US Intelligence Report Calls China and Russia Biggest Cyber Espionage Threats

A recently released report by the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive labels China the “world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage,” according to the Council of Foreign Relations. The report also calls Russia one of the biggest cyber thieves of American intelligence. Bloomberg reports that hackers and other programmers from the two countries have been specifically targeting information about pharmaceuticals, information technology, military equipment, and manufacturing processes. The hacking threatens to compromise research expenditures reaching nearly $400 billion.

This is not the first time that the US has complained about Chinese attacks on its intelligence. Just last month, the US Intelligence Committee confronted officials in Beijing after hacking reached "intolerable levels," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Although the report emphasizes the degree to which Chinese programmers are breaking into American data servers, it does not state whether the hackers' IP addresses belong to the government.

Although American intelligence agencies have long insisted that China and Russia have been systematically collecting sensitive US information without permission, the two countries routinely deny participating in any illicit activity. Voice of America reports on the comments of a senior intelligence official who stated that it has now become "necessary to single out specific countries in order to confront the problem and attempt to contain a threat that gotten out of control."

Moreover, the report states that this type of espionage will increase as more people begin using new technologies, including tablets and smart phones, to mine data. It also claims that growing economic powers will risk aggressive cyber attacks for their own economic and political interests. "We judge that the governments of China and Russia will remain aggressive and capable collectors of sensitive U.S. economic information and technologies, particularly in cyberspace," the report concludes