A Chinese malware broker named Yu Pingan was sentenced in the United States in 2019 for dealing in the malicious software linked to the major hacks that occurred in the USA earlier. He has now backed at his old place taking up teaching as a profession in the high school computer courses including the internet security. As per what the information had rolled out, Yu Pingan had spent 18 months (1.5 years) in a federal detention center in San Diego as he had pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to commit computer hacks. While being a high school instructor he had been arrested at Los Angeles International Airport back in August 2017 when he had arrived with a group of teachers to observe an U.S. university. One of the Reuters reporters spotted him teaching at his old school in the last month.
In February, Yu Pingan was sentenced by a federal judge to time served and has permitted him to return to China. According to the judgment, the victims of the hacking conspiracy even included Qualcomm Inc. – the microchip supplier, Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Co – aerospace and defense firm and Riot Games – a gaming company. The public court filings did not include the exact details of what information were stolen in the computer breaches.
Image Source: www.wsj.com
Qualcomm did not want to open up on this matter while the Riot Games Spokesperson said that the company has not lost any of the data in the conspiracy hacks. Similarly, Pacific Scientific did not respond to the requests for the comment on the same. According to the court records, Yu Pingan has specialized in computer network security and programming. The malware Yu Pingan has provided in the conspiracy comprised of a rare software tool named Sakula that permitted the hackers with remote control over the computers. It is still unclear on who has authored the malware or how exactly Yu Pingan has obtained it.
A couple of evilest cyber attacks have taken place in this decade could be linked to Sakula in most of the cases. Along with the intrusions that has been detailed in the case against Yu Pingan, the hacks of this decade included Anthem Inc. – health insurer, where millions of patient data were exposed and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management where the personal information of millions of current and former U.S. government employees and contractors was highly compromised. Yu Pingan, however, was not accused of involvement in both the breaches.
Image Source: www.washingtontimes.com
The prosecution of Yu Pingan was one of the series of criminal cases against the Chinese internationals that Washington has brought in the late years. This is in response to what the Americans state to be a concerted campaign by China’s military and security ministry to loot technology from the Western companies. Another case has also been found involving the Sakula malware where the U.S. had alleged that two Chinese intelligence officers and a squad of recruited hackers have repeatedly caused hacks in the computer systems of the Western companies for over five years.
In this series of hacking, many of the Chinese criminals have not been apprehended. Yu Pingan is one of them to have arrested and convicted as well in the U.S. crackdown. Apart from the jail time, Yu Pingan was ordered to pay almost $1.1 million in restoration to five companies who were the victims of the hacks. It was decided that the fine was to be paid out in installments of $100 per month bearing no interest as per the judgment. It seems that the payment schedule will take over 900 years to come to an end.
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