The U.S. Justice Department plans to announce charges against Chinese military officials, making it the first ever legal action against a foreign government over cyber espionage.
The charges allegedly include hacking American companies and theft of trade secrets
Federal law enforcement officials and Attorney General Eric Holder are expected to announce the indictments late Monday morning. Officials, who at the time of the crimes worked for the Chinese government, will be indicted.
Officials say China's army and China-based hackers have hacked American industrial and military targets, in order to steal secrets or intellectual property.
According to the Wall Street Journal the individuals charged work for Unit 61398 of the People's Liberation Army in Shanghai, and stole proprietary information from nuclear power plant designs to solar panel cost and pricing.
"Our nation's reliance on cyberspace outpaces our cybersecurity," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in last March. "Our nation confronts the proliferation of destructive malware and a new reality of steady, ongoing and aggressive efforts to probe, access or disrupt public and private networks, and the industrial control systems that manage our water, and our energy and our food supplies."