U.S. Charges Chinese Government Officials With Cyber Espionage

TIME

Updated 11:47 a.m. E.T.

The United States charged five Chinese government officials with allegedly orchestrating cyber attacks against six major American companies, officials said Monday. It marks the first time the U.S. has formally charged foreign government officials for explicitly acting at the behest of a foreign government in cyber crimes

“The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands and aggressive response,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in announcing the charges, which were brought by a federal grand jury in Pennsylvania.

Holder said the companies targeted were Alcoa World Alumina, Westinghouse Electric Co., Allegheny Technologies, U.S. Steel Corp., United Steelworkers Union, and SolarWorld.

“In some cases, they stole trade secrets that would have been particularly beneficial to Chinese companies at the time they were stolen,” Holder said. “In others, they stole sensitive, internal communications that would provide a competitor, or…

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