The United States says that Chinese and Russian intelligence services, as well as corporate hackers in those countries, are the top offenders in the cybertheft of American trade and technology secrets.
In a U.S. intelligence report sent to Congress and released to the public today, the government blasted Beijing and Moscow's cybercrime activities, which it said represent a "persistent threat to U.S. economic security."
U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive Robert Bryant, who spoke in Washington, described what he called the "quiet menace" of cybercrime.
"The nations of China and Russia, through their intelligence services and through their corporations, are attacking our research and development," Bryant said. "And that's a serious issue because if we build their economies on our information, I don't think that's right."
The report says attacks from Russia are a "distant second" to those from China, but said Moscow's intelligence services are "conducting a range of activities to collect economic information and technology from U.S. targets."
The declassified report did not specify how many attacks are government-sponsored and said that sourcing is often made difficult due to the ability to hide in cyberspace.
It added that military technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles, and civilian technologies such as clean energy, health care, and pharmaceuticals, are areas that may be of interest as foreign cyberespionage targets.
U.S. economic losses stemming from cybertheft of data and research are estimated to reach into the billions of dollars.
compiled from agency reports