A Chinese citizen was charged with plotting to steal data from U.S. defense contractors, including a successful hack of Boeing Co.'s computer system, amid an expanding crackdown on industrial espionage by China.
Su Bin, the owner of a Chinese aviation technology company with an office in Canada, conspired with two unidentified individuals in China to break into the computer networks of U.S. companies seeking information related to military projects, according to charges unsealed in federal court in Los Angeles. Su advised the two others in China on what data to target at the companies they had gained access to, according to the charges.
In May, the Obama administration escalated its effort to punish technology theft, charging five Chinese military officials with trade-secret theft through cyber-espionage, casting the hacker attacks as a direct economic threat.
Su was arrested in British Columbia on June 28, according to a statement from Lyse Cantin, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Department of Justice.
Su's alleged co-conspirators claimed to have stolen 65 gigabytes of data from Boeing related to the C-17 military cargo plane, according to the criminal complaint. They also allegedly sought data related to other aircraft, including Lockheed Martin's F-22 and F-35 fighter jets.
Representatives of Boeing's Defense, Space & Security group didn't immediately comment.