects were part of a group called APT 10—that hacked computers in at least a dozen countries.
“The charges include conspiracy to commit computer intrusion against dozens of companies in the United States and around the world,” U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said.
The DOJ went on to accuse the group of quote “outright cheating and theft,” and claimed that its alleged actions gave China an unfair advantage at the expense of law-abiding businesses and countries.
But China is claiming that the United States is the one that is responsible for cyberespionage. A spokesperson for the country’s ministry of foreign affairs demanded an immediate end to what she called fabricated facts.
“The US is the biggest power in the world. But it is arrogant and selfish and plays hard to suppress the legitimate development rights of other countries out of its own pursuit of hegemony and narrow mind. It even fabricated facts out of thin air,” said Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “This does not match its status as a big power. This kind of US is not good for world peace and development.”
While it does not appear that the two individuals named in the indictment have been taken into custody, the United Stats’ claim that more than a dozen countries were affected by the alleged hack could have a major impact.
The UK has joined with the U.S. and has publicly claimed that this campaign is one of the most significant and widespread cyber-intrusions against the UK and its allies that has been uncovered to date, with the intent to target trade secrets and economies around the world.
While a range of claims have been made by both sides in this conflict, it still remains to be seen whether the countries involved will actively retaliate, and if any evidence of the alleged cyber hacking claims will be made public.