FBI Points Finger At Chinese Military For 2010 FDIC Hack And Ongoing Breaches

The FBI is currently investigating a series of cyberattacks on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), that they believe the Chinese military to be responsible for. The attacks on high-level employees' computers started in 2010 and resurfaced again in 2011 and 2013. Victims included former FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair.

The FDIC is one of three institutions responsible for regulating commercial banks in the United States. They manage confidential plans regarding how big banks would deal with bankruptcy. They also have access to the information of millions of individual American deposits.


The FDIC allowed congressional staff last month to look at communications between high-level FDIC officials regarding the hack. The FDIC officials had accused Chinese military-sponsored hackers for the series of attacks. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying remarked, "If you have no definitive proof, then it is very hard for you to judge where the attacks really come from." An official FBI probe has been opened regarding the case.

The House Science Committee is particularly frustrated with the FDIC and believe that they lack transparency. Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Committee member Barry Loudermilk stated in a letter, “Given the ever-increasing number of breaches that offered at the FDIC [that] have not been formally reported to the Committee, the Committee is concerned that the FDIC is taking advantage of the Committee’s goodwill.” Congress has accused the FDIC of covering up the breach in order to protect Chairman Martin Gruenberg, who was nominated in 2011. An FDIC inspector claims that there is no evidence to support this accusation.

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This is not the first time China has been charged with hacking federal institutions. Chinese military-sponsored hackers have been blamed for the theft of background check records from the Office of Personnel Management. The Obama administration has grappled with developing a strategy for tackling cyber attacks. In 2015, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping did, however, agree to stop economic cyber espionage. It is uncertain whether the results from the FBI probe will be left to the upcoming Trump administration.
Tags:  security, China, FBI, Hack, fdic