From The Washington Post:
In a nine-count indictment filed in federal court in Atlanta, federal prosecutors alleged that four members of the People’s Liberation Army hacked into Equifax’s systems, stealing the personal data as well as company trade secrets. In a statement announcing the case, Attorney General William P. Barr called their efforts “a deliberate and sweeping instrusion into the private information of the American people.”
The nine-count indictment alleges that Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke, and Liu Lei, were members of the PLA’s 54th Research Institute, a component of the Chinese military. They allegedly conspired with each other to hack into Equifax’s computer networks, maintain unauthorized access to those computers, and steal sensitive, personally identifiable information.
The 2017 breach gave hackers access to the personal information, including Social Security numbers and birth dates, of about 145 million people. Equifax last year agreed to a $700 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission to compensate victims. Those affected can ask for free credit monitoring or, if they already have such a service, a cash payout of up to $125, though the FTC has warned a large volume of requesters could reduce that amount.
U.S. intelligence agencies and cybersecurity experts have previously identified two components of the People’s Liberation Army that engage in hacking and espionage on behalf of China. They are known as PLA Units 61398 and 61486.