Last week, the government issued an 11-count indictment for two people accused of industrial espionage and trying to steal data on corona virus research for China. LI Xiaoyu, 34, and Dong Jiazhi, 33, are accused of targeting high-tech, medical, pharma, engineering, business and other sectors in the US, Australia, and several other countries, with the backing of the Chinese government.
The two are charged with conspiring to steal IP from eight companies in the form of technology designs, manufacturing processes, test mechanisms and results, source code and pharmaceutical chemical structures.
“The Chinese government has long relied on contractors to conduct cyber-intrusions. Using these freelancers allows the government to access a wider array of talent, while also providing some deniability in conducting these operations”, said Ben Reid, Mandiant’s senior manager of analysis.
The week before, the State Dept. ordered China to close its consulate in Houston because the consulate was being used to steal secrets and medical research, specifically as it relates to vaccine research for the corona virus which originated in the Wuhan province of China last year and unleashed a worldwide pandemic.
Many Chinese advances of the last few decades have been the result of technology stolen from Western governments. US Administrations have, for years, tried to battle Chinese theft but been mostly unsuccessful. Indeed, many of the issues that caused snags in reaching a trade agreement with China were related to intellectual property crimes.
For years, Chinese theft was widely known but little was done. Now, it seems that the US is finally taking more firm action. Action that is long overdue.