News / USA

US: Up to Chinese How Cyber Espionage Charges Impact Relations

FILE - A hacker, who requests not to have his name revealed, works on his laptop in his office in Taipei.
FILE - A hacker, who requests not to have his name revealed, works on his laptop in his office in Taipei.
Victor Beattie
It is up to China to determine how charges of cyber espionage aimed at five Chinese military personnel brought by the United States will affect bilateral relations, a U.S. Defense spokesman said on Tuesday.

U.S. Defense spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said at a Pentagon news briefing Tuesday the United States has regular discussions with China at all levels of government about cyber spying, an issue he said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel brought up during his April visit.  

Kirby said the degree the latest indictments affect that relationship is a decision the Chinese have to make.

"We still desire, from a military perspective, to further grow the military-to-military relationship and to find ways to have a more productive conversation about these very tough issues, and cyber is one of them," Kirby said. "They’ve announced they’ve pulled out of the Cyber Working Group. That’s regrettable. It’s a decision they made. It wasn’t a decision they had to make.

"This is a tough issue we don’t always agree on, but it’s one that we’ve got to keep the dialogue and conversations open on, and the secretary still firmly believes in doing that," he said.

Kirby said the United States has no desire to militarize cyberspace. He said with countries like China, who are active in cyber, Washington wants to have as open and as transparent a conversation about it as possible.

Economic espionage charges

The U.S. on Monday announced it had charged five Chinese military officers with conducting economic espionage against American companies. The Justice Department accused a unit of China's People's Liberation Army of hacking into the computers of U.S. companies working in nuclear technology, solar power and the steel industry.

Beijing has denounced the criminal allegations, the first ever leveled by the United States against a foreign power for cyber crimes targeting American businesses.

China's Defense Ministry accused the United States of having "ulterior motives" and accused Washington of "hypocrisy and double standards."

Wednesday, the state-run Global Times said the allegations come from a country “that spies both at home and abroad.”

It added that the U.S. “has been taking bold steps in cyber espionage” and referred to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who publicized classified documents that revealed global U.S. surveillance programs.

Snowden has been charged with espionage and lives in Russia.

The Global Times said those documents show “the U.S. hacked into China’s backbone networks, universities, government departments and other organs.”  It applauded the suspension of the China/U.S. Cyber Working Group and called for further action.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, speaking with reporters Tuesday, expressed hope that the next Strategic and Economic Dialogue (SE&D) between the two countries in Beijing in July will go on as planned.

"We’re hopeful that we can maintain a dialogue with China about cyber security and a range of other issues," Psaki said.

When questioned about how cooperative China may be regarding cyber issues, Psaki said, "We believe there are a range of issues we work closely together on. We’ve seen the concerns they’ve expressed. We believe we have a relationship on a range of economic and strategic security issues, and we’re looking forward to the S&ED."

Hackers used email attachments

The Associated Press reported the hacking techniques allegedly used against American companies were not complicated. The hackers tricked employees to open email attachments or click on website links.

Cedric Leighton, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence office and currently a cyber-security consultant, said the American public, as well as government and private sector employees, are still ill-prepared to guard against such hacking techniques.

Leighton said there is a larger problem these types of emails cause, other than getting people to "click on an email link or do something they shouldn't be doing."

"The real problem ... it is also an increasingly common way in which cyber adversaries can gain intelligence on a [computer] network, can use it for a platform for other types of cyber-attacks and, quite frankly, it is a platform they use to steal tons of intellectual property, and it’s a global problem that is crying out for a global response at this point," he said.

Leighton said U.S. companies doing business in China face the possibility of economic retaliation, such as reverse engineering some of their products, making it difficult for them to maintain market share in China.

Reuters News Agency reported firms such as IBM Corp. and Cisco Systems have already seen sales drop as China turns more to internal suppliers.

Leighton, however, said China’s charge of U.S. hypocrisy is ineffective given that U.S. government entities are barred by law from engaging in commercial espionage. He said that distinction does not exist in China.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Truth Seeker
May 21, 2014 11:38 PM
This may be another reason why the White House felt it had to do something now, after Congress so unwisely passed the AIA ("America Invents Act", 2012), which, for the first time in American history, changed America's previously very robust patent laws from a very secure and hack-proof, "first to invent" system, to a totally insecure "first to file" system (like Europe and Japan have)..

So, now there is a great NEW opportunity for (stealthy) cyber-thieves to not only be able to steal U.S. secrets, but also file patent applications on at least some of the technology they acquire through hacking - especially if the target company is unaware that such a theft has occurred and, thereby. fail to quickly apply for patents on any proprietary work (that may still be in progress).

This is because under the AIA, anyone who gets to the patent office first, will be automatically (and irrevocably) be given priority over anyone filing for patent protection later (even if other forms of documentation exist that can establish who the true "first inventor" is/was). So, the AIA could be the "icing on the hacker's celebration cake".

THAT may be part of the reason why the U.S. is starting to "panic" over what increasing cyber-theft could do to the future of American IP, as a result of Congress' enactment of new patent laws, for the sake of "harmonization" with European laws.

The AIA will be particularly bad news for individual inventors, smaller firms and start-ups that don't have the financial resources to closely police cyber attacks aimed at their proprietary information. It is estimated that most companies either never detect such attacks, or only detect them after more than 3 months - plenty of time for cyber-thieves to be the "first to file" for U.S. patents on their bounty (if they chose to).

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid