A Chinese national is now facing federal charges in the United States for using malicious software linked to a hack of government databases that saw the personal information of millions of federal workers and contractors stolen.
Yu Pingan, a 36-year-old from Shanghai who uses the alias “GoldSun,” ended up arrested last week after he flew into Los Angeles airport for a conference, officials said.
Court papers do not specifically mention the 2015 hacking of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that affected 20 million personnel records including sensitive personal data in some cases gathered from background checks.
But an investigator accused Yu of distributing the “rarely-used Sakula malware” against several U.S. companies between 2012 and 2014. That was the same software numerous Internet security blogs, citing an FBI advisory made available to private firms, linked to the subsequent OPM breach.
Then national intelligence director James Clapper called Beijing “the leading suspect” in the cyber attack.
According to the investigator’s affidavit, “seized communications show Yu was warned he could get in trouble for supplying malicious software and, in particular, that he could get in trouble with the FBI for his involvement in compromising U.S. computer networks.”