Four members of the People’s Liberation Army, an arm of the Chinese military have been charged with breaking into the networks of the Equifax credit reporting agency and stealing the personal information of tens of millions of Americans, the Justice Department said Monday. They are also accused of stealing the company’s trade secrets, including database designs, law enforcement officials said.
Blaming Beijing for one of the largest hacks in history to target consumer data. The 2017 breach affected more than 145 million people, with the hackers successfully stealing names, addresses, Social Security and driver’s license numbers and other personal information stored in the company’s databases.
Equifax is headquartered in Atlanta and maintains a massive repository of consumer information that it sells to businesses looking to verify identities or assess creditworthiness.
The case is the latest Justice Department accusation against Chinese hackers suspected of breaching networks of American corporations. It comes as the Trump administration has warned against what it sees as the growing political and economic influence of China, and efforts by Beijing to collect data on Americans and steal scientific research and innovation.
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