By Thomas Claburn
November 20, 2009
China has increased its cyber espionage efforts to acquire U.S. secrets
and technology, a Congressional advisory group warned in a report issued
Echoing its 2008 and 2007 reports, which labeled China's espionage
efforts "the single greatest risk to the security of American
technologies," the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission
(USCC) said in its 2009 annual report that "there has been a marked
increase in cyber intrusions originating in China and targeting U.S.
government and defense-related computer systems."
Testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland
Security on Tuesday, USCC vice chairman Larry M. Wortzel said that cyber
attacks on Department of Defense information systems went from 43,880 in
2007 to 54,640 in 2008, an increase of almost 20%. If attack trends from
the first half of 2009 continue at the same pace throughout the year, he
said, approximately 87,570 cyber attacks will be recorded, an increase
of 60% from 2008.
Responding to these attacks can be problematic because, as the report
states, Chinese espionage and cyber espionage activities may be carried
out by individuals without obvious government ties.
These "nonprofessional collectors may be motivated by profit,
patriotism, feelings of ethnic kinship, or coercion," the report states.
"Even in many cases where there is no obvious direct state involvement
in the theft or illegal export of controlled technology, the Chinese
government encourages such efforts and has benefited from them."
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