The U.S. Department of Justice has charged four members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army with nine criminal counts, accusing them of orchestrating and carrying out the 2017 hack of credit reporting agency Equifax.

An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Atlanta and unveiled today by the DOJ alleges that Beijing residents Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke and Liu Lei committed cyber espionage against Equifax, stealing the personally identifying information of roughly 145 million Americans – close to half the U.S. population – as members of the PLA's 54th Research Institute.

According to the indictment, from mid-May through July 2017, the four defendants exploited a vulnerability in the Apache Struts Web Framework software used by Equifax’s online dispute resolution portal. A fix for this flaw was available the previous March but was not applied in time by Equifax.

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