Three Iranian Nationals Charged With Engaging In Computer Intrusions And Ransomware-Style Extortion Against U.S. Critical Infrastructure Providers
NEWARK, N.J. – A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man has been charged with stealing computer files containing trade secrets from a DuPont manufacturing facility in Parlin, New Jersey, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced today.
Anchi Hou, 61, East Brunswick, New Jersey, was arrested this morning and charged by complaint with one count of theft of trade secrets. Hou is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In the summer and fall 2016, Hou allegedly copied and removed thousands of files containing DuPont’s proprietary information, including formulas, data, and customer information related to flexographic printing plate technology. He also allegedly took photographs in restricted areas of plant equipment and layouts used to manufacture DuPont’s products.
After allegedly stealing DuPont’s trade secrets, Hou announced his intention to retire from the company by the end of 2016. At some point in 2016, he formed a consulting business intended to provide consulting services to the manufacturing industry. Hou admitted to DuPont officials he secretly copied the files from his DuPont work computer and then uploaded those files onto a personal computer at his residence in order to assist him with his consulting business.
A forensic review of Hou’s personal computer revealed that it contained more than 20,000 stolen DuPont files related to the company’s flexographic printing plate technology. Some of the stolen files include information that DuPont considers trade secrets developed by its employees over the course of the past 40 years and which are critical to its technical, economic, and business operations.
The theft of trade secrets charge carries a maximum potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation leading to the arrest. He also thanked security officials in the DuPont corporation for their cooperation in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James M. Donnelly of the U.S. Attorney’s Office National Security Unit and L. Judson Welle, coordinator of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Unit, in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.