DOJ Announces Wire Fraud, Computer Intrusion Conspiracy Charges

DOJ Announces Wire Fraud, Computer Intrusion Conspiracy Charges

( – As technology grows, so does the vulnerability of falling susceptible to a malicious attack. Millions of people fall victim to bad actors online each year. Hackers don’t just target individuals; they target businesses and federal agencies, too. Authorities seek these hackers to hold them accountable for the alleged crimes they commit. The Justice Department regularly charges and prosecutes international hackers. Recently, it announced the indictment of seven Chinese nationals over their activities spanning back the last 14 years.

On Monday, March 25, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Public Affairs Office released a statement naming seven individuals associated with a larger hacking group. Prosecutors have charged all of them with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit computer intrusions for activities dating back to 2010. According to the DOJ, the hackers targeted “US and foreign critics, businesses, and political officials in furtherance of the [People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s)] economic espionage and foreign intelligence objective.”

Prosecutors named Weng Min, Ni Gaobin, Cheng Feng, Sun Xiaohui, Peng Yaowen, Zhao Guangzong, and Xiong Wang in connection with the Advanced Persistent Threat Group (APT31), a China-based hacking organization. Authorities are accusing the hackers of exploiting and testing malware, compromising the infrastructure they managed, and sending emails to dissidents of the PRC. Targets included the White House, US politicians, and federal agencies.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said they sent out more than “10,000 malicious emails” affecting “thousands of victims across multiple continents.” FBI Director Christopher Wray made it clear that if “China continues to target the US and [its] partners,” the bureau will continue its actions to ensure that they “tirelessly pursue” those who do them harm.

The United Kingdom has also moved to hold hackers from APT31 accountable, pinpointing at least two cyber campaigns that targeted parliamentarians and democratic institutions in the country.

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