What are Chinese hacker spies after?

NEW YORK (CNN) – A hack on U.S. companies and at least 6 targeted. The Department of Justice saying the attack is coming from the Chinese. What were these hackers after?

The Department of Justice is calling it economic espionage and says it’s unacceptable. Five members of China’s people’s liberation army were indicted Monday. China is denying the claims. However, it raises big question about what U.S. trade secrets may have been stolen.

A 31-count indictment lays out some of the stunning allegations. Big names like Westinghouse, U.S. Steel, Alcoa, Solar World, and others were targeted, according to the DoJ.

The Chinese allegedly stole blueprints to Westinghouse’s most high-tech nuclear power plants, found and broke into computers at U.S. Steel that control access to its buildings and spied on e-mails at Alcoa. This inside information is highly valuable and anyone has it, could use it to get a competitive advantage.

They could figure out how American companies make advanced, lightweight steel or build their own high-tech power plant. That would save time and money on research and development and it could cost U.S. jobs and profits.

However, the U.S.-Chinese relationship is also an important one. They’re one of our top trading partners. While the DoJ undoubtedly wants to get behind these hacks, it also walks a fine line, and must preserve an important business partnership.

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