The US National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) has accused Iran, China and Russia as the top three spying nations that steal trade secrets, engage with state/corporate espionage and Cyber attacks. The NCSC has produced a 20-page report that suggests that the three countries are conducting various cyber attacks and spying activities against utility companies, defense contractors, and IT firms.
William Evanina, NCSC Director said: “Our economic security is our national security. We cannot just get numb to our adversaries stealing our intellectual property and trade secrets. The report particularly named the three countries as aggressive with maintaining their own state-funded cyber army of skilled hackers, capable of sustained corporate and government espionage. Foreign economic and industrial espionage against the United States continues to represent a significant threat to America’s prosperity, security, and competitive advantage. China, Russia, and Iran stand out as three of the most capable and active cyber actors tied to economic espionage and the potential theft of US trade secrets and proprietary information. We anticipate that China, Russia, and Iran will remain aggressive and capable collectors of sensitive US economic information and technologies, particularly in cyberspace. All will almost certainly continue to deploy significant resources and a wide array of tactics to acquire intellectual property and proprietary information,” the report further explained.
NCSC has highlighted Russia’s role with the illegal penetration of ten US companies from the energy sector. NCSC emphasized: “The threat to US technology from Russia will continue over the coming years as Moscow attempts to bolster an economy struggling with endemic corruption, state control, and a loss of talent departing for jobs abroad.”
The counterintelligence agency cannot deny that Chinese unrelenting cyber attacked US Defense, Technology, and Communications industry prior to the 2015 agreement with the US officials. The agreement lessened the frequency of the attacks considerably, but it still continues in a more subtle phase.
The United States has a diplomatic row with Iran for quite a while, due to the latter’s nuclear enrichment and development program. However, Iran is also in a cyber controversy with the United States in connection with the latter allegedly behind the Iranian Stuxnet incident. This motivated Iran to retaliate in the form of cyber attacks against US-based networks. “We believe that Iran will continue working to penetrate US networks for economic or industrial espionage purposes. Iran’s economy – still driven heavily by petroleum revenue – will depend on growth in non-oil industries, and we expect Iran will continue to exploit cyberspace to gain advantages in these industries.”
In the report, NCSC maintains the need for the US Government to continue conducting counter-cyber intelligence, in hopes to anticipate incoming cyber attacks. The agency also has not ruled-out other countries other than the three mentioned in their report to get involved with massive cyber espionage sooner or later.
“If this threat is not addressed, it could erode America’s long-term competitive economic advantage. A range of other potentially disruptive threats warrants attention. Cyber threats will continue to evolve with technological advances in the global information environment,” NCSC concluded.
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