Mandiant Report in Chinese Hacking
The nondescript white 12-storey building in Shanghai which is used as the headquarters for a government-backed cyber-espionage group, according to a Mandiant report from 2013.Reuters

The US government has taken the unprecedented step of charging several Chinese government officials with cyber espionage, according to reports.

NBC News is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder will reveal details of the charges on Monday, marking the first time the US government will have brought cyber-espionage charges against a state actor.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that five officals who alledgedly worked with the People's Liberation Army will be charged.

According to US official who spoke to NBC, the Chinese government officials who will be named in the report "used military and intelligence facilities to commit cyber espionage against US companies."

The companies targeted are in the energy and manufacturing industries.

China has long been seen by the Obama administration as one of the most advanced cyber-threats to the US, with a key report in 2012 linking the Chinese government to a major hacking group based in Shanghai.

The group was said to have been operating under the radar for seven years, infiltrating 141 organisations across the globe, with most based in the US.

Among the targets were the New York Times and the Washington Post.

"Chinese actors are the world's most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage," said the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, a U.S. government agency, in a 2011 report.

The Chinese government has consistently denied that it was behind these attacks, and it has accused the US government of carrying out similar attacks against companies based in China.