Chinese citizen charged with plotting to steal data from U.S. defense contractors

c-17-china

(Seattle Times) A Chinese citizen was charged with plotting to steal data from U.S. defense contractors, including a successful hack of Boeing’s computer system, amid an expanding crackdown on industrial espionage by China.

Su Bin, the owner of a Chinese aviation-technology company with an office in Canada, conspired with two unidentified individuals in China to break into the computer networks of U.S. companies to get information related to military projects, according to charges unsealed yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles.

Su advised the two others in China on what data to target, according to the charges.

Su’s alleged co-conspirators claimed to have stolen 65 gigabytes of data from Boeing related to the C-17 military cargo plane, according to the criminal complaint.

They also allegedly sought data related to other aircraft, including Lockheed Martin’s F-22 and F-35 fighter jets. . .

. . .  The two unidentified Chinese individuals are “affiliated with multiple organizations and entities in the PRC,” according to U.S. prosecutors, using the initials of the People’s Republic of China.

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 criminal complaint, citing a report one of the two individuals sent to the other.

They helped gather information about 32 U.S. military projects, many of which involved multiple defense contractors, according to the filing, citing a Feb. 27, 2012, email between the two Chinese individuals.

Su has been working with the two other individuals since the summer of 2009, according to the criminal complaint.

The Boeing C-17 data was stolen in 2010 and there’s 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 U.S., which cited emails 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 U.S. “Project A” that would allow them to “stand easily on the giant’s shoulders,” according to the complaint. . . . (read more)