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News~ U.S. Turns Up Heat On Costly Commercial Cybertheft In China

2017-06-06 16:15 [NEWS] Source:Netword
Guide:U.S. official displeasure has grown over the problem of Chinese cyber-espionage. The Obama administration has signaled that it will step up the investi

News~ U.S. Turns Up Heat On Costly Commercial Cybertheft In China

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Chinese cyber-espionage is threatening U.S. economic competitiveness. Andy Wong/AP hide caption

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Andy Wong/AP

News~ U.S. Turns Up Heat On Costly Commercial Cybertheft In China

Chinese cyber-espionage is threatening U.S. economic competitiveness.

Andy Wong/AP

American companies that do business with China make good money. They also lose a lot of money there to cyberthieves, who routinely hack into the computers of the U.S. firms and steal their trade and technology secrets.

China's theft of U.S. intellectual property has gotten serious enough in recent months to warrant President Obama's attention and prompt a series of visits to Beijing by senior members of Obama's Cabinet. A New Pentagon report on Chinese military developments adds to the U.S. complaints. The report says some computer intrusions carried out by hackers in China "appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military."

News~ U.S. Turns Up Heat On Costly Commercial Cybertheft In China

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This 12-story building in Shanghai's northern suburb of Gaoqiao allegedly houses a Chinese military-led hacking group. Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

News~ U.S. Turns Up Heat On Costly Commercial Cybertheft In China

This 12-story building in Shanghai's northern suburb of Gaoqiao allegedly houses a Chinese military-led hacking group.

Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

A recent survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, which represents more than a thousand U.S. businesses there, turned up widespread concern about the loss of intellectual property. Twenty-six percent of those responding to the survey reported somebody stealing business data from their computers, and 42 percent said the problem is getting worse.

"They know they're under attack," says Greg Gilligan, the group's chairman. "They just don't know who's attacking."

The problem of data theft is well-known among U.S. companies operating in China. American businessmen have long complained that their laptops are hacked, their emails intercepted, and their technology and negotiation plans compromised. But with more than a billion Chinese as potential customers for American goods, the temptation to do business with China has been irresistible.

"For the last 15 or 20 years, companies have been willing to make the bet," says Adam Segal, a China expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. "[Their attitude is] 'We know we're going to lose our technology in China, but being in the China market is so important that we're going to take that bet.' "

Organized Effort To Target U.S. Firms

The U.S. cybersecurity firm Mandiant identified a cyber unit of China's People's Liberation Army as the likely culprit behind much of the industrial espionage directed against U.S. companies. Mandiant researchers said the PLA unit is systematically taking intellectual property — technology blueprints, manufacturing secrets, negotiation plans — from the U.S. companies it targets.

News~ U.S. Turns Up Heat On Costly Commercial Cybertheft In China

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Robert Hormats, U.S. undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, delivers a speech at the 6th U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum in Beijing on April 9. He warns that theft of intellectual property has become a major source of mistrust. Jason Lee/Reuters /Landov hide caption

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Jason Lee/Reuters /Landov

News~ U.S. Turns Up Heat On Costly Commercial Cybertheft In China

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