The Justice Department filed criminal charges against five hackers in the Chinese military Monday, accusing them of stealing American trade secrets through cyber-espionage, according to U.S. officials familiar with the case.
The efforts were directed at six American victim companies in the nuclear power, metals and solar products industries. Among the victims were Westinghouse Electric, U.S. subsidiaries of SolarWorld AG, U.S. Steel, Allegheny Technologies and Alcoa.
"This is a case alleging economic espionage by members of the Chinese military and represent the first-ever charges against a state actor for this type of hacking," Attorney General Eric Holder said. More details of the charges are to be announced Holder in a morning news conference.
FBI Director James Comey told NBC News, "For too long, the Chinese government has blatantly sought to use cyber-espionage to obtain economic advantage for its state-owned industries."