U.S. Readies to Battle Cyberthieves

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 21, 2013 | Go to article overview

U.S. Readies to Battle Cyberthieves


Byline: Associated Press

WASHINGTON The Obama administration announced efforts Wednesday to fight the growing theft of American trade secrets, a broad but relatively restrained response to a rapidly emerging global problem brought into sharp focus this week by fresh evidence linking cyberstealing to Chinas military.

Mentioning China but not specifically targeting that country, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the plan, which includes a diplomatic push to discourage intellectual property theft abroad along with better coordination at home to help U.S. companies protect themselves.

The administration says indications are economic espionage is increasing, not only through electronic intrusion over the Internet but also through the recruitment of former employees of U.S. companies with knowledge of inside trade information.

"Particularly in this time of economic recovery, this work is more important than it ever has been before," Holder said.

"As new technologies have torn down traditional barriers to international business and global commerce, theyve also made it easier for criminals to steal trade secrets and to do so from anywhere in the world," Holder said. "A hacker in China can acquire source code from a software company in Virginia without leaving his or her desk. With a few keystrokes, a terminated or simply unhappy employee of a defense contractor can misappropriate designs, processes, and formulas worth billions of dollars."

Earlier this week, a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm, Mandiant, accused a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai of years of cyberattacks against more than 140 companies, a majority of them American. The accusations and evidence, detailed Tuesday by CEO Kevin Mandia, increased pressure on the U.S. to take more action against the Chinese for what experts say has been years of systematic espionage.

The Chinese government denied being involved in cybertheft, with Chinas defense minister calling the Mandiant report deeply flawed. Chinas Foreign Ministry said that country has also been a victim of hacking, much of it traced to the United States. …

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