The single greatest threat to the US is not Iran’s non-existent nuclear program and it’s certainly not North Korea or the unrest in Syria. The single greatest threat to our economy lies in China but it isn’t the Chinese military build up. It’s the Chinese corporate spies and hacking that are costing the US economy tens of billions of dollars a year.
To be clear China isn’t the only culprit though it is the largest. Russia and Israel’s Mossad are also very involved in corporate espionage. Corporate espionage nowadays has two very distinct faces – a happy hard-working employee usually of Chinese or Russian decent and a Chinese paid hacker on the other end of the world. Both are threats that should not be ignored.
Just a few months ago Congress heard testimony detailing how severe international espionage of American corporate secrets has become and still they have done nothing to rectify the situation. In fact during Congressional testimony computer-security firm Mandiant said that 94 percent of companies they monitor were completely unaware they had been hacked and sensitive research was stolen.
F.B.I director Robert S. Mueller III told those on Capital Hill that cyberattacks would soon replace terrorism as the agency’s No. 1 concern as primarily Chinese hackers breach American firms’ computers and servers and steal vast amounts of valuable data and intellectual property.
Gen. Keith B. Alexander, head of the military’s Cyber Command, called the on-going hacking “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.” And the recently retired former executive assistant director, Shawn Henry detailed to Congress a well-known American company that recently had a 10-year, $1 billion research program copied by Chinese hackers in a single night.
Yet Congress continues to do nothing. Most American companies who have fallen victim to Chinese hackers either will not report the theft or are simply unaware, however, companies including Sony, Citibank, Lockheed, Booz Allen, Google, EMC and the Nasdaq have all admitted to being victims of the Chinese. Government agencies including the SEC, NASA and the federally funded research centers including National Labs have also been hit.
Here are a few recent cases:
- Chinese scientist, Kexue Huang, admitted to stealing trade secrets from Cargill and Dow AgroSciences (a subsidiary of Dow
- Chemical Company) and sending them to China and Germany. Huang was found guilty of economic espionage for selling research relating to a new pesticide and new food product being developed.
- In eary 2011 a Chinese-American engineer was found guilty of stealing research from Ford Motors and using the sensitive data to help secure a job with a Chinese car manufacturer.
- A couple was charged last year with economic espionage as they were caught trying to sell secrets about General Motors’ hybrid vehicles to China’s Chery Automobile Company.
Due to the increasing economic hardships international corporate espionage has created in this country the FBI has stepped up its own educational efforts by debuting a national media campaign to highlight the growing problem. According to the FBI more than $13 billion dollars in trade secrets has been stolen so far this year alone and sent to China, Russia, Israel and South Korea. As the major four offending countries, none of which will admit wrong-doing, the FBI has made unofficial remarks to be cautious when hiring employees native to those nations.