Cyber crime costing US billions, FBI chief says

China is waging an aggressive cyber-war against the United States which costs American business billions of dollars every year, Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey said Sunday.

The FBI chief told CBS television's "60 Minutes" program China topped the list of countries seeking to pilfer secrets from US firms, suggesting that almost every major company in America had been targeted.

"There are two kinds of big companies in the United States," Comey said. "There are those who've been hacked by the Chinese, and those who don't know they've been hacked by the Chinese."

Annual losses from cyber-attacks launched from China were "impossible to count," Comey said, but measured in "billions."

Asked which countries were targeting the United States, Comey replied: "I don't want to give you a complete list. But ... I cant tell you top of the list is the Chinese."

Comey cited the historic case of five members of China's People's Liberation Army indicted with hacking US companies for trade secrets, a move which outraged China when announced in May.

The case is the first-ever federal prosecution of state actors over cyber-espionage.

The PLA unit is accused of hacking into US computers to benefit Chinese state-owned companies, leading to job losses in the United States in steel, solar and other industries.

"They are extremely aggressive and widespread in their efforts to break into American systems to steal information that would benefit their industry," Comey said of China's hackers.

Comey said China was seeking to obtain "information that's useful to them so they don't have to invent."

"They can copy or steal to learn about how a company might approach negotiations with a Chinese company all manner of things," he said.

But China's hacking efforts were often easy to detect, Comey said.

"I liken them a bit to a drunk burglar. They're kickin' in the front door, knocking over the vase, while they're walking out with your television set," he said.

"They're just prolific. Their strategy seems to be, "We'll just be everywhere all the time. And there's no way they can stop us."

Asked for a dollar estimate of the intellectual property stolen by China, Comey said it was incalculable. "Impossible to count," he said. "Billions."

Last week, big bank JPMorgan Chase revealed that a hack it had reported in August had compromised data on 76 million household customers and seven million businesses, including their names, email addresses and telephone numbers.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, speaking on ABC television, declined top address the JPMorgan Chase case specifically.

But he stressed: "we have made enormous efforts to bring attention to this and resources to this. The president (Barack Obama) has taken action through an executive order.

"Look, we have a lot of concerns about the sources of attacks because there are many different sources, " Lew underscored.

"I've spoken to it publicly as recently as this summer in new York and met with CEOs in the financial sector quite financial sector quite regularly since becoming secretary. They're taking it seriously. I don't think there's a CEO in the financial sector that doesn't wake up in the morning with this on their mind.

"It's something that we have to pay attention to every day," Lew added, saying that legislation to make it easier for businesses to get on board.

In August, the Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledged that it and the US Secret Service were investigating the scope of recent cyberattacks against several US financial institutions.


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Oct 06, 2014
If this is costing Billions then where are the millions being invested to save this cost?
Similarly if a disease costs Billions where are the people who have the sense to spend millions on a vaccine?
Someone must have the sense to invest in hardening our software by design, and educating folk that "rabbit1234" is not a password but an invitation.

Oct 06, 2014
Hi EyeNStein. :)
If this is costing Billions then where are the millions being invested to save this cost? Similarly if a disease costs Billions where are the people who have the sense to spend millions on a vaccine? Someone must have the sense to invest in hardening our software by design, and educating folk that "rabbit1234" is not a password but an invitation.
You hit the nail right on the head there. The (Hybrid) Capitalist-Socialist System is the best system so far. It's only real Achilles Heel is now being highlighted with the problem you've put your finger on.

The profit motive of private companies leads to a 'common private companies race to the bottom' when it comes to investing in such pan-industry problems as per the article's subject.

Usually, this Achilles Heel is 'covered' in times of 'war', when the govt steps up an makes investments and co-ordinates private industry to solve/apply particular problems/efforts to counteract major threats/vulnerabilities in Critical National Security areas.

Until the above problem is taken as a 'war footing' threat/vulnerability, and the affected countries/govts act accordingly, the individual capitalist 'multi-national' companies will just continue to make as much profit as possible, and one of the ways to do this in the 'purely capitalist' philosophy is to 'reduce costs' to 'increase the bottom line'.

Hence the disjointed appoach so far to that threat. And the 'pure capitalism' zealots who are still agitating/promoting POLITICALLY for "less govt interference" and "more private autonomy" are sabotaging any possible co-ordinated and well-funded counter to the problem.

Private companies for profit will therefore invest the absolute minimum 'token money/effort' while mostly "leaving it to the other guy/sucker' to use their own resources/wealth which they hope to 'coat-tail' on after wards and benefit/profit from in a 'parasitic' way.

Which means unless the govt steps up, despite the 'pure capitalism' zealots, then the problem/threat will only increase.

That's my three cents worth on this topic. Cheers, EyeNStein, Forum. :)

Oct 06, 2014
Poor poor Uncle Ira, still as dumb and crazy as when he started. Never learns, only trolls stupidly and BOT-votes without even reading the content. Sad Sack 'Couyon-Skippy' indeed!

Oct 07, 2014
Someone must have the sense to invest in hardening our software by design, and educating folk that "rabbit1234" is not a password but an invitation.
@EyeNStein
People are lazy and sometimes stupid, though
You can actually SHOW them how easy it is to bypass such a silly password, and they will simply pick something equally silly
Heck... most of our upper management in certain jobs I've had chose the password ADMIN or ADMINISTRATION1234 so that they wouldn't forget it, and they could easily access things

and this was even AFTER security classes telling them about cyber crime and safe, unguessable passwords...
...
...

You hit
@RC
OVER the 1000 character limit
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Poor poor Uncle Ira, still as dumb and crazy as when he started. Never learns, only trolls stupidly and BOT-votes without even reading the content. Sad Sack 'Couyon-Skippy' indeed!

IRA is not even posted above in this thread
BAITING
FLAMING
TROLLING
SPAMMING

reported

Oct 07, 2014
Poor poor CapS. It's over. You've been troll-busted by your own big blabbermouth trolling admissions. Stop digging, blabbermouth.

Oct 08, 2014
OK, so let us know when going on national television and crying about it, solves the problem.

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