World, Americas

US indicts 4 Chinese military members over Equifax hack

US attorney general says Chinese military hackers will be held accountable for 'criminal actions'

Vakkas Dogantekin   | 10.02.2020
US indicts 4 Chinese military members over Equifax hack


U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday announced indictments against four members of the Chinese military who have allegedly stole customer data from credit agency Equifax.

Equifax Inc., which holds data of around 820 million individual consumers as well as 91 million businesses, is one of the three largest consumer credit reporting agencies in the U.S., along with Experian and TransUnion.

The nine-count indictment by the U.S. Department of Justice comes after the U.S. officials accused the four members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) — Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke and Liu Le — of stealing the personal information of nearly 147 million Americans by hacking into Equifax in 2017.

"This was a deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people," Barr said.

"Today, we hold PLA hackers accountable for their criminal actions, and we remind the Chinese government that we have the capability to remove the Internet’s cloak of anonymity and find the hackers that nation repeatedly deploys against us."

China has not yet commented on the charges.

Charges against PLA come six years after the Obama administration also charged five Chinese military hackers with breaking into the systems of major American corporations to steal trade secrets.

The criminal charges were filed in federal court in Atlanta, where Equifax is based.

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