FBI is Investigating More Than 1,000 Cases of Chinese Theft of US Technology

Full Text / Source: ZDNet / Catalin Cimpanu

February 09: Members of the US government held a conference in Washington this week on the topic of Chinese theft of intellectual property from US technology firms and the US academic sector.

For the duration of four hours, some of the highest officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) spent their time raising a sign of alarm and putting the private and academic sector on alert about the threats they are currently facing in terms of intellectual property (IP) theft from Chinese entities.

“The threat from China is real, it’s persistent, it’s well-orchestrated, it’s well-resourced, and it’s not going away anytime soon,” John Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, opened the conference.

“This one to me really stands out as the greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

MORE THAN 1,000 CASES OF IP THEFT

The FBI director says cases have been piling up since 2018, ever since the DOJ launched the China Initiative campaign to counter and investigate Beijing’s economical espionage.

“The FBI has about a thousand investigations involving China’s attempted theft of U.S.-based technology in all 56 of our field offices and spanning just about every industry and sector,” Wray said.

CHINESE THEFT TAKES PLACE INDISCRIMINATELY

US officials said all Chinese theft operations are happening based on an well-established plan handed down from the Beijing government, with areas of interest to target, which the Sino government sees critical to becoming self-sufficient.

“They’re not just targeting defense-sector companies. The Chinese have targeted companies producing everything from proprietary rice and corn seeds to software for wind turbines to high-end medical devices,” FBI Director Wray said.

“And they’re not just targeting innovation and R&D. They’re going after cost and pricing data, internal strategy documents, bulk PII; really just about anything that can give them a competitive advantage,” he added.

china-what-to-steal.png
Image: FBI

“They’ve pioneered an expansive approach to stealing innovation through a wide range of actors, including not just Chinese intelligence services but state-owned enterprises, ostensibly private companies, certain kinds of graduate students and researchers, and a whole variety of other actors all working on their behalf.”

BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS THAT COMPANIES WILL REGRET

Lacking access to China’s huge market many companies ignore the risks, cut corners in vetting their partners, and enter partnerships with Chinese firms.

FBI officials said many companies don’t see the damage their doing to themselves in the long run by handing over costly research & development (R&D) work to Chinese partners at much inferior prices, all for the promise of being able to do business in China.

William Evanina, Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warns that many of these companies may end up not opening factories of production units in the future due to IP theft, all while Chinese companies will be getting help from the Beijing government via subsidies or other government programs.

Full Text / Source: ZDNet / Catalin Cimpanu

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