By The Associated Press
White House announces anti-theft trade strategy
WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The Obama administration announced a broad new effort Wednesday to fight the growing theft of American trade secrets following fresh evidence linking cyberstealing to China's military.The plan includes a new diplomatic push to discourage intellectual property theft abroad along with better coordination at home to help U.S. companies protect themselves. The administration says indications are that economic espionage is increasing, not only through electronic intrusion over the Internet but also through the recruitment of former employees of U.S. companies with knowledge of inside trade information. Earlier this week, a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm, Mandiant, accused a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai of years of cyberattacks against more than 140 U.S. companies. The accusations and supporting evidence increased pressure on the United States to take more action against the Chinese for what experts say has been years of systematic espionage. ___ For state-backed cyberspies, stealing commercial secrets promises rich payoff BEIJING (AP) â¿¿ For state-backed cyberspies such as a Chinese military unit implicated by a U.S. security firm in a computer crime wave, hacking foreign companies can produce high-value secrets ranging from details on oil fields to advanced manufacturing technology. "This is really the new era of cybercrime," said Graham Cluley, a British security expert. "We've moved from kids in their bedroom and financially motivated crime to state-sponsored cybercrime, which is interested in stealing secrets and getting military or commercial advantage." Instead of credit card numbers and other consumer data sought by crime gangs, security experts say cyberspies with resources that suggest they work for governments aim at better-guarded but more valuable information. Companies in fields from petrochemicals to software can cut costs by receiving stolen secrets. An energy company bidding for access to an oil field abroad can save money if spies can tell it what foreign rivals might pay. Suppliers can press customers to pay more if they know details of their finances. For China, advanced technology and other information from the West could help speed the rise of giant state-owned companies seen as national champions.