US report blasts China, Russia for cybercrime

Nov 03, 2011 LOLITA C. BALDOR , Associated Press

(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 have concluded.

The report, offering the first such detailed public accusations from U.S. officials, said by foreign governments are on the rise and represent a "persistent threat to U.S. ."

Assessing 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 ."

For 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 those intrusions.

A senior U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of to discuss the report before its public release, said the Chinese and are using the high-tech espionage to boost their own development.

Despite 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 .

However, 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 attacked.

"China is a major victim of hacking," Hong said. "China is ready to build, together with other countries, a peaceful, secure and open cyberspace order."

He 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."

The 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.

Among 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 Chinese firm.

Officials 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.

The 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.

The Obama administration has tried to raise the level of awareness about these threats so individuals and the corporate world will better protect their data.

In the report, officials said foreign have used independent hackers as proxies, thereby giving the agencies "plausible deniability."

It also accused the Chinese of being "the world's most active and persistent perpetrators of economic ."

Attacks 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 U.S. targets."

Officials 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.

The 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 technology.

U.S. officials have called for greater communication about cyberthreats among the government, 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.

The 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.

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User comments : 16

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Roj
not rated yet Nov 03, 2011
Attacks may originate from US.
"TOR" is one tool --available to the public-- that lets users randomize or set their internet IP address to any country in the world.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
Attacks may originate from US.
"TOR" is one tool --available to the public-- that lets users randomize or set their internet IP address to any country in the world.


So, you are positing here that the U.S. intelligence agencies were too stupid to factor this into their analysis? Please...

In reality, we are doing too little to counter the massive increase in attacks from China and Russia.
astro_optics
5 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
Didn't US steal most of the technologists from Russia after the collapse of USSR, and appropriated their technology, this is a bit hypocritical? hmmm...
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Nov 04, 2011
Didn't US steal most of the technologists from Russia after the collapse of USSR,

Not only that. Since after WWII there are - at most all military bases in germany - large antennas for spying on directional radio links. BUT a good portion of these antennae have never pointed into the east (east bloc/Russia but straight at german high tech companies. Guess what they have been, and still are, doing.
Quoting the article:
...are using the high-tech espionage to boost their own development.


In essence this report is saying:
Do as I say - don't do as I do.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2011
Didn't US steal most of the technologists from Russia after the collapse of USSR, and appropriated their technology, this is a bit hypocritical? hmmm...


Random thoughts:
a) Who the hell knows?
b) Do you have any evidence for this? Or are you making it up out of whole cloth?
c) What relevance would it have regardless?
d) How the hell does someone "steal" a "technologist"?

This is the kind of trash that belongs at the conspiracy-theory table. Move on.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2011
Didn't US steal most of the technologists from Russia after the collapse of USSR,

Not only that. Since after WWII there are - at most all military bases in germany - large antennas for spying on directional radio links. BUT a good portion of these antennae have never pointed into the east (east bloc/Russia but straight at german high tech companies. Guess what they have been, and still are, doing.
Quoting the article:
...are using the high-tech espionage to boost their own development.


In essence this report is saying:
Do as I say - don't do as I do.


It is saying no such thing, and you are either purposely trolling for fun or willfully ignoring the evidence at hand.

China and Russia are engaged in outright attacks attempting to damage the civilian, industrial and military systems of other nations.

This is not to be confused with the NSA's eavesdropping, which is also performed by intelligence agencies worldwide.

Quit spreading trash!
Nerdyguy
not rated yet Nov 04, 2011
"Not only that. Since after WWII there are - at most all military bases in germany - large antennas for spying on directional radio links. BUT a good portion of these antennae have never pointed into the east (east bloc/Russia but straight at german high tech companies." -antialias

Just to be clear, are you suggesting:

a) The military and/or intelligence agencies of Germany and/or the U.S. have publicly shared this?, OR

b) You are familiar with these installations through your work with one of the intelligence agencies and are committing treason by sharing this info? OR

c) You are just full of hot air, making up whatever comes to your mind, and posting it randomly?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2011
China and Russia are engaged in outright attacks attempting to damage the civilian, industrial and military systems of other nations.

It's the same thing. The US has been stealing trade secrets left and right for 50 years and using them to build their economy. This started when they just 'appropriated' scientists post WWII and hasn't stopped since.

