China has arrested the individuals it says are responsible for the mega-breach of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in June, according to The Washington Post, citing anonymous U.S. officials.
Previously, in October, after U.S. officials named three Chinese state-owned companies they believe benefited from cybertheft of intellectual property, China arrested a group of hackers in connection with a 2014 cyberespionage campaign against U.S. companies. The hackers were arrested at the request of the U.S. government, the Post reported at the time.
China now says the same group of hackers arrested for the campaign against U.S. companies also hacked the OPM. One of the U.S. officials told the Post, “We don't know that if the arrests the Chinese purported to have made are the guilty parties.”
The official noted China's history “of people being arrested for things they didn't do” or politically-motivated “crimes against the state.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with senior Chinese officials on Tuesday and Wednesday to work out details of cyber coordination between the two countries. The talks are part of an ongoing dialogue on cyber issues that grew out of a pact between the U.S. and China to not engage in intellectual property theft.
During the talks this week, the two nations reached “guidelines for requesting assistance on cybercrime or other malicious cyber activities”, the Attorney General's office said, in a statement. However, the details of that document were not clear.
Discussions between China and the U.S. have been tenuous amidst reports that China had breached the agreement.
On Wednesday, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology fingered China as being responsible for a massive attack against the bureau's computer system that it says compromised sensitive national security information.
Earlier this week, China's state-owned Xinhua news agency said the OPM breach “turned out to be a criminal case rather than a state-sponsored cyberattack as the U.S. side has previously suspected.”