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Chinese man pleads guilty to stealing US aerospace secrets

Su Bin was arrested in Canada in 2014 for helping hackers in China target US companies like Boeing.

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MyLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Some two years after the United States charged Chinese national Su Bin as part of a conspiracy to steal aerospace info, he's pleaded guilty to the crime. For that he'll face a maximum sentence of five years behind bars and a $250,000 fine "or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense;" whichever is a higher amount, according to the Department of Justice. Part of his deal entailed admitting that the data pilfered (including info from the U.S. Munitions list) was done so expressly for monetary gain.

Bin played an important role in the conspiracy, directing his hacker colleagues on who to attack (be it a person, technology or company) and which individual folders to steal from a firm like Boeing's computer systems. The files within included data on the C-17 transport aircraft (above) and "certain fighter planes." He worked as a translator as well, putting the stolen information in the native language of potential Chinese buyers.

The feds cite this as an example that if you're performing cyber attacks on the US, the government won't hold back in their pursuit -- no matter where you live. In this case that means Canada, but it's an image the agencies certainly want to project as these attacks become more common, and it's issuing warrants in places like Syria. The only problem with that, however, is that Su Bin's two co-conspirators in China remain unindicted.

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