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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid