The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) emphasizes the U.S is facing a sustained and massive cyber-espionage campaign that is threatening the country’s economic competitiveness. The NIEs are classified documents prepared for policymakers. According to the NIE, the campaign is seeking to access businesses and institutions’ data to gather economic intelligence through cyber-attacks. The sectors that have been the focus of hacking over the past five years include energy, finance, information technology, aerospace and automotives, according to the individuals familiar with the report.
Besides China, the NIE names three other countries — Russia, Israel and France — as having engaged in hacking for economic intelligence but makes clear that the cyber-espionage’s quality carried out by these countries are compared with those of China. Nonetheless, China repeatedly rejects such allegations.
President Obama states that foreign governments and criminals are looking into U.S. financial, energy and public safety systems “every day.” As a reaction, the U.S. military has put $3 billion into cyber security efforts. Former Deputy Defense Secretary William. Lynn states on this issue, “We need the NIE on cyber for a systematic and comprehensive understanding of what the most dangerous technologies are, who are the most threatening actors and what are our greatest vulnerabilities.”
The White House is considering imposing trade sanctions and visa restrictions on response to these cyber-attacks. Today, The Washington Post says President Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order on cyber security soon, intended to help private companies defend themselves against hacking. So far, Washington’s response has included giving written guidance to businesses on intellectual property crimes, to setting up a toll-free number to report problems, to unsuccessful efforts to get Congress to pass legislation on the issue.
Worldwide- known U.S. dailies such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post recently disclosed that they believe their networks were compromised in powerful and sophisticated intrusions that originated in China.
Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Officer, says China is the world’s “most sophisticated and prolific” hacker, adding: “It’s fair to say we’re already living in an age of state-led cyber war, even if most of us aren’t aware of it.” A new war is already starting, a cyber war, and the U.S. Government needs to take actions as soon as possible to fight this problem. This issue needs to be worked out closely between the public and private sector, since both parties are being constantly affected. Several experts have said that cyber-espionage’s cost to the U.S. economy might range from 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), or $25 billion to $100 billion