What happened: Hackers working on behalf of China’s Ministry of State Security allegedly breached the networks of American government agencies and businesses, according to a US federal indictment of two Chinese nationals. The campaign, known as Cloudhopper, reportedly compromised the networks of IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and other prominent tech companies. Cloudhopper used the access to networks of large companies as a “launchpad” for hacking into their clients’ computers, stealing confidential corporate information. According to the indictment document, Cloudhopper attacks date back to at least 2014.
Why it’s important: After the details of the indictment surfaced, the US and its allies, namely the UK, Australia and New Zealand, denounced China for economic espionage. A British security official calls Cloudhopper “one of the most serious, strategically significant, persistent and potentially damaging” cyber-attacks the country has ever seen. The indictment comes amid rising tensions between the US and China. Earlier this month, Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, was arrested in Canada for allegedly bypassing US sanctions against Iran less than a week after China and the US decided on a temporary ceasefire in the trade dispute.