According to the The Washington Post, a U.S. government report details an ongoing cyber-espionage campaign that threatens the nation's economy. The report identifies China as the country behind the majority of the cyberattacks.
The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima reported, "A new intelligence assessment has concluded that the United States is the target of a massive, sustained cyber-espionage campaign that is threatening the country’s economic competitiveness, according to individuals familiar with the report. The National Intelligence Estimate identifies China as the country most aggressively seeking to penetrate the computer systems of American businesses and institutions to gain access to data that could be used for economic gain. The report, which represents the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community, describes a wide range of sectors that have been the focus of hacking over the past five years, including energy, finance, information technology, aerospace and automotives, according to the individuals familiar with the report, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the classified document. The assessment does not quantify the financial impact of the espionage, but outside experts have estimated it in the tens of billions of dollars. "
CNET's Don Reisinger added, "The cyberwar between the U.S. and China has been well-documented. The countries have not publicly said that they're targeting each other, but both sides have said that they're being hit with cyberattacks. It's also been widely believed that China has been attempting to access corporate information for its gain. Interestingly, China might not be the only threat the U.S. faces. According to the Post, the NIE says Russia, Israel, and France have all conducted cyber-espionage efforts aimed at economic efforts in the U.S. Still, China's efforts are most frequent."
New York Magazine's Margaret Hartmann noted, "While it appears the hackers were targeting the media companies to keep tabs on their reporting on China, the National Intelligence Estimate found that the larger aim of the larger cyber-espionage campaign is to steal trade secrets and other data that could give China an economic edge. (The report found that Russia, Israel, and France have also pilfered economic intelligence, but not nearly as much). One frequent target is thought to be companies involved in military technology, such as Lockheed Martin."
Voice of America quoted Brad Glosserman, executive director of the Hawaii-based Pacific Forum think tank, who said, "As for the vulnerabilities to the financial sector, I would assume that's correct, but I would suggest that the vulnerabilities are throughout the U.S. economy." He added. "The problem is that many people do not like to speak about these things because either they're unaware they are being attacked or very reluctant to publicize their vulnerabilities."