China is biggest US cyber threat, says Congressional panel

Report says China is 'most threatening actor in cyberspace'

An annual Congressional report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission revealed some startling information about the United States' cyber-security.

According to the report, the commission believes the greatest current threats to the U.S.' cyber-security are China's intelligence agencies and hackers.

The commission pointed to China's persistence and "notable advancements in exploitation activities" as a few of the chief reasons the country is such a threat to U.S. military computers.

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This latest report included reports from U.S. officials who indicated cyberattacks are a growing risk to the military, and attacks on electric utilities, pipelines and telecommunications could prove detrimental to the U.S.

An anonymous U.S. intelligence official told Bloomberg China has relentlessly attempted to disrupt U.S. intelligence and communications satellites, weapons targeting systems, and navigation computers.

Though the report also revealed most of China's hacking efforts in the U.S. had been directed towards gathering intelligence, but wouldn't dismiss the chance these attacks could become "disruptive or destructive."

"Irrespective of the sophistication, the volume of exploitation attempts yielded enough successful breaches to make China the most threatening actor in cyberspace," the draft stated.


The commission believes the Chinese military isn't quite up to the task of managing sophisticated computer systems, but its findings point to the government already recognizing the issue, and moving forward with developing soldiers who are more capable.

The report also indicated China employs a kind of cyber-militia, "usually comprised of workers with high-tech day jobs," which primarily focuses attention on military communications and electronic warfare.

As a result, the commission included in its report a plea to Congress to "develop a sanctions regime to penalize specific companies found to engage in, or otherwise benefit from, industrial espionage."

"While it is very difficult in cyber to have a 'smoking gun,' so to speak, the clear paths back into servers and other mechanical devices inside of the Chinese sovereign domain remain a constant problem for us," retired Marine General, and former Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, James Cartwright told the commission earlier this year.

The complete report is scheduled for release Nov. 14.

Via Bloomberg