Current and former US officials and business execs describe hacking and IP theft by China and why they stayed silent because of the profits to be made in trade — Technology theft and other unfair business practices originating from China are costing the American economy more than $57 billion a year. Top government leaders told NPR that federal agencies are years behind where they could have been if Chinese cybertheft had been openly addressed earlier.
"Hackers from China, often with ties to the government, have been accused of breaking into gas companies, steel companies and chemical companies. Not long ago, Chinese government companies were indicted for stealing the secret chemical makeup of the color white from DuPont. China developed its J-20 fighter plane, a plane similar to Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor, shortly after a Chinese national was indicted for stealing technical data from Lockheed Martin, including the plans for the Raptor. Chinese hacking made occasional headlines, but none really grabbed Americans' attention. There was one exception. In 2010, Google went public in announcing that it had been hacked by the Chinese government. Thirty-four other American companies that were also part of the hack stayed silent. Most have kept it a secret to this day.""Dmitri Alperovitch was one of the first to see it. He was working at a security firm in Atlanta during the Google hack. One afternoon, Google called, said they needed backup. Alperovitch is a well-known cyber sleuth. He says when he took a look, he was stunned.
DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: I knew pretty much right away that this is something very different. For the first time ever, we were facing a nation state, an intelligence service that was breaking into companies - not governments, not militaries, but private sector organizations.
SULLIVAN: Where was the U.S. government on all of this?
ALPEROVITCH: The U.S. government was nowhere to be seen.
SULLIVAN: Evan Medeiros was on staff at the National Security Council at the time and a top China specialist under President Obama. He says they didn't turn a blind eye. Obama signed an agreement with China to address the hacking. But he says the Obama administration also had other priorities - North Korea, Iran, the economy, climate change."
Program Transcript here. Dmitri Alperovitch is Co-Founder & CTO at CrowdStrike.com; Senior Fellow at Harvard Belfer Center and Atlantic Council.
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