Chinese national Yu Pingan arrested in LAX on U.S. hacking charge

The FBI has arrested a Chinese national on charges involving the malware used to hack the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in 2014 and steal personal information pertaining to millions of federal government employees and contractors.

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Yu Pingan, apprehended Monday at Los Angeles International Airport after flying in to attend a conference, was in federal court this week to face charges concerning Sakula, a sophisticated piece of malware used by the hackers who pulled off the historic OPM breach as well as the 2015 intrusion suffered by health insurance firm Anthem, among others.

He is charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking, the Justice Department confirmed Thursday.

Mr. Yu, 36, provided versions of Sakula to two unnamed co-conspirators knowing they would use the malware to target various U.S. entities between 2010 and 2015, investigators allege in charging documents unsealed after his arrest.

At least three separate intrusions “involved variants of an uncommon malicious software tool known as Sakula,” FBI Special Agent Adam James wrote in an affidavit unsealed this week.

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