Chinese hacker sentenced for theft of military information
Thu 14 Jul 2016
A Chinese national has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to collaborating with hackers to steal sensitive military information from the U.S. government. Su Bin, a businessman from China who worked with U.S. defense contractors, admitted to working with hackers in the Chinese military to steal confidential information from U.S. defense contractors with whom he worked. The Chinese government has denied any involvement with the scheme.
Su, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to gain unauthorized access to a protected computer and to violating the Arms Export Control Act, said that he worked with the hackers for personal financial gain. He gave hackers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force information about who to target, which files to steal, and why those particular files were important. Su and the hackers focused on information about fighter jets and transport planes from October 2008 to March 2014. Su admitted to stealing information from several defense contractor systems over that time period, including Boeing Aircraft in Orange County, CA and exporting that information illegally to China. He was arrested in Canada in 2014 and extradited to the United States.
The process involved Su emailing his co-conspirators the names and companies of targets for the hackers. Once they accessed the information, the hackers would send him file directory listings, and Su would direct them on which ones to steal. Su also translated the stolen data into Chinese and, along with the hackers, prepared reports for viewing by the eventual recipient of the data.
In the statement from the Justice Department announcing the sentencing, John Carlin, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security said, “Su Bin’s sentence is a just punishment for his admitted role in a conspiracy with hackers from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force to illegally access and steal sensitive U.S. military information.” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker added, “Protecting our national security interests, including sensitive military information, is the Justice Department’s highest priority. Over the course of years, this defendant sought to undermine the national security of the United States by seeking out information that would benefit a foreign government and providing that country with information it had never before seen.”