"The victims included companies in banking and finance, telecommunications and computer-consumer electronics, medical equipment, packaging, manufacturing, consulting, health care biotechnology, automotive, oil and gas exploration and mining", said Rosenstein. "CSE also assesses that it is nearly certain that actors likely associated with the People's Republic of China (PRC) Ministry of State Security (MSS) are responsible for the compromise of several Managed Service Providers (MSP), beginning as early as 2016", it said.
In addition, the defendants are alleged to have "comprised more than 40 computers in order to steal confidential data from the U.S. Navy, "including the personally identifiable information of more than 100,000 Navy personnel".
In Canada, the RCMP had no immediate comment on the US charges.
US and British authorities on Thursday also condemned China for violating 2015 agreements to curb cyber espionage for business purposes, slamming Chinese efforts to steal other countries' trade secrets and technologies and to compromise government computers. "It is unacceptable that we continue to uncover cybercrime committed by China against other nations".
"China's goal, simply put, is to replace the U.S.as the world's leading superpower and they're using illegal methods to get there", FBI Director Chris Wray said at a news conference.
Two Chinese nationals were charged in the U.S. in relation to a campaign across Europe, Asia and the USA that breached Chinese bilateral and worldwide commitments, American prosecutors said. "We want China to cease illegal cyber activities and honor its commitments, but the evidence suggests they will not". More than 90 per cent of Justice Department economic espionage cases over the last seven years involve China, said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and more than two-thirds of trade secrets cases are connected to the country.
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And, according to reports, U.S. officials believe Chinese government-linked hackers were behind the theft of data on some 500 million guests of hotel giant Marriott, first reported on November 30. "While we welcome fair competition, we can not and will not tolerate illegal hacking, stealing or cheating".
The Department of Justice is going after Chinese intelligence officers who have been attempting to steal U.S. technology for years, according to a newly unsealed indictment.
It is accused of mounting a "malicious" and "sustained" campaign targeting a range of global companies.
He credited the Justice Department with targeting a group that he said was China's "most prolific hacker crew".
This campaign is one of the most significant and widespread cyber intrusions against the United Kingdom and its allies uncovered to date, targeting trade secrets and economies around the world.
As the US was announcing its charges Thursday, the British government accused China of conducting a "widespread and significant" campaign of cyberespionage against the United Kingdom and its allies.
Canada's Communications Security Establishment issued a statement supporting the USA allegations a few hours after the American announcement. He claims more than 45 companies were targeted in the U.S.in a number of sectors, and said the men stole sensitive information and intellectual property.