US Court Accuses Chinese of Hacking US Aerospace Companies

According to the New York Times, the United States District Court, Southern District of California indicted two Chinese intelligence officers and five hackers of commercial espionage by hacking into corporate computer systems to steal intellectual property from the aerospace industry.

The indictment, which had been under seal since June, states that the“Jiangsu Province Ministry of State Security (‘JSSD”) was a provincial foreign intelligence arm of the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security (“MSS”), headquartered in Nanjing, China. The MSS, and by extension the JSSD, was primarily responsible for domestic counter intelligence, non-military foreign intelligence, and aspects of political and domestic security. From January 2010 to May 2015, JSSD employees, along with individuals working at the direction of the JSSD, conspired to steal sensitive commercial technological, aviation, and aerospace data by hacking into computers in the United States and abroad”

At various times relevant to this indictment: Members of the conspiracy targeted, among other things, data and information related to a turbofan engine used in commercial
jetliners. At the time of the intrusions, a Chinese state-owned aerospace company was working to develop a comparable engine for use in commercial aircraft manufactured in China and elsewhere. The turbofan engine targeted by members of the conspiracy was being developed through a partnership between Company(I) and an aerospace company based in the U.S.
Members of the conspiracy hacked Company I and other companies that manufactured. parts for the turbofan engine, to steal sensitive data from these companies that could be used by Chinese entities to build the same or similar engine without incurring substantial research and development expenses.

U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said in a statement. “This action is yet another example of criminal efforts by the (Ministry of State Security) to facilitate the theft of private data for China’s commercial gain. The concerted effort to steal, rather than simply purchase, commercially available products should offend every company that invests talent, energy, and shareholder money into the development of products.”