***Seven International Cyber Defendants, Including Apt41 Actors, Charged In Connection With Computer Intrusion Campaigns Against More Than 100 Victims Globally***
Two Defendants Arrested in Malaysia; Remaining Five Defendants, One of Whom Allegedly Boasted of Connections to the Chinese Ministry of State Security, are Fugitives in China
In August 2019 and August 2020, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., returned two separate indictments charging five computer hackers, all of whom were residents and nationals of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), with computer intrusions affecting over 100 victim companies in the United States and abroad, including software development companies, computer hardware manufacturers, telecommunications providers, social media companies, video game companies, non-profit organizations, universities, think tanks, and foreign governments, as well as pro-democracy politicians and activists in Hong Kong.
The intrusions, which security researchers have tracked using the threat labels APT41, Barium, Winnti, Wicked Panda, and Wicked Spider, facilitated the theft of source code, software code signing certificates, customer account data, and valuable business information. These intrusions also facilitated the defendants other criminal schemes, including ransomware and crypto-jacking schemes, the latter of which refers to the groups unauthorized use of victim computers to mine cryptocurrency.
Also in August 2020, the same federal grand jury returned a third indictment charging two Malaysian businessmen who conspired with two of the Chinese hackers to profit from computer intrusions targeting the video game industry in the United States and abroad. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued arrest warrants for the two businessmen. On Sept. 14, 2020, pursuant to a provisional arrest request from the United States with a view to their extradition, Malaysian authorities arrested them in Sitiawan. The department appreciates the significant cooperation and assistance provided by the Government of Malaysia, including the Attorney Generals Chambers of Malaysia and the Royal Malaysia Police.
In addition to arrest warrants for all of the charged defendants, in September 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued seizure warrants that resulted in the recent seizure of hundreds of accounts, servers, domain names, and command-and-control (C2) dead drop web pages used by the defendants to conduct their computer intrusion offenses. The FBI executed the warrants in coordination with other actions by several private-sector companies, which included disabling numerous accounts for violations of the companies terms of service. In addition, in partnership with the department, Microsoft developed and implemented technical measures to block this threat actor from accessing victims computer systems. The actions by Microsoft were a significant part of the overall effort to deny the defendants continued access to hacking infrastructure, tools, accounts, and command and control domain names. In coordination with todays announcement, the FBI has also released a Liaison Alert System (FLASH) report that contains critical, relevant technical information collected by the FBI for use by specific private-sector partners.
The department of Justice has used every tool available to disrupt the illegal computer intrusions and cyberattacks by these Chinese citizens, said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. Regrettably, the Chinese communist party has chosen a different path of making China safe for cybercriminals so long as they attack computers outside China and steal intellectual property helpful to China.
NEW Q POSTS
SEPT. 16, 2020
START AT #283