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Cybersnoops: The New Face Of War

“They are stealing everything that isn’t bolted down, and it’s getting exponentially worse”. So said Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), commenting on the explosion of China-based cyber espionage directed at the West. From biotech to aerospace, hackers in China are stealing secrets left and right. Here’s the story at Bloomberg:

The hackers’ interest in companies as small as Salt Lake City-based iBahn illustrates the breadth of China’s spying against firms in the U.S. and elsewhere. The networks of at least 760 companies, research universities, Internet service providers and government agencies were hit over the last decade by the same elite group of China-based cyber spies. The companies, including firms such as Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) and Boston Scientific Corp., range from some of the largest corporations to niche innovators in sectors like aerospace, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, according to intelligence data obtained by Bloomberg News…

China has made industrial espionage an integral part of its economic policy, stealing company secrets to help it leapfrog over U.S. and other foreign competitors to further its goal of becoming the world’s largest economy, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a report released last month.

Those who can’t do, cheat. Those who want to get ahead quickly but lack the resources or manpower, steal. For China, nothing should stand in the way of its upward drive to a developed economy. And so hackers and thieves target international companies, stealing trade secrets, company data, industrial plans, and much else.

For now, China’s extensive snooping is about money. Secrets gleaned from unsuspecting computers are used to promote Chinese business and gain equal footing in the global economy. The danger would come when Chinese hackers turn their considerable talents to attack mode. Our country is run on computers — vulnerable computers.

“What has been happening over the course of the last five years is that China — let’s call it for what it is — has been hacking its way into every corporation it can find listed in Dun & Bradstreet,” said Richard Clarke, former special adviser on cybersecurity to U.S. President George W. Bush, at an October conference on network security. “Every corporation in the U.S., every corporation in Asia, every corporation in Germany. And using a vacuum cleaner to suck data out in terabytes and petabytes. I don’t think you can overstate the damage to this country that has already been done”…

Driving China’s spike in cyberspying is the reality that hacking is cheaper than product development, especially given China’s vast pool of hackers, said a fourth U.S. intelligence official. That pool includes members of its militia, who hack on commission, the official said. They target computing, high technology and pharmaceutical companies whose products take lots of time and money to develop, the official said.

Via Meadia doesn’t have a lot of secrets to protect, but we are upping our security, reviewing our backup procedures and suggesting that others do the same.

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  • Anthony

    Obviously, China has applied convergence, commitment, discipline, and purpose WRM; to counterbalance, we must exhibit converse (convergence…are…U.S.) – America has wherewithal; we must generally imbue the will.

  • Luke Lea

    We’ve joined ourselves at the hip with a corrupt society, ruled by a government which tyrannizes its own people and flaunts its agreements with the rest of the world.

    If Chimerica doesn’t work out — or China collapses from its own internal contradictions — it could plunge the entire globe into the deepest of depressions.

    Who is responsible for this dangerous state of affairs?

    Why the American academic economics establishment, of course. Led by Paul Samuelson, whose arrogance knew no bounds, and cheered on by Paul Krugman, academic economists were unanimous in their support for China’s being admitted to the WTO.

    Looks like they didn’t think it through.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    The China boogie man rears his ugly head. How many times must we hear about how China is going to knock the US off the top of the hill? The Soviet Union used to rob us blind of our technical secrets, look where it got them. Without the entrepreneurs to develop new products and services, you are left with the Government Monopoly to put the secrets to work. Do you think that the victims of these thefts are worried about competition from the Chinese Government? If Apple was worried about the theft of their technology, why are they building their iPad in China?
    The theft is bad, but this is a tempest in a teapot, as little of this stolen information is going to get to the real competition in a timely fashion.

  • Kris

    One hopes some people still know how to play the game.

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