US fires back at China with charges of cyberspying, report says

The Justice Department reportedly has filed criminal charges against Chinese government officials over the alleged activities.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger


The US Justice Department is taking a serious step in its squabbling with China over cyberspying, according to a new report.

The Justice Department has filed criminal charges against several Chinese government officials, charging then with hacking into US company servers and stealing American trade secrets, NBC News is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the proceedings. The US is expected to announce the charges later on Monday.

China and the US have been waging a PR battle over cyberespionage. The US has consistently said that China is one of the worst cyberspying actors in the world, hacking into US networks and obtaining and stealing classified information and trade secrets. China, meanwhile, has likewise charged the US with hacking activities, leaving little room for doubt that the countries are, at the very least, surreptitiously targeting each other for their own gain.

According to NBC News, its sources wouldn't say which companies were targeted, but it's believed that they compete in the energy and manufacturing sectors.

It's not clear from the report how many Chinese government officials will be charged by the US Justice Department, but NBC News' source said that the individuals "used military and intelligence facilities to commit cyber espionage against US companies."

US Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to make an official announcement on the charges later on Monday.