US officials sceptical that arrests signal Chinese crackdown on cyber-crime
US officials sceptical that arrests signal Chinese crackdown on cyber-crime

The Chinese government arrested a group of hackers within its borders at the request of the US government, anonymous US officials told the Washington Post.

The hackers were arrested in September, before Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Washington for a state visit and talks with President Obama. The arrests mark the first time China has complied with US requests for the arrest of hackers within China's borders.

During President Xi's visit to Washington in September, the US and China announced a cyber treaty in which the two nations agreed not to engage in corporate cyber-espionage  and cyber-theft of intellectual property. Industry leaders have expressed skepticism that China would adhere to the agreement, indicating the agreement would lead to little change.

“There's a difference between an agreement on paper and having the Chinese government, including the People's Liberation Army, actually stop conducting and supporting cyber-attacks on US companies,” said Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in a statement at the time.

Yesterday, US authorities named three state-owned Chinese companies believed to have benefited from intellectual property stolen from US companies.

Few details are available about the hackers. It is unclear whether they are linked to the five Chinese military officers indicted by the US Department of Justice in 2014 and charged with economic espionage.