Eco­nomic es­pi­onage

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security -

For­eign spies are tar­get­ing U.S. Black­Ber­rys and iPhones in a bid to steal eco­nomic and trade se­crets, as the use of com­put­ers for eco­nomic es­pi­onage is grow­ing, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est an­nual re­port from the Of­fice of the Na­tional Coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence Ex­ec­u­tive.

“Cy­ber threats are in­creas­ingly per­va­sive and are rapidly be­com­ing a pri­or­ity means of ob­tain­ing eco­nomic and tech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion,” the re­port to Congress stated. “Re­ports of new cy­ber at­tacks against U.S. gov­ern­ment and busi­ness en­ti­ties pro­lif­er­ated in fis­cal year 2008. Sev­eral ad­ver­saries ex­panded their com­puter net­work op­er­a­tions, and the use of new venues for in­tru­sions in­creased.”

The re­port, re­cently made pub­lic, cov­ers most of 2008 and stated that tar­get­ing of mo­bile tele­phones in­creased last year. “Black­berry[s] and iPhone[s] — es­sen­tially gen­eral pur­pose com­put­ers — are sus­cep­ti­ble to ma­li­cious soft­ware,” the re­port stated.

Joel F. Bren­ner, un­til re­cently the na­tional coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence ex­ec­u­tive, has said that in one case a vis­it­ing U.S. se­cu­rity spe­cial­ist had his hand-held pen­e­trated by elec­tronic code as he rode from Bei­jing’s in­ter­na­tional air­port to his ho­tel.

Chi­nese eco­nomic es­pi­onage was men­tioned fre­quently in the re­port, with one of the most dam­ag­ing cases in­volv­ing a re­searcher at the Uni­ver­sity of Ten­nessee who sup­plied China with Air Force tech­nol­ogy on the de­vel­op­ment of ad­vanced non­me­chan­i­cal con­trollers used on mu­ni­tions-car­ry­ing un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles. A fed­eral jury in Knoxville con­victed pro­fes­sor J. Reece Roth of the crime in Septem­ber 2008.

Eco­nomic spies are seek­ing both classified and un­clas­si­fied tech­nol­ogy and se­crets from the U.S. gov­ern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor, the re­port stated, in­clud­ing such tar­gets as dual-use, ex­port­con­trolled and mil­i­tary items.

The most heav­ily tar­geted sec­tors across all agen­cies in­cluded aero­nau­tics, in­for­ma­tion sys­tems, lasers and op­tics, sen­sors and marine sys­tems.

“Cy­ber threats are in­creas­ingly per­va­sive, and sev­eral key ad­ver­saries have dras­ti­cally ex­panded their com­puter net­work op­er­a­tions for in­tel­li­gence col­lec­tion and mil­i­tary use,” the re­port said. “More­over, the tech­niques used and the grow­ing com­puter glob­al­iza­tion made it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to de­tect and pre­vent in­tru­sions.”

Also: “Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion com­piled dur­ing the re­port­ing pe­riod, busi­ness­men, sci­en­tists, en­gi­neers, and aca­demics, as well as state se­cu­rity ser­vices from a large num­ber of coun­tries, con­tin­ued to tar­get U.S. in­for­ma­tion and tech­nol­ogy. The bulk of the col­lec­tion ac­tiv­ity, how­ever, came from a core group of coun­tries.”

Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties in the last year un­cov­ered seven cases of Chi­nese-ori­gin eco­nomic spy­ing, in­volv­ing il­le­gal ef­forts to ob­tain tech­nol­ogy on space launch­ers, un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles, mili- tary air­craft, ther­mal imag­ing, mis­sile tar­get­ing and mil­i­tary source codes.

Chi­nese Em­bassy spokes­woman Wei Xin has de­nied re­ports that China is en­gaged cy­ber ac­tiv­i­ties or es­pi­onage. “Any­one mak­ing rel­e­vant ac­cu­sa­tions against China is wel­come to sub­mit their re­li­able ev­i­dence, and China is ready to pro­vide in­ves­tiga­tive co­op­er­a­tion so as to counter the com­mon threat faced by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” she said.

In re­sponse to spy­ing re­ports, Miss Wei said: “China has solemnly stated on many oc­ca­sions that China never does any­thing un­der­min­ing the in­ter­est of oth­ers and China ad­vo­cates co­op­er­a­tion be­tween coun­tries on the ba­sis of fair­ness, jus­tice, equal­ity and mu­tual ben­e­fit.”

Ira­nian agents were in­volved in nine cases of eco­nomic es­pi­onage, in­clud­ing ef­forts to steal en­gi­neer­ing soft­ware, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment; elec­tron­ics and im­pro­vised ex­plo­sives; gas valves; nickel al­loy pipes; jet fighter com­po­nents; and soft­ware for run­ning nu­clear plants, the re­port stated, cit­ing Jus­tice Depart­ment re­ports.

Other cases in­volved In­dian ef­forts to ob­tain mis­sile tech­nol­ogy and nu­clear test­ing equip­ment; Pak­istani ef­forts to ob­tain ma­te­ri­als for nu­clear weapons and mis­siles; a Tai­wanese ef­fort to ob­tain air­craft tar­get­ing gear and joint ef­fort by Thai­land and United Arab Emi­rates to steal mil­i­tary air­craft parts.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.