China cyber espionage continues

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.

Full article: China cyber espionage continues (The Washington Times)

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