China has arrested the individuals it says are responsible for the mega-breach of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in June, according to The Washington Post, citing anonymous US officials.
Previously, in October, after US officials named three Chinese state-owned companies they believe benefited from cyber-theft of intellectual property, China arrested a group of hackers in connection with a 2014 cyber-espionage campaign against US companies. The hackers were arrested at the request of the US government, the Post reported at the time.
China now says the same group hackers arrested for the campaign against US companies also hacked the OPM. One of the US officials told the Post, “We don't know that if the arrests the Chinese purported to have been made are the guilty parties.”
The official noted China's history, “of people being arrested for things they didn't do” or politically-motivated, “crimes against the state.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with senior Chinese officials on Tuesday and Wednesday to work out details of cyber-coordination between the two countries. The talks are part of an ongoing dialogue on cyber-issues that grew out of a pact between the US and China to not engage in intellectual property theft.
During the talks this week, the two nations reached, “guidelines for requesting assistance on cyber-crime or other malicious cyber-activities”, the Attorney General's office said, in a statement. However, the details of that document were not clear.
Discussions between China and the US have been tenuous amidst reports that China had breached the agreement.
On Wednesday, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology named China as being responsible for a massive attack against the bureau's computer system that it says compromised sensitive national security information.
Earlier this week, China's state-owned Xinhua news agency said the OPM breach, “turned out to be a criminal case rather than a state-sponsored cyber-attack as the US side has previously suspected.”