A federal court has sentenced a Chinese businessman to prison for his conspiracy to hack several U.S. military contractors.
On Wednesday, a judge in the United States District Court of Los Angeles sentenced Su Bin, 51, to 46 months in prison. They also ordered him to pay a fine of 10,000 USD.
John P. Carlin, the assistant attorney general for national security, feels justice has been served. As quoted in The New York Times:
“Su Bin’s sentence is a just punishment for his admitted role in a conspiracy with hackers from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force to illegally access and steal sensitive U.S. military information. Su assisted the Chinese military hackers in their efforts to illegally access and steal designs for cutting-edge military aircraft that are indispensable to our national defense.”
In March 2016, the Chinese national pleaded guilty to a scheme by which he attempted to illegally access sensitive military data.
He conspired with two individuals in China to hack the protected computer systems of Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin between 2008 and 2014. The group of computer criminals made off with the plans for the Boeing C-17 military transport plane and the Boeing F-22 and Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets. They intended to sell that stolen information to Chinese companies.
The Chinese government has officially denied any involvement in the hacking, but as reported by The Guardian, some in the state-controlled media have openly lauded Su’s efforts.
An editorial in the Global Times, a newspaper which maintains close ties to the ruling Communist party, said the following back in March:
“We are willing to show our gratitude and respect for his service to our country. On the secret battlefield without gunpowder, China needs special agents to gather secrets from the US.”
As of this writing, it is unclear when Su will begin serving his sentence.
The Chinese national faced a maximum sentence of a 225,000 USD (£170,00) fine and five years in jail at the time of his arrest back in 2014.