A citizen of the People's Republic of China, Su Bin, age 50, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to illegally access networks of key U.S. defense contractors, including the Boeing Company. The hacked information includes confidential military and export-controlled data that was illegally sent from the United States to China.
Su Bin, a China-based aviation and aerospace businessman otherwise known as Stephen Su or Stephen Subin, received a criminal complaint in 2014 for conspiracy to steal military data that included information on the C-17 strategic transport aircraft and other particular U.S. fighter jets.
Prior to waiving extradition and consenting to be conveyed to the U.S. in February 2016, Su was initially arrested in Canada in July 2014 on a warrant relating to said criminal complaint.
In the plea agreement filed with the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California, the accused admitted to working with two unidentified persons based in China to obtain unlawful access to U.S. computer networks with the purpose of gathering military information and sending that to China.
Su's vital functions in the conspiracy involved guiding his co-conspirators as to which persons, companies, and technologies to target for their intrusions. Once his co-conspirators had gained illegal access, Su would tell them which files to steal. Once stolen, Su would translate some of the stolen contents from English to Chinese.
As part of their criminal operation, Su and his co-conspirators would each write, revise and email reports regarding the information they acquired through hacking, including the value and final beneficiaries of such.
It is clear from Su's plea agreement that he and his co-conspirators deliberately stole certain data listed on the U.S. Munitions List, which is part of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Su admitted that he did the crime for financial gain and specifically looked to profit from selling the data acquired.
"This plea sends a strong message that stealing from the United States and our companies has a significant cost; we can and will find these criminals and bring them to justice. The National Security Division remains sharply focused on disrupting cyberthreats to the national security, and we will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of those who seek to undermine our security," says Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin.
Su Bin's plea agreement can be found here. Sentencing was set for July 13. Su faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison plus a fine.
Photo: U.S. Army Alaska | Flickr