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Chinese military officials accused of Equifax hack

(Image credit: Image Credit: Balefire / Shutterstock)

The US government has charged four Chinese military officials for being behind the 2017 Equifax cyberattack.

The media are reporting that Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke and Liu Lei were charged by the Justice Department for the hack. The organisation is claiming these four are members of the Chinese Liberation Army and that they belong to APT10, a notorious cybercrime group responsible for some of the biggest, most famous hacks.

APT10 is being blamed for cyberattacks against HPE, IBM and NASA.

According to TechCrunch (opens in new tab), Attorney general William Barr linked the Equifax breach with those that happened to health insurance giant Anthem, the Marriott Starwood hotel and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For FBI deputy director David Bowdich, this was “the largest theft of sensitive personal identifiable information by state-sponsored hackers ever recorded.”

“Today, we hold [the Chinese military] hackers accountable for their criminal actions, and we remind the Chinese government that we have the capability to remove the internet’s cloak of anonymity and find the hackers that nation repeatedly deploys against us,” said Barr.

In September 2017, consumer credit reporting agency Equifax reported a breach (opens in new tab), months after it had identified it. Among the leaked details were names, social security numbers, birth dates and addresses of roughly 143 million users.

The company eventually settled with the Federal Trade Commission (opens in new tab), agreeing to pay $700 million.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.