Report: China, Russia, Iran ramp up economic spying on US

Associated Press


A Chinese cyberespionage group called APT10 relentlessly attacks U.S. engineering, telecom and aerospace industries. Russian hackers last year compromised dozens of U.S. energy companies. Iranian hackers known as “Rocket Kitten” repeatedly target American defense companies in hopes of stealing information to boost Tehran’s missile and space programs.

While Moscow’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election are known, spy services from China, Russia and Iran, along with proxy hackers, are trying to steal trade secrets and proprietary information from the U.S., according to a government report released Thursday. A classified version of the report was sent to Congress.

“Foreign economic and industrial espionage against the United States continues to represent a significant threat to America’s prosperity, security and competitive advantage,” the National Counterintelligence and Security Center said. “China, Russia and Iran stand out as three of the most capable and active cyber actors tied to economic espionage and the potential theft of U.S. trade secrets and proprietary information.”

Cyberespionage is a relatively low-cost, high-yield way to access and acquire information from U.S. research institutions, universities and corporations, the report said. More vulnerabilities will emerge with the increase in cloud computing, artificial intelligence and the proliferation of vehicles, home appliances, medical devices and other items connected to the internet.

The report listed two dozen technologies that have piqued the interest of foreign intelligence collectors. They include oil, gas and coal-bed methane gas energies; smart grids; solar and wind technologies; biopharmaceuticals and new vaccines and drugs; hybrid and electric cars; pollution control; high-end computer numerically controlled machines used to control factory tools and machines in manufacturing; space infrastructure and exploration technology; quantum computing; and next-generation broadband wireless communications networks.

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