Five Chinese and two Malaysian nationals have been charged by the US department of Justice for hacking more than 100 tech companies across five countries, including the United States, South Korea, France, Japan and Singapore.
The five Chinese nationals were identified as fugitives from mainland China. The United States however has no standing extradition treaty with the communist state.
According to the DOJ, the Malaysians, identified as businessmen conspired with two of the Chinese nationals to hack video game companies in the US. The men allegedly collected in-game items and currencies through fraudulent means which they sold to people for real money.
The other three Chinese set their sights on software developers, computer makers and social media companies. Two others identified as Zhang Haoran and Tan Dailin hacked tech companies alongside video game developers.
The indictment did not name the affected firms but listed several multinational firms and well known game companies.
According to a report by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen,
“Several of the Chinese defendants compromised the networks of video game companies worldwide. That’s a billion-dollar industry. And defrauded them of game resources. Two of the Chinese defendants stand accused with two of the Malaysian defendants of selling those resources on the black market through their illicit website.”
The indictment also accused the men of identity theft and money laundering. The DOJ said they used their skills for offensive operations against 100 plus companies also located in Australia, Chile, and India.
The US government expressed appreciation to Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Verizon for their help in tracking down the Chinese and Malaysian hackers and fraudsters.
The DOJ however did not miss the opportunity to take a swipe at China’s Communist Government saying they sat back and allowed their nationals run riot on the rest of the world.
“The Department of Justice has used every tool available to disrupt the illegal computer intrusions and cyber-attacks by these Chinese citizens,” Mr. Rosen said.
“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.”