Justice Department levies charges against 2 Chinese hackers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is charging two Chinese citizens with carrying out an extensive hacking campaign to steal data from U.S. companies.

An indictment was unsealed Thursday against Zhu Hua and Zhang Shillong. Prosecutors say they were acting on behalf of China's main intelligence agency.

Court papers filed in Manhattan federal court allege the hackers were able to breach the computers of more than 45 entities in 12 states. The victims were in a variety of industries from aviation and space to pharmaceutical technology.

Prosecutors charge that the hackers were able to steal "hundreds of gigabytes" of data.

Court papers say they hacked computer service providers to gain access to the networks of businesses and governments in order to steal intellectual property and business data.