Report:  Russia and China continue to steal U.S. technology
November 3rd, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Report: Russia and China continue to steal U.S. technology

By Pam Benson

For the first time, the United States is publicly accusing China and Russia of being the top offenders in the theft of U.S. economic and technology information, according to an intelligence report released Thursday.

The two countries are "trying to build their economies" on American research and development, said Robert Bryant, the National Counterintelligence Executive whose office wrote the report.

That office is responsible for mounting an integrated national counterintelligence battle against foreign intelligence threats to the United States, according to its website, and must compile such a report every two years.

An unclassified version of the report to Congress on Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage was released Thursday and focused primarily on the exploitation of cyberspace from 2009 to 2011.

"U.S. private sector firms and cybersecurity specialists have reported an onslaught of computer network intrusions that have originated in China," said the report.

It noted that analysts could not pinpoint specific responsibility for many of the intrusions, but Bryant said the source of the attacks could be government intelligence services, corporations or individuals.

The report was more specific about Russia.

"Russia's intelligence services are conducting a range of activities to collect economic information and technology from U.S. targets," it said.

"The nations of China and Russia, through their intelligence services and through their corporations, are attacking our research and development. That's a serious issue, because if we build their economies on our information, I don't think that is right," Bryant said at a news conference unveiling the report. He hoped that by pointing out the problem with the two nations, it will help spur solutions.

The latest intelligence community assessment comes on the heels of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers' harsh criticism of what he referred to as China's "predatory campaign" of stealing U.S. intellectual property. Last month, Rogers said the cyber attacks against the United States had reached "an intolerable level" and were harming U.S. national security.

In a statement released Thursday, Rogers said the report "once again underscores the need for America's allies across Asia and Europe to join forces to pressure Beijing to end this illegal behavior."

But foreign economic espionage against the United States isn't limited to China and Russia. The report indicates cyber attacks against America have come from dozens of other countries, but it doesn't name those nations.

The cost to both national security and private business is said to be considerable, but difficult to quantify. Bryant said American companies and the U.S. government produce approximately $400 billion of research and development each year. Depending on whose figures you go by, the losses each year range from $2 billion to as much as $400 billion - estimates that Bryant called "meaningless."

The report broadly states that if a hostile nation such as Iran or North Korea illegally obtains U.S. technology with military applications, it could endanger American lives.

The FBI has prosecuted a number of espionage cases involving private companies, in which the economic impact was cited. The report gives the example of the Valspar Corporation, where an employee downloaded proprietary paint formulas that he planned to take to a job in China. The theft was valued at $20 million, representing one-eighth of Valspar's annual profit.

Stratfor, a global intelligence analysis firm, has written extensively about recent Chinese espionage cases directed against the U.S.

Tackling the problem isn't easy. Sean Noonan, a tactical analyst for Stratfor, said private companies are often reluctant to report such attacks to the government. "It's a business issue for these companies. If it goes public, they've seen in the past that it could hurt them, hurt their business more and more," said Noonan.

He also noted the privacy issues that inevitably arise when the government is involved in cyber defense measures.

Another difficult issue is how much information the government can provide to private industries about cyber attacks without compromising secrets. Roger Kubarych, the national intelligence officer for economic issues with the National Intelligence Council, admitted it's a problem.

"There are going to be limits on how much information and expertise and knowledge the government and its expertise agencies can share with the private sector, but there's more available than there was," said Kubarych.

A senior U.S. intelligence official, who briefed journalists on the report on the condition of anonymity, said a public-private partnership is the key.

"There needs to be improved threat reporting by industry and there needs to be communication back by the government to industry as to best practices and how to prevent the theft of significant economic issues," the official said.

The outlook isn't particularly bright. According to the report, Russia and China will continue to lead the pack in attacking U.S. systems.

"We judge that the governments of China and Russia will remain aggressive and capable collectors of sensitive U.S. economic information and technologies, particularly in cyberspace," it said.

But the report also warns that changing economic and political developments around the world could lead other nations to steal U.S. economic secrets.

There's also the threat of disgruntled insiders within corporations or government agencies leaking sensitive information to activists, who publicly release the information, much like the dissemination of confidential State Department cables on the website WikiLeaks.

Filed under: China • Cybersecurity • Foreign Policy • Russia • Security Brief
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Antonia Cranmore

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, subscribers? Our Company provide SMM Services that means (Social Media Marketing) that is directly using social network websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to promote a website. High Quality Services / Our prices are the cheapest in the market, starting at $0.01 / 24/7 Support / API Support for panel leaders / Best prices

    January 26, 2021 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  2. Brittani Kornman

    Best Marketing Services – Cheapest on Market. SMM Supreme is the Top 5 Best Social Media Website in the World. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714,928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes for $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers for $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Bitcoin Deposit – Fast order processing – 1 Hour Delivery (Click on the link in the profile for more details)

    January 22, 2021 at 9:26 pm | Reply
  3. Kennith Battaglia

    For ice cream program, you would love your activities with long term ice cream flavors along with flavors of month sub method and significantly far more other system. You would get every month new taste of month for ice cream under flavor of month subprograms. Other subprograms are sherbets, rotators, sorbets, ices, small fats and yogurts gone nuts.

    January 11, 2021 at 9:27 pm | Reply
  4. Eusebio Kozielski

    I'm just commenting to let you be aware of of the extraordinary discovery my friend's child obtained studying your blog. She came to understand numerous details, which include what it's like to have an awesome teaching spirit to get most people just know precisely various multifaceted issues. You undoubtedly surpassed our own expectations. Thank you for rendering these productive, dependable, educational as well as fun tips on that topic to Jane.

    January 7, 2021 at 11:55 am | Reply
  5. Fredericka

    I was recommended this website by my cousin. I'm not sure whether this post is
    written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble.
    You're wonderful! Thanks!

    Feel free to surf to my web page; freerapid downloader reddit

    January 4, 2021 at 8:10 am | Reply
  6. kartal escort

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges. It was truly informative. Your site is very helpful. Many thanks for sharing!

    December 29, 2020 at 9:51 am | Reply
  7. Nolan Matheney

    I’d need to consult you here. Which is not some thing I usually do! I love to reading an article that could make people believe. Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

    December 20, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  8. Danny Yelvington

    Howdy this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I'm starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

    December 15, 2020 at 3:02 am | Reply
  9. detectives en ocaña

    detectives privados orihuela

    December 11, 2020 at 10:42 pm | Reply
  10. erectile dysfunction causes

    ace inhibitors erectile dysfunction
    best erectile dysfunction pumps
    can erectile dysfunction be prevented

    November 26, 2020 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  11. Ted Zatorski

    This information should come as no surprise to anyone. The Russians stole the atomic bomb design from us during World War II through espionage. The Chinese have been filching our technology the same way for years. Where would they all be if it were not for the good old U.S.A.

    February 27, 2018 at 9:34 am | Reply
  12. Robiodo

    China has legions of people it can assign to gathering intelligence at very little cost. We should not be surprised they are doing this; using the technology of others is how every developing country has developed, including the USA in the 19th century. Starting from nothing is not a good choice. China may be resorting to stealing because they have taken all they can from the non-Chinese companies who willingly gave them technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market. Some companies have totally refused to do that, and history will call them patriots.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  13. Old Jules

    Shouldn't last too much longer. There's not much left to steal.

    November 3, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply

Leave a Reply to Ted Zatorski


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.