145 million Americans’ data stolen, DoJ charges China’s military members

145 million Americans' data stolen, DoJ accused China's military members
The Consumer reporting agency company suffered a severe hack in 2017. Source: European Pressphoto Agency
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Daily US Times, Washington: The US Department of Justice brings charges against four of China’s military members for hacking credit reporting agency Equifax. The hacking took place in 2017 which lead to the stealing trade secrets and the personal data of about 145 million Americans.

Attorney General William P. Barr confirmed the news in a statement which describes the hacking a ”deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people.”

The hacking of Equifax is far more severe than other breaches as the hackers stole names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of millions of Americans, which can be used to access information like bank accounts and medical histories.

“This data has economic value”, Mr. Barr said while announcing the charges at the Justice Department, on Monday, ”and these thefts can feed China’s development of artificial intelligence tools.”

The four of China’s military members are accused of nine-count indictment including hacking into the company’s computer networks, maintaining unauthorized access to them and stealing sensitive, personally identifiable information about Americans.

Last Friday, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray pointed the Chinese effort of ”an expansive approach to stealing innovation.”

He said China is racing to obtain information about sectors as diverse as agriculture and medicine to advance its economy, using a mix of legal means like company acquisitions and illicit acts like spying and cyberattacks.

What Happened in 2017?

The Consumer reporting agency company said hackers accessed the information between mid-May and the end of July 2017 when the company discovered the breach.

The company holds data on more than 820 million consumers as well as information on 91 million businesses.

Mr. Barr warned China that they have the capability to remove the internet’s cloak of anonymity and find the hackers that the nation repeatedly deploys against the US.

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