Su Bin, the Chinese man who hacked into the networks of US defense contractors and retrieved sensitive information on various projects, is being lauded as a hero in China.
“We are willing to show our gratitude and respect for his service to our country,” an editorial in the Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party-run newspaper said. “On the secret battlefield without gunpowder, China needs special agents to gather secrets from the US.”
Su, a “wealthy businessman” also known as Stephen Su, pled guilty of conspiring with two other people in China who broke into U.S. computer networks at Boeing and other defense companies between October 2008 and March 2014 in US District Court in Los Angeles this week.
According to the US Attorney for the Central District of California, the group supplied China with large amounts of military information including confidential material regarding the C-17 cargo transport plane and the F-22 and F-35 fighter jets.
The case represents the first successful prosecution of a Chinese hacker for stealing defense secrets. In May of 2014, five People’s Liberation Army hackers were indicted in Pennsylvania but all five remain in China untouchable to US authorities.
Despite extolling Su’s activities, the editorial questioned whether the plea agreement he made actually represents the reality saying that the US has arrested “quite a few “spies” of which most “proved to be innocent.”
“As the ‘war of information’ between China and the US continues there will probably be more Chinese framed as spies,” the author wrote.