updated 08:30 pm EST, Wed February 20, 2013
Five prong program hopes to minimize impact and efficacy of theft
As expected, the Obama administration announced its plan to curtail the increasing theft of US trade and military secrets. The response is wide-ranging but a limited response to the growing problem of cyber theft and espionage. While the buildup to the strategy focused on China, the country was not specifically targeted by the guidance. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the plan, saying that indications that economic espionage is on the rise. "Particularly in this time of economic recovery, this work is more important than it ever has been before," Holder said at the White House announcement of the administration's strategy.
"A hacker in China can acquire source code from a software company in Virginia without leaving his or her desk. With a few keystrokes, a terminated or simply unhappy employee of a defense contractor can misappropriate designs, processes, and formulas worth billions of dollars," Holder added.
US actions outlined in the report include an increase in diplomatic pressure by senior officials to discourage threat, promoting best practices to help industries defending against cybertheft, enhancing US law enforcement operations to increase investigations, review of US laws to determine if they need to be strengthened, and the commencement of a public awareness campaign. No specific measures to be taken given the five guidelines were given.
Electronista spoke with a member of the US intelligence community who told us that the motion didn't go very far, at least not on the surface. "The President has given a public face to the problem -- most of the countermeasures will happen in the dark alleys of the Internet" we were told.
Earlier this week, a global security firm Mandiant publicized evidence pointing to a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai perpetrating years of cyberattacks against more than 140 companies, with most of them on American soil. The accusations and supporting evidence increased pressure on the United States to take more action against the Chinese for what experts say has been a solid decade of Internet attacks and data theft.