China and Russia Lead in Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets

Sunday, November 20, 2011
When it comes to fighting off cyber espionage against American corporations, it is China and Russia that the U.S. has to worry about the most.
A report from the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive says Chinese hackers “are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage,” with “an onslaught of computer network intrusions” originating in China.
Among the examples cited by the report are David Yen Lee, who was sentenced to 15 months in prison for downloading 160 secret formulas for paints and coatings; Meng Hong, sentenced to 14 months in prison for downloading from DuPont information about organic light-emitting diodes (OLED); and Yu Xiang Dong, sentenced to 5 years 10 months in prison for copying about 4,000 Ford Motor documents. In each of these cases, the Chinese perpetrators hoped to use the stolen information to help them with news jobs back in China.
Chinese spies have also zeroed in on government information. According to a report by the Department of Homeland Security, Chinese cyber attacks on U.S. government computers increased from 5,503 incidents in 2006 to 41,776 in 2010.
Right behind China is Russia’s intelligence services, which are constantly snooping around for “economic information and technology from U.S. targets.”
In some cases, threats have come from American allies and partners who have taken advantage of “their broad access to U.S. institutions” to gather sensitive economic and
technology information, primarily through old-fashioned human spying.
“Foreign economic collection and industrial espionage against the United States represent significant and growing threats to the nation’s prosperity and security,” reads the government report. “Cyberspace—where most business activity and development of new ideas now takes place—amplifies these threats by making it possible for malicious actors, whether they are corrupted insiders or foreign intelligence services (FIS), to quickly steal and transfer massive quantities of data while remaining anonymous and hard to detect.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Foreign Spies Stealing US Economic Secrets in Cyberspace (Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive) (pdf)
China Leads U.S. in Cyber Spying (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Chinese Cyber-Spies Infiltrate Computers in 103 Countries (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 


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