Tensions between the US and China continue to worsen, and the situation with the coronavirus has aggravated them by placing China in a position of weakness and the US in one of relative strength. As this is taking place, as the Chinese are slashing tariffs on US goods and the world looks at China with disgust, the US is now charging four Chinese military members with responsibility for the Equifax hacking breach that rocked US credit markets in 2017.
Four members of the Chinese military have been charged with breaking into the networks of the Equifax credit reporting agency and stealing the personal information of tens of millions of Americans, the Justice Department said Monday, blaming Beijing for one of the largest hacks in history to target consumer data.
The 2017 breach affected more than 145 million people, with the hackers successfully stealing names, Social Security numbers and other personal information stored in the company’s databases.
The four — members of the People’s Liberation Army, an arm of the Chinese military — are also accused of stealing the company’s trade secrets, including database designs, law enforcement officials said. The accused hackers exploited a software vulnerability that enabled them to obtain login credentials and navigate the company’s network while searching for personal information. (source)
This is not to say that the Chinese were not involved in the breach. It is to say that the incident seems to be politically charged in accordance with current geopolitical conditions.
China is trying to rise up, as she does throughout history, but is being cut down by her own actions largely that other countries are exacerbating by natural circumstances.
The fact that this is tied to finance too is important, because if there is any serious financial crisis in the US- which there will be at some point -there is a strong chance that part of the blame will be placed upon the Chinese. A case such as blaming China for stealing credit card information is a natural step in preparing to do this.
If this happens, it will not be blamed on US policies that caused her economic issues, but on “the Chinese”, which since the US dollar runs the world’s currency, will further put the nations of the world against China, isolate her more than already, and possibly open the way to her collapse and invasion by foreign powers.
This is an interesting case, and it will be of importance to watch what the US does for the future as well as the financial markets and their relationship to Chinese policy and her perception in the international community.