Security Bytes

Nov 3 2011   1:49PM GMT

Report: ‘R&D is under attack’ from China, Russia


According to a U.S. intelligence report made available to Congress, foreign nations and other actors are using cyberespionage to take sensitive technology and trade data, and those actions pose a threat to American interests.

Reuters reported Thursday that in a report titled “Foreign Spies Stealing US Economic Secrets in Cyberspace,” the Office of the National Counterintelligence confirmed that foreign intelligence services, corporations and individuals have increased their efforts to take research and development data relating to U.S. technologies. These efforts include remote data downloads, transferring data to portable devices and via email.

The report, covering 2009-2001, was developed using data from intelligence agencies, think tanks, academia and what it called “private sector” resources. It referred to numerous sources being involved in cyberespionage against U.S. interests, but called out only Russia and China by name.

Though the report failed to link China to specific events, such as the RSA SecurID attack earlier this year, it represents a tacit acknowledgment that China’s involvement in cyberespionage represents a serious ongoing problem for U.S. companies.

“Chinese actors are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage,” the Office of the National Counterintelligence wrote in the report. “China and Russia view themselves as strategic competitors of the United States and are the most aggressive collectors of U.S. economic information and technology.”

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