Chinese businessman charged with hacking US military contractors' computers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 July, 2014, 6:32am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 July, 2014, 7:16am

US authorities have charged a Chinese businessman with hacking into the computer systems of US companies with large military contracts, including Boeing, to steal data on projects including some of the latest fighter jets.

Suspect Su Bin worked with two unnamed Chinese hackers to get the data between 2009 and 2013, and Su attempted to sell some of the information to state-owned Chinese companies, prosecutors said on Friday.

The three hackers targeted fighter jets such as the F-22 and the F-35 as well as Boeing's C-17 military cargo aircraft programme, according to a criminal complaint filed in a US court that was unsealed on Thursday. A lawyer for Su could not be reached for comment.

Su was arrested in Canada on June 28 and remains in custody there, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation said. He has a bail hearing set for July 18.

Su owns an aviation-technology company called Lode-Tech and is in contact with Chinese military and commercial aerospace entities. The two unidentified Chinese individuals are "affiliated with multiple organisations and entities in the PRC", according to US prosecutors.

They are involved with an "entity" that has set up technology bases and does surveillance work and intelligence collection outside China to "avoid diplomatic and legal complications", according to the complaint, citing a report one of the two individuals sent to the other.

They helped gather information about 32 US military projects, many of which involved multiple contractors, according to the filing. Su has been working with the two other individuals since the summer of 2009, according to the complaint.

The Boeing C-17 data was stolen in 2010 and there is no evidence it includes classified information, prosecutors said.

Su and one of his co-conspirators in China were also looking to sell the C-17 information and other technology they stole for "big money" to Chinese aircraft corporations, according to the US, which cited e-mails between the two.

They also obtained information about an F-22 component and a flight test plan for the F-35, according to the criminal complaint. An additional report Su sent to the two people in China in 2011 pertained to an unidentified US "Project A" that would allow them to "stand easily on the giant's shoulders", it said.

The C-17 Globemaster is a four-engine military transport that has "delivered cargo in every worldwide operation since the 1990s", according to Boeing's website. China's Y-20 shares some of the same attributes, with four engines mounted on wings placed high on the fuselage.

Boeing said in a statement that the company was cooperating with investigators.

Accusations of hacking by China and counterclaims of such activity by the US government have strained US-Chinese relations. Chinese hacking was a major theme of US-China discussions last week in Beijing, though both sides publicly steered clear of the controversy.

Associated Press, Bloomberg


Russian held on Guam on hacking charges could die without medicine, family says

Relatives of a Russian man charged with hacking in the United States insist he is innocent and fear he will die in custody if he does not have his medication.

Roman Seleznev, son of a prominent Russian lawmaker, was arrested on bank fraud and other charges last week. US authorities allege he hacked into computers at hundreds of businesses.

Seleznev's father, Valery, told a televised news conference Friday that his son, who was left brain-damaged after a 2011 bombing in Marrakesh, Morocco, would die without his medicine.

The son appeared in court last Monday on the Pacific island of Guam and was ordered detained until a hearing on July 22. He was arrested by the US Secret Service, according to documents in federal court in Seattle.

"There are no medical services there at all, treatment is not available," Valery Seleznev said. "He will die."

Don Hall, a US Marshals Service spokesman in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, said Guam authorities had staff to handle medical issues.

Seleznev is accused of a scheme to hack into retailers' computers, install malicious software and steal credit-card numbers from 2009 to 2011.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused Washington of kidnapping Seleznev.

Seleznev's girlfriend, Anna Otisko, said he was grabbed in the Maldives and put on a plane.

Associated Press