I'm in no way defending Russia or China's actions. Just saying that this is business as usual done by ALL the super powers for more than half a century and nothing to be shocked about. You think the US isn't trying to hack Russian or Chinese systems on a regular basis? (Or Iran's - e.g. with Stuxnet?)
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2011
The military and/or intelligence agencies of Germany and/or the U.S. have publicly shared this?

It's public knowledge and the directions of the antennae are there for all to see.

However US military personnell are, in all countries where they have bases, exempt from local laws. So there is nothing you can do about it.

You are familiar with these installations through your work with one of the intelligence agencies and are committing treason by sharing this info?

I've been to those bases and it's not even a closely guarded secret.

http://en.wikiped...gence%29
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2011
China and Russia are engaged in outright attacks attempting to damage the civilian, industrial and military systems of other nations.

It's the same thing. The US has been stealing trade secrets left and right for 50 years and using them to build their economy. This started when they just 'appropriated' scientists post WWII and hasn't stopped since.

I'm in no way defending Russia or China's actions. Just saying that this is business as usual done by ALL the super powers for more than half a century and nothing to be shocked about. You think the US isn't trying to hack Russian or Chinese systems on a regular basis? (Or Iran's - e.g. with Stuxnet?)


Outright slander and accusations based on nonsensical conspiracy theories. How about some proof of the U.S. "stealing" trade secrets?

And by "appropriated" scientists - beyond your fantasy world, do you have any proof of this? Or are you referring to scientists willingly leaving the hellholes they lived in for the U.S.?
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2011
"It's public knowledge and the directions of the antennae are there for all to see....

"I've been to those bases and it's not even a closely guarded secret."

Referring me to wiki entries about signals intelligence does not answer the question. It is not public knowledge - it is knowledge SPECULATED UPON by the public.

You either a) have no first-hand knowledge of the actual use of American and/or German tools of intelligence, or you do. Which is it?

And, I also, have been both in and outside of some U.S. military installations. This does not in any way qualify one to answer questions about the capabilities of structures inside the base. Try again.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 04, 2011
It's there in the EU reports linked at the bottom of the article. Can't get much more official than that.

I've lived in Stuttgart, and the antennae point very obviously at prominent industry installations. What do you think they're doing? Any electrical engineer (which I am) can tell you by the form of the antenna what type of radiation it's good for intercepting. And these antenna are perfect for intercepting directed radio traffic. Pointing those antenna down into a valley westward is also not exactly a sign that they are used to eavesdrop on stuff in the east. Can't get much more obvious than that.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (2) Nov 04, 2011
It's there in the EU reports linked at the bottom of the article. Can't get much more official than that.

I've lived in Stuttgart, and the antennae point very obviously at prominent industry installations. What do you think they're doing? Any electrical engineer (which I am) can tell you by the form of the antenna what type of radiation it's good for intercepting. And these antenna are perfect for intercepting directed radio traffic. Pointing those antenna down into a valley westward is also not exactly a sign that they are used to eavesdrop on stuff in the east. Can't get much more obvious than that.


This is the 2nd or third time that you've ignored the points I made above, and re-focused on talking about Cold-War Era signals intelligence. No one is debating the fact that SigInt exists. Nor the fact that it's a good idea. And this is an entirely different issue than "Cybercrime".
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
If there is snow on the ground then you know that it snowed.

How obvious do you need to get? Look at the bases. E.g. the base near Karlsruhe has the antennae directed straight into the woods north of town. There is _nothing_ in those woods...except a research installation several kilometers accross (used to be teh german nuclear-research center. Now just a regular non-nuclear one).

What do you think they were doing? Being nice and mediating telecom?

James Woolsey (Ex chief of CIA) admits to spying on the allies (though he does only indirectly admit to espionage on technical stuff. At first he denies it but then he basically says that if it's interesting the information will be passed on)
http://cryptome.o...-cia.htm
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
The Bad Aibling installation has been reported to be mostly for industrial espionage (EU report) and has only been closed down in 2004.
http://www.droit-...69-1.pdf

How much corroboration do you need? This isn't secret. There's official reports and admissions by US personell in highest places.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
@antialias:

You have failed to respond multiple times to the actual issues that I brought up and that are relevant to the article.

Thank you for pointing out to me that the U.S. has spied on Russia. Very enlightening stuff, that.

Goodbye.