Wednesday, March 30, 2016

After a Chinese National Pleads Guilty to Hacking, What’s Next for the U.S.-China Relationship?

Still unknown is whether Su and the hackers operated on their own or were directed by Chinese government officials. Were they motivated by profit, patriotism, or some combination of the two? Much of the correspondence makes the hackers sound like PLA freelancers. Marketing themselves, they tell Su they were involved in previous attacks on defense industries as well as Tibetan and pro-democracy activists—targets with no commercial value but of interest to the government. In some emails, the hackers assure Su that the stolen files will not only give his aviation company, Lode Technologies, a competitive edge, but also help Beijing achieve its military modernization goals. Later Su warns the hackers about the size of the payout for their services, telling them that aviation companies are stingy.

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