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House Committee: Chinese hackers continue to steal U.S. intellectual property

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China's economic cyber espionage is growing exponentially in volume as is the damage it does to America's economic future, according to a Feb. 14 House Select Intelligence Committee hearing on cyber threats to the United States.

"The technological leadership and national security of the United States is at risk because some of our most innovative ideas and sensitive information are being brazenly stolen by these cyberattacks," stated committee Chairman. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.).

Rogers noted China's use of professional "stringers" by Chinese intelligence services. The congressman described them as a "growing cadre of specialists" that "steal intellectual property that are also establishing cash businesses for freelance work."

Kevin Mandia, chief executive officer of cybersecurity firm Mandiant, told the committee that the"vast majority of the attacks we respond to have IP addresses that originate in China."

The Alexandria, Va., security firm subsequently released on Feb. 19 a report (.pdf) providing evidence linking an advanced persistent threat group to China's 2nd Bureau of the People's Liberation Army General Staff Department's 3rd Department.

The report details how since 2006 the group, dubbed Unit 61398 , has systematically stolen confidential data from at least 141 companies, 115 of which were in the United States. According to Mandiant, Unit 61398 is one of more than 20 advanced persistent threat groups attributed to China engaged in computer intrusions.

In addition to the report, Mandiant released more than 3,000 indicators to expose and degrade Unit 61398's infrastructure and allow organizations to bolster their defenses against its arsenal of digital weapons. The indicators released in conjunction with the report include domain names, MD5 hashes of malware and X.509 encryption certificates.

For more:
-go to the hearing webpage (prepared testimonies and webcast available)
-download the Mandiant report (.pdf)

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