A Chinese businessman was charged on Friday for hacking into Boeing’s computers and stealing information about military aircraft computer systems, including its C-17 cargo transport aircraft. Data about Lockheed Martin’s F-22 and F-35 fifth generation fighter jets was also stolen.
Su Bin, who was based in Canada, stole the data over a number of years, and worked with two unidentified contracts in China to sell the information.
Bin was the owner of a Chinese aviation firm called Lode Tech, and was arrested at its Candian offices on June 28, the FBI said.
He is expected to appear in court later this month. The Justice Department is seeking his extradition to the United States, where he will be charged with unauthorised computer access.
The FBI said that Boeing’s computer systems were first hacked in January 2010, and over the next two years, over 65 gigabytes of data was stolen. The majority of the data related to Boeing’s C-17 cargo plane, of which China is developing a similar aircraft.
Three other men also managed to acquire a smaller amount of data related to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and F-22 fighter jets.
Marc Raimondi, a Justice Department spokesperson, said: "We remain deeply concerned about cyber-enabled theft of sensitive information and we have repeatedly made it clear that the United States will continue using all the tools our government possesses to strengthen cybersecurity and confront cybercrime."
In May, US authorities indicted five Chinese military officers with cyber espionage charges for allegedly targeting American companies and stealing information for commercial advantage.
In the country’s first ever hacking case brought against individuals working for the government, it is said that the hackers targeted nuclear power plants, metals and solar products industries to steal information for Chinese competitors.
US attorney general John Carlin said: "We allege that members of unit 61398 conspired to hack into computers of six US victims to steal information that would provide an economic advantage to the victims’ competitors, including Chinese state-owned enterprises."
The indictment referenced Chinese Army officers Gu Chunhui, Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, and Huang Zhenyu, The five men are members of a military arm called Unit 61398.