US authorities have charged a Chinese citizen for alleged cyber strikes on defence contractors Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
The strikes allegedly saw Su, alongside two uncharged Chinese co-conspirators, steal, translate and sell information on the US Lockheed F-22 and F-35 fighter jets and Boeing’s C-17 military transport plane.
The three allegedly stole gigabytes of data on 32 US projects, 220MB of which is believed to relate to the F-22, and 65GB worth of data relating to the C-17 cargo plane.
Su reportedly attempted to sell the information to state-owned Chinese companies. The court document alleged the data would allow Chinese plane technology “to rapidly catch up with US levels”.
Su is believed to have mounted attacks on a wave of unnamed US and European defence contractors from 2009 and 2013. It is currently unclear if Su and his group’s alleged activities were state sponsored. Su is due to appear in court in Vancouver by the end of July.
The US and Chinese governments have been engaged in a heated series of allegations regarding each other’s cyber activities for many years. The accusations spiked in 2013 when security firm Mandiant reported linking attacks targeting US businesses to a Chinese military unit.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that Chinese hackers stole a number of US government workers’ personal information back in March.
The Chinese government has consistently denied the claims and launched its own wave of allegations. The Chinese Computer Emergency Response Team (CNCERT) reported linking 30 percent of cyber attacks on its networks in 2013 to US sources in March.
Combating state threats has been a central part of the UK’s Cyber Security Strategy. Prime minister David Cameron announced a fresh £800m investment to improve the nation’s cyber intelligence, reconnaissance and defence capabilities on Monday.