• Documents show NSA conducted surveillance of EU member states, embassies

    European politicians issued indignant warnings Sunday to the United States that U.S.-European relations may suffer as a result of revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on European governments and their embassies in Washington, and on European Union (EU) offices. The revelations were contained in documents, dated 2010, which Edward Snowden took from Booz Allen. Observers note that the revelations are not exactly news, since it has always been assumed that the United States spies on the activities of foreign diplomats – even those representing allies — in the United States. It has also been assumed that the United States was conducting surveillance of major countries and international institutions. Moreover, at least seven European Union member states – the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy — have formal agreements with the United States to provide communications metadata to the NSA. “There’s a certain schadenfreude here [in Europe] that we’re important enough to be spied on,” a senior European official said. “This was bound to come out one day. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our member states were not doing the same to the Americans.”

  • Background check of Snowden may have been faulty

    The Inspector General of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) told lawmakers that a 2011 security reinvestigation of Edward Snowden’s background, conducted by a government contractor, may have been faulty. Later in 2011, OPM began investigating the contractor — USIS — for contract fraud. That investigation is still ongoing. The IG told the lawmakers that eighteen background investigators and record searchers — eleven federal employees and seven contractors — have so far been convicted for falsifying background investigation reports. Their abuses included interviews that never occurred, answers to questions that were never asked, and record checks that were never conducted, the IG said.

  • Edward Snowden, an NSA contractor employee, says he is the source of NSA leaks

    Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant in the CIA and more recently an employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, has identified himself as the source of the leaks about three massive NSA surveillance schemes. Snowden says the NSA’s surveillance activities are all-consuming; these activities “are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to [the NSA].” He said that once he concluded that the NSA’s surveillance scheme would soon be irrevocable, it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. “What they’re doing” poses “an existential threat to democracy,” he said.

  • Second NSA domestic surveillance scheme revealed: data mining from nine U.S. ISPs

    A day after it was revealed that the NSA was collecting communication information on millions of Verizon’s U.S. customers, another NSA domestic surveillance scheme was exposed: the NSA and the FBI have been tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet service providers for the purpose of harvesting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs. The information collected allowed intelligence analysts to track an individual’s movements and contacts over time.

  • Hagel says Chinese cyberattacks a “growing threat”

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned of a “growing threat” of cyberattacks against the United States, saying that America and its allies need to “establish international norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace.” Hagel spoke to an audience of defense analysts and defense ministers from Asia and Europe at the annual conference of the International Institute for Strategic Studies on Saturday.

  • Chinese government hackers steal designs of advanced U.S. weapons systems

    The Chinese government has been conducting a broad, sustained, and disciplined campaign of cyberattacks against U.S. government agencies, critical infrastructure, private companies, and news organizations. The public version of a study prepared for the Pentagon by the Defense Science Board now says that Chinese government hackers have also been able to penetrate the computer networks of all the major U.S. defense contractors, stealing the designs and specifications of the most advanced weapon system in the U.S. arsenal, and gaining insights into broad technologies on which U.S. military advances are based.

  • Report: U.S. companies should consider counter-hacking Chinese hackers

    A group studying how the United States should respond to the sustained campaign of cyberattacks conducted by Chinese government hackers against U.S. companies, said the United States should seriously consider a campaign of retaliatory cyberattacks against the hackers.

  • U.S. to help protect private companies from malicious cyberattacks

    The U.S. government said it will help protect private companies from cyber attacks. DHS secretary Janet Napolitano said a system is being developed which will monitor Internet traffic directed to critical infrastructure businesses and block attacks on software programs.

  • U.S.: China orchestrating broad cyberattack campaign against U.S.

    The Obama administration accused China’s military of orchestrating a campaign of cyberattacks against American government computer systems and defense contractors for the purpose of identifying “military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis.” Cyber experts estimate that about 90 percent of all cyberattacks in the United States originate in China, but these estimates have typically been offered by private-sector experts. The Pentagon’s annual report to Congress, released Monday, is the first government document specifically and explicitly to assert that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is behind a sustained, systematic campaign of cyberattacks on the United States in an effort to gain a strategic advantage over the United States. The report also pointedly notes that Chinese investments in U.S. companies aim to help this cyberattacks campaign.

  • China, U.S. to team up on cybersecurity

    Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Saturday that China and the United States will join forces to start a working group on cybersecurity.Kerry’s announcement follows several attempts for a dialogue on the topic between the two sides.

  • Chinese companies acquire German tech firms

    In recent years, a number of Chinese companies have either bought German firms outright or acquired a shareholding in them. This investment activity is being driven by a desire to gain access to state-of-the-art technology. Most of the new owners are not interested in draining their newly acquired companies of knowledge.

  • U.S. responds to China’s cyberattacks with anti-theft trade strategy

    The Obama administration yesterday (Wednesday) unveiled the details of a broad strategy to counter the systemic theft by Chinese government agencies of U.S. trade and technology and trade secrets. The administration’s plan calls for new diplomatic push to discourage intellectual property theft abroad and better coordination at home to help U.S. companies protect themselves.

  • Chinese set to buy yet another U.S. taxpayer-backed hi-tech firm

    Lawmakers yesterday expressed their concerns about the likelihood that U.S. taxpayer dollars could end up bolstering the Chinese economy. The lawmakers reacted to reports that a Chinese firm, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, is leading the list of companies bidding for a majority stake in government-backed Fisker Automotive, and that the only serious rival of that Chinese company is a Chinese auto maker. Fisker’s main battery supplier — U.S. government-backed A123 Systems – has already been acquired by a separate Chinese firm.

  • U.S. weighing retaliatory measures against China for hacking campaign

    As incontrovertible evidence emerged for the role of Chinese government in initiating and orchestrating the massive, sustained Chinese hacking campaign against U.S. private companies, government agencies, and critical infrastructure assets, the administration has intensified discussions of retaliatory measures the United States may take against China.

  • Chinese government orchestrates cyberattacks on U.S.: experts

    For more than a decade now, China has engaged in a sustained, systemic, and comprehensive campaign of cyber attacks against the United States. The Chinese government has enlisted China’s sprawling military and civilian intelligence services, with their armies of cyber-specialists, in a cyber-campaign aiming to achieve three goals: steal Western industrial secrets and give them to Chinese companies, so these companies could compete and weaken their Western rivals; hasten China’s march toward regional, then global, economic hegemony; achieve deep penetration of U.S. critical infrastructure in order to gain the ability to disrupt and manipulate American critical infrastructure – and paralyze it during times of crisis and conflict. A detailed 60-page study, to be released today , offers, for the first time, proof that the most sophisticated Chinese hacker groups, groups conducting the most threatening attacks on the United States, are affiliated with the headquarters of China’s military intelligence lead unit — PLA Unit 61398.