(CNN) – It’s a milestone in the fight to stop cyber espionage.
Attorney general Eric Holder announced charges against five Chinese officials for hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets.
The hackers are believed to be officers of the People’s Liberation Army in China.
“These PLA officers maintained unauthorized access to victim’s computers to steal info from these entities that would be useful to their competitors in china, including state-owned enterprises,” Holder said.
China quickly responded, saying that China is itself a victim of U.S. cyber spying calling the accusations “purely fictitious” and “extremely absurd.”
Holder still hopes to extradite the accused hackers to face prosecution in the U.S.
The justice department is also working with police agencies in 17 countries around the world for a separate cybercrime crackdown.
More than 90 people are already in custody.
They’re accused of using Blackshades, a malicious software used by hackers.
About 700,000 people around the world have been prey to its silent computer snooping.
Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf is one of them.
A hacker hijacked her web cam last year and used it to take nude pictures of her.
“This is obviously going to change the way I use my computer for the rest of my life,” Wolf said.
One of Wolf’s classmates eventually pleaded guilty in the case and is serving an 18-month prison sentence.
Experts are sharing a few basic tips to help you from becoming victim to a hacker:
- Don’t click on anything you don’t know the source of. Hackers often send links in email and social media to allow them access to your computer.
- Update your antivirus software on a regular basis.
- Be very careful about connecting to public Wi-Fi.