(AP)—Cyberattacks by Chinese and Russian intelligence services, as well
corporate hackers in those countries, have swallowed up large amounts
of high-tech American research and development data, and that stolen
information has helped build their economies, U.S. intelligence agencies
report, offering the first such detailed public accusations from U.S.
officials, said computer attacks by foreign governments are on the rise
and represent a “persistent threat to U.S. economic security.”
the implications, the report said “the governments of China and Russia
will remain aggressive and capable collectors of sensitive U.S. economic
information and technologies, particularly in cyberspace.”
years, experts and officials have complained about cyberattacks
emanating from China. But this report, released Thursday, provides some
of the sharpest and most direct criticism from the U.S. government about
senior U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity
to discuss the report before its public release, said the Chinese and
Russians are using the high-tech espionage to boost their own
the broad accusations, neither the report nor the U.S. officials
offered many details about the Chinese or Russian cyber-attacks. They
also did not say how many of the attacks are government-sponsored. While
they said attacks can be traced to the two countries, they noted that
identifying the exact culprit is difficult.
China had no immediate response to the report, which was issued well after working hours Thursday in Beijing.
China has consistently denied engaging in cyberspying and, at a
regularly scheduled news briefing Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman
Hong Lei reiterated Beijing’s insistence that it, too, has been
is a major victim of hacking,” Hong said. “China is ready to build,
together with other countries, a peaceful, secure and open cyberspace
added, “As for the remarks from certain quarters, I would point out
that hacking attacks have no boundaries and are anonymous. Speculating
on the origin of the attacks without investigation is neither
professional or responsible.”
report did note several instances in the past year or so where
cybersecurity experts have traced attacks to Internet protocol addresses
in China but were unable to determine exactly who was behind them.
the examples were the breach of Google’s networks in January 2010 and
an instance where data was stolen from a Fortune 500 manufacturing
company during business negotiations when the company was trying to buy a
said the National Science Foundation has put the value of public and
private research and development at about $400 billion in 2009, and the
U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that as much as $50
billion was lost due to espionage, cyber-attacks and other counterfeit
and trademark crimes. Officials said they could not determine how much
of the total was lost due to cyber-attacks.
report is part of an increasing drumbeat by U.S. officials about the
risks of cyberattacks in a growing high-tech society. People, businesses
and governments are storing an increasing amount of valuable and
sensitive information online or accessing data through mobile devices
that may not be as secure as some computers.
Obama administration has tried to raise the level of awareness about
these threats so individuals and the corporate world will better protect
the report, officials said foreign intelligence services have used
independent hackers as proxies, thereby giving the agencies “plausible
It also accused the Chinese of being “the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage.”
from Russia are a “distant second” to those from China, according to
the report. But it said Moscow’s intelligence services are “conducting a
range of activities to collect economic information and technology from
said other nations they would not name are also suspect, and the report
suggested that U.S. allies may be using their access to American
institutions to acquire economic and technology information.
report said some of the most desired data includes communications and
military technologies, clean energy, health care, pharmaceuticals and
information about scarce natural resources. Of particular note, the
report said, is interest in unmanned aircraft and other aerospace
officials have called for greater communication about cyberthreats
among the government, intelligence agencies and the private sector,
which owns or controls as much as 85 percent of computer networks. The
Pentagon has begun a pilot program that is working with a group of
defense contractors to help detect and block cyberattacks.
report, issued by the national intelligence director’s office of the
counterintelligence executive, comes out every two years and includes
information from 14 spy agencies, academics and other experts.
Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.
SOURCE: The Associated Press