“The (People’s Republic of China’s) unwillingness to address criminal activity by contract hackers harms governments, businesses, and critical infrastructure operators through billions of dollars in lost intellectual property, proprietary information, ransom payments, and mitigation efforts,” the official said.
The White House announcement came shortly after the unsealing of a federal indictment charging three Chinese security officials with hacking a wide array of targets for the government between 2011 and 2018. The hacking operations were aimed at stealing information from aviation, defense, education, government, health care, biopharmaceutical and maritime industries, to the benefit of China’s commercial sector, according to the Justice Department.
It’s unlikely the accused Chinese hackers will ever see a U.S. courtroom. Instead, the Justice Department hopes the indictment has a deterrent effect.
“China continues to use cyber-enabled attacks to steal what other countries make, in flagrant disregard of its bilateral and multilateral commitments,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
Notably, the White House announcement did not include any sanctions but only public condemnation — a sign of the power of the world’s fastest growing economy.