Four members of the Chinese military are now facing charges for breaking into the computer networks of the Equifax credit reporting agency and stealing sensitive information of tens of millions of Americans, according to the Justice Department.
The DOJ is blaming the Chinese government for presiding over one of the largest consumer data hacks in history.
The 2017 hack impacted over 145 million people, in which hackers successfully stole names, addresses, Social Security, driver’s license numbers, and other personal information stored in the company’s databases. The hack sullied the company’s reputation and showcased China’s aggressive and advanced intelligence-gathering methods.
This case is just the latest in the U.S. government’s growing list of accusations against Chinese hackers suspected of hacking the networks of American corporations. Some of the affected corporations include steel manufactures, a hotel chain, and a health insurer.
“The scale of the theft was staggering,” Attorney General William Barr declared on Monday, February 10, 2020. “This theft not only caused significant financial damage to Equifax, but invaded the privacy of many millions of Americans, and imposed substantial costs and burdens on them as they have had to take measures to protect against identity theft.”
This indictment took place at a time when relationships between Washington and Beijing are shaky.
Although Trump closed the first phase of a trade deal with China, there are still members of his administration who believe China poses a major threat in terms of cybersecurity and surveillance. Huawei’s efforts to become a leader in high-speed 5G wireless networks globally worries many Trump officials.
According to U.S. policy experts, this theft is in line with China’s M.O. to collect as much information about Americans as possible. Hypothetically speaking, the personal data can be sold and then Chinese intelligence operatives can later use it to target Americans, and use the information to discover weaknesses and exploit certain flaws.
The four accused hackers are suspected to be members of the People’s Liberation Army, a branch of the Chinese military that was blamed in 2014 for a series of breaches into American corporations.
Prosecutors claims these PLA members exploited a software vulnerability in order to access Equifax’s computers and later obtain log-in credentials that would be used to navigate databases and review records. According to the indictment, they then proceeded to cover their tracks by wiping log files on a daily basis and routing traffic via dozens of servers in nearly 20 countries.
In addition to stealing personal data, the hackers escaped with some of the company’s sensitive trade secrets, which included database designs, law enforcement officials reported.
The accused hackers are currently located in China and none of them are in custody. However, U.S. officials still hope that criminal charges can serve as a deterrent to foreign hackers and a warning to other countries that American law enforcement has the ability to expose fuure cyber culprits.
Barr stated that the U.S. has for years “witnessed China’s voracious appetite for the personal data of Americans.”
“This kind of attack on American industry is of a piece with other Chinese illegal acquisitions of sensitive personal data,” Barr claimed.
The criminal charges of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit economic espionage were filed in a federal court in Atlanta.
China is demonstrating that it is the #1 threat to U.S. national security.
Instead of nation-building in the Middle East, the U.S. should be focused on building its cyber infrastructure to be prepared to face off with China’s cyber threats in the near future.
Joe Biden Nominates Liberal Activist Neera Tanden as Director of Office of Management and Budget; “Zero Chance of Being Confirmed”
Tanden is a controversial Democrat.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden announced his nomination of Center for American Progress President and controversial Democrat Neera Tanden as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Biden is yet to be certified as the rightful president-elect pending the outcome of litigation challenging the results in swing states, but this hasn’t prevented him from making personnel decisions.
Tanden, who is somewhat known as a Twitter personality, is a controversial figure in Democratic and progressive circles. She regularly used her position of influence in the Democratic establishment to attack Bernie Sanders during his 2016 and 2020 campaigns,
Tanden also became a target of ire for an incident in which she revealed the identity of an individual who was allegedly sexually harassed at the Center for American Progress.
However, it appears that Tanden’s confirmation as the Director of OMB, is doubtful. Drew Brandewie, a staffer of veteran Republican Senator John Cornyn, described the establishment liberal figure as having “zero chance of being confirmed” in a Sunday tweet.
— Drew Brandewie (@DBrandewie) November 30, 2020
Liberals went ballistic at the notion Tanden wouldn’t be approved by a Republican Senate majority after spending her career maligning the figures whose votes she would require.
In fairness to Tanden, the Senate Republicans are terrible, low-quality people.
— Jeremy Rosenberg (@JeremyR1992) November 30, 2020
Tanden was an essential figure in pioneering the ‘resistance’ branding of establishment Democrats during Trump’s first term.
Neera Tanden was the first to notice that the DC liberal establishment could rehabilitate itself after the humiliation of 2016 by appropriating the iconography and rhetoric of "Resistance" — one of the most cynical branding ploys in recent memory pic.twitter.com/NuMuK92pJI
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) November 30, 2020
Tanden appears to have deleted more than a thousand tweets on her personal Twitter account over the weekend, possibly attempting to clean any mines that could arise in potential Senate confirmation hearings.
— KC Johnson (@kcjohnson9) November 30, 2020
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