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.
Bloodthirsty Mexican Cartel Leaves Ominous Message for Border Patrol Agents in Texas
Border Patrol agents found a message from the Los Zetas Cartel at the end of June.
At the time, the agents were patrolling the area in response “to a large drug load crossing into the U.S.”, according to a report from Breitbart News.
The city in question, Rio Grande City, Texas, is located in Starr County which is on the border with Mexico. Breitbart News noted that this area is “under the control of the Gulf Cartel, due to the small cartel-controlled community of Camargo directly across the Rio Grande.”
Breitbart Texas has covered a turf war going down between Cartel Del Noreste (CDN)/Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel over the last year. On June 9, 2020, a shooting kicked off between the two cartels near Comales, which is south of Rio Grande City and not too far away from it.
U.S. border agents were put on notice about cartel members attempting to escape into Texas at the time. Border agents discovered armored vehicles that demonstrated clear burn marks, likely the result of the use of explosives against them. Strangely, there were no bodies found near the scene.
The message that Los Zetas left behind on June 26 was intended to put border patrol on notice that this area was their new turf.
Mexico is clearly a failed state, with well-equipped cartels running around and making state security forces look foolish
U.S. needs to put emphasis on border security and restricting immigration if it wants to get a handle of this situation.
Too bad it’s focusing all of its time defending other countries’ borders.
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