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The US Attorney General’s office today charged ten Chinese spies with hacking American and European aerospace companies. Six hackers, two Chinese intelligence agents and two insiders were part of a conspiracy to steal information from the companies concerned.

The indictment states that the ten Chinese spies conspired between 2010 and 2015 to steal information about the engines of commercial aircraft in Europe and the United States. The target would be an unspecified French company working with various aerospace companies in the United States. The spies also focused on a British company.

Stealing intellectual property

The purpose of the spies seems pretty clear. The U.S. Attorney General’s Office states that a Chinese state-owned company was working on similar engines. The ultimate goal of the conspirators was to steal data, intellectual property and confidential business information, including information about a turbofan engine used on commercial aircraft, according to the Ministry’s statement.

To this end, the Chinese spies infiltrated a number of companies in a number of American states. They did so on the orders of the Chinese Ministry of State Security. In France, two spies were active who had started working as insiders and, thanks to a trojan, had access to the computers from a distance.

The first hack took place on 8 January 2010. The hackers used several different techniques, including installing various types of malware, falsifying domain names and hacking the companies’ websites. The hacks ended very suddenly in May 2015, when the companies found and removed the malware on their networks.

Ruthless espionage

FBI agent John Brown claims opposite the Silicon Angle site that the threat of espionage from the Chinese government is great. This hacking activity is real and ruthless, according to Brown. The fact that the ten spies have been indicted serves, in his view, as a strong message to the Chinese authorities and other foreign governments involved in hacking activities.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.