Experts Warn Lawmakers of Increasing China Cyber Espionage Attacks

Experts at a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing warned lawmakers Tuesday that Chinese government hackers appear to be once again targeting private U.S. companies and organizations.

“Anecdotally,” there appears to be a re-emergence of economic-related espionage by Chinese hackers, reported Samantha Ravich, an adviser to D.C.-based think tank the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. She said that after a brief lull, it looks as if hackers had returned to “business as usual, meaning the wholesale theft of [intellectual property] on the private sector side.”

Chinese cyber espionage operations include “hacking activities aimed at stealing trade secrets, intellectual property or other confidential business information,” according to Cyberscoop.

Theft of U.S. trade secrets each year ranges from $180 to $540 billion, according to the British insurance company Lloyds.

In prepared testimony, Ravich said that the “U.S. government is inadequately structured to properly and comprehensively detect, evaluate, and address cyber-enabled economic threats.”

Ravich added that while the government has made “great strides” in protecting government cyber assets like .gov and .mil, the private sector has been left to largely fend for itself, “a position that is untenable when the adversary is a state actor such as China.”

The Senate hearing Tuesday was an open forum to discuss the volatile cyber threat landscape and how it affects both the private and public sector.

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