An indictment out of Western Pennsylvania charges five military officers in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army with directing a conspiracy to steal information from Pittsburgh based organizations.
According to the indictment, the six organizations victimized include U.S. Steel, Westinghouse, Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, Alcoa, Solar World and the United Steelworkers International Union. The charges were announced Monday in Washington by US Attorney General Eric Holder and David Hickton, US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
He said some of the Pittsburgh-based organizations, such as Westinghouse, were targeted after engaging in negotiations with China for a joint venture in nuclear power technology.
The case is especially notable for Hickton because it's the first of its kind, and he hopes to bring the officers to justice here in Pittsburgh.
"The real significance of it is, the criminal indictment is now a tool to protect us from cyber thieves."
Hickton went on to say, “Open access of the internet places us at risk and this case is about protecting the intellectual property of these companies, and protecting against this type of cyber theft and espionage by using criminal indictment as a tool.”