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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs