CHINA CYBER ES­PI­ONAGE CON­TIN­UES

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

U.S. Cyber Com­mand re­cently re­ported within se­cret gov­ern­ment chan­nels that China is con­tin­u­ing ag­gres­sive cyber es­pi­onage against Amer­i­can com­pa­nies.

An in­tel­li­gence re­port dis­sem­i­nated ear­lier this month stated that one of China’s big­gest cyber spy­ing op­er­a­tions in­volved the theft of 1.65 ter­abytes of sen­si­tive pro­pri­etary data from a ma­jor U.S. soft­ware com­pany, ac­cord­ing to a de­fense of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the re­port.

The U.S. com­pany was not iden­ti­fied by name. But the hacker group be­hind the data theft is part of the Min­istry of State Se­cu­rity, China’s main po­lice and in­tel­li­gence ser­vice.

The hack­ing op­er­a­tion by the MSS was car­ried out from at least Oc­to­ber 2015 and con­tra­dicts the U.S.China agree­ment on cyber es­pi­onage reached between Pres­i­dent Obama and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping in Septem­ber 2015.

The agree­ment re­quires both sides to halt gov­ern­ment-backed cyber es­pi­onage against pri­vate com­pa­nies. Crit­ics say the ac­cord was skewed in Bei­jing’s fa­vor be­cause U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies are barred from spy­ing for Amer­i­can firms, while most Chi­nese com­pa­nies are un­der gov­ern­ment con­trol or in­flu­ence and reg­u­larly ben­e­fit from the state’s in­tel­li­gence-gath­er­ing.

Amer­i­can in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials tes­ti­fied ear­lier this year that they have se­ri­ous doubts about China halt­ing cyber spy­ing in the United States. Only FBI Di­rec­tor James B. Comey has said he be­lieves the Chi­nese are abid­ing by the agree­ment. The Chi­nese have stolen mas­sive amounts of Amer­i­can pro­pri­etary cor­po­rate and de­fense data over the past decade or more.

Ac­cord­ing to Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency doc­u­ments leaked by rene­gade con­trac­tor Ed­ward Snow­den, in 2010 the NSA as­sessed Chi­nese data theft to­taled 50 ter­abytes — or five times the hold­ings of the Li­brary of Congress. De­fense in­dus­trial es­pi­onage by China has com­pro­mised in­for­ma­tion on the B-2 bombers, the F-22 and F-35 jet fight­ers, space-based lasers and other high tech­nol­ogy weapons.

Another NSA doc­u­ment re­vealed that most of Chi­nese cyber es­pi­onage is car­ried out by a mil­i­tary, with the MSS a close sec­ond.

A Cyber Com­mand spokesman did not re­spond to email re­quests for com­ment.

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