The men are accused of stealing the personal data of more than 147 million Americans. Millions of Canadian and British customers were also affected by the cyber-attack, which has been described as one of the largest data breaches in history.
Between May and the end of July 2017, the hackers stole 145.5 million social security numbers and 209,000 payment card numbers and expiration dates as well as names and addresses and Equifax’s company secrets, according to US Law Enforcement officials.
The charges against the men include conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit economic espionage and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
In a statement, Attorney General William Barr said: “This was a deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people.
“Today, we hold PLA hackers accountable for their criminal actions, and we remind the Chinese government that we have the capability to remove the Internet’s cloak of anonymity and find the hackers that nation repeatedly deploys against us”.
The cyber-attack had a huge impact on Equifax back in 2017, with the number of people affected being nearly half of the US population and saw the company pay $700 million (£542 million) in fines for the failure to take ‘basic’ steps to secure its network.
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The company was also fined £500,000 by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office for failing to protect the personal information of up to 15 million British consumers.
One year after the attacks Equifax reportedly spent more than £1 billion in clean-up costs and to overhaul its information security programme.
As well as financial reimbursement, the company must also provide all of its US customers with six free credit reports every year for seven years.