Booz Allen Hamilton

Chinese Cyber Espionage: How to Combat the Growing Threat

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With the October 2011 release of a report by the Office of the National CounterIntelligence Executive, the U.S. government has officially acknowledged the role of China and Russia in international cyber espionage. Booz Allen Vice Chairman Mike McConnell subsequently joined with Michael Chertoff, former director of homeland security, and Bill Lynn, former deputy secretary of defense, to author an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal outlining concern about the threat of Chinese cyber espionage and recommending ways to combat it. China’s cyber strengths and weaknesses are also outlined in the Cyber Index, a new measure of global cyberpower among G20 countries, located at The Cyber Index was created by the Economist Information Group and sponsored by Booz Allen.

In their Wall St. Journal opinion piece, the authors note that “China has a massive, inexpensive workforce, ravenous for economic growth. It is much more efficient for the Chinese to steal innovations and intellectual property -- the ‘source code’ of advanced economies – than it is for them to incur the cost and time of creating their own. Instead, they can and do turn those stolen ideas directly into production, creating products faster and cheaper, and outselling the United States and others worldwide. There is ample public evidence this is already occurring.”

The authors conclude that, to better address cyber espionage, the U.S. Intelligence Community must have a stronger role in collecting and analyzing economic data regarding such attacks and making it available to appropriate government and commercial entities.

Congress and the administration must also create the means to actively force more information sharing, the authors say. The U.S. must make the broader investment in education to produce many more workers with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. And finally, U.S. companies must be more open and aggressive about identifying, acknowledging and reporting cyber theft incidents and must invest more in the training of staff in cyber skills.

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