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Ministry of justice against the Chinese nationals with an ‘extensive’ hacking, theft of high-tech companies, government agencies

China’s national flag is seen in front of cranes at a construction site in a commercial district in Beijing, China, 26 January 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon – RTX240F5

The Ministry of Justice has charged two Chinese nationals with an extensive hacking campaign of the AMERICAN government says that went for about 12 years and affected 45 tech companies and government agencies throughout the country.

The case, which on Thursday morning, claims that defendants Zhu Hua and Song Shilong, were members of a group known as “Advanced Persistent Threat 10” (APT 10) and acted on behalf of China’s main intelligence agency.

The industry affected cover a wide spectrum, ranging from the pharmaceutical, oil and gas and communication technology, including a number of others. “By the Technology Theft Campaign, the APT 10 Group stole hundreds of gigabytes of sensitive data with a focus on the computers of the victim companies involved in a wide range of commercial activity,” the lawsuit reads.

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“The indictment alleges that the defendants were part of a group that compromised computers in at least a dozen countries and gave China the intelligence agency access to sensitive corporate data,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in a statement obtained by Fox News. “This is outright fraud and theft, and it gives China an unfair advantage at the expense of law-abiding companies and countries that follow the international rules, in exchange for the privilege of participation in the global economic system.”

Court papers say the defendants hacked computer service providers to access the networks of companies and governments, to steal intellectual property and company data.

The suspects, who have also gone by multiple aliases, including “Godkiller” (Hua) and “Atreexp” (Shilong), worked for Huaying Haitai Science and Technology Development Company in Tianjin, China and “acted in cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of state security of the Tianjin State Security Bureau,” the suit states.

The lawsuit also claims that the members of APT10, including Zhu and Zhang, “a break-in campaign to obtain unauthoritzed access to the computers and computers networks of service providers for the business and governments around the world.” Twelve countries to its name, including Canada, France and Germany, and the united kingdom, the USA and Switzerland.

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“It is galling that American companies and government agencies years of research and countless dollars to the development of their intellectual property, while the defendants simply stolen and got it for free,” the Procurator of the s. S. Geoffrey S. Berman added in the statement. “As a nation, we cannot and will not allow such brazen theft to go unchecked.”

In addition, the defendants are supposedly “consisted of more than 40 computers to steal confidential data from the U. S. Navy, “including the personally identifiable information of more than 100,000 Navy personnel.”

The names of the companies targeted were not included in the letter, but NASA Goddard Space Center of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Department. the Energy of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory were allegedly compromised.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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