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Chinese man sentenced to almost four years in US prison after trying to hack military secrets

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John Moore/Getty Images

A Chinese man has been sentenced to almost four years in a US prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to hack US defense contractors. Fifty-one-year-old Su Bin pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges leveled against him in 2014, admitting that he traveled at least 10 times from China to the United States between 2008 and 2014, working with two other unnamed hackers to steal data from companies including Boeing.

Su Bin sent emails with details of military planes

Bin was given a 46-month jail term by a US District Court in Los Angeles, and was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for his actions. The Chinese government has denied any involvement in the scheme, but John Carlin, assistant attorney general for US national security, implicated military hackers in the case. "Su assisted the Chinese military hackers in their efforts to illegally access and steal designs for cutting-edge military aircraft that are indispensable to our national defense," Carlin said in a statement. "Su Bin's sentence is a just punishment for his admitted role in a conspiracy with hackers from the People's Liberation Army Air Force to illegally access and steal sensitive U.S. military information."

Among the information stolen were details of the C-17 military transport plane, as well as plans for F-22 and F-35 fighter jets. Su and the two other unnamed figures reportedly planned to sell the data on to Chinese companies for financial gain, with the 51-year-old acting as translator and point man in the operation. He told prosecutors that he sent emails — including one in 2010 with details of the C-17 aircraft — that specified which companies and people his co-conspirators should target with their cyber-attacks.