FBI arrests Chinese national linked to OPM hack malware


The FBI has arrested a Chinese national in the United States in connection with malware used in the 2015 breach of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). 

The individual, named Yu Pingan, is facing charges in connection with the Sakula malware, and was arrested while traveling in Los Angeles this week. CNN first reported the arrest. 

According to the indictment, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Columbia, Yu, who is also identified as “GoldSun,” has been arrested on one count of conspiracy computer hacking. 

The indictment says that Yu conspired with other unnamed individuals — including two individuals who have yet to be charged — to use malicious software, including Sakula, to hack into companies in the United States and other parts of the world.

The Sakula malware has been linked to the OPM breach that exposed the personal information of millions of people, though the OPM breach is not specifically mentioned in the indictment. 

“Defendant YU and co-conspirators in the [People’s Republic of China] would establish infrastructure of domain names, IP addresses, accounts with Internet service providers, and web sites to facilitate hacks of computer networks operated by companies in the United States and elsewhere,” the indictment says.

The FBI is accusing the individuals of engaging in the conspiracy between 2011 and 2014. 

A spokesman for the FBI did not return a request for comment.

The government disclosed the OPM data breach in 2015, saying that it exposed the personal information of roughly 22 million Americans, most of them federal workers. The incident put the spotlight on vulnerabilities of federal networks and systems. The breach has been linked to Chinese hackers, though Beijing’s government has denied involvement in the hack.

In late 2015, the Chinese government said it had arrested a group of hackers tied to the OPM breach.

Tags Malware Office of Personnel Management data breach OPM Security hacker

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