(BBC) – The US has charged four Chinese military officers over the huge cyber-attack on credit rating giant Equifax.
More than 147 million Americans were affected in 2017 when hackers stole sensitive personal data including names and addresses.
Some UK and Canadian customers were also affected.
Announcing the indictments, Attorney General William Barr called the hack “one of the largest data breaches in history”.
According to court documents, the four are allegedly members of the People’s Liberation Army’s 54th Research Institute, a component of the Chinese military.
They spent weeks in the company’s system, breaking into security networks and stealing personal data, the documents said.
The nine-count indictment also accuses the group of stealing trade secrets including data compilation and database designs.
The whereabouts of the suspects is unknown and it is highly unlikely that they will stand trial in the US.
FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich said: “We can’t take them into custody, try them in a court of law, and lock them up – not today, anyway.”