China is the most predominant and active source of cyber espionage and attacks, top American lawmakers have said on the eve of the crucial US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
"China is the most predominant and active source of cyber espionage and attacks. China, while the main source, is not the only one.
"Russia, too, is aggressively pursuing US intellectual property and technology," Congressman Tim Murphy said at a Congressional hearing on Tuesday.
Congressman Jan Schakowsky alleged that China is using its advanced cyber capabilities to conduct large-scale cyber espionage.
China has compromised a range of US networks, including those at the Department of Defence, defence contractors and private enterprises, he said quoting from a recent report.
"When foreign nations are able to infiltrate networks and take our technology and proprietary business information to benefit their own companies, US firms certainly lose their competitive advantage," Congressman Fred Upton said.
This theft costs the US over USD 300 billion a year, over two million jobs that are lost."If our IP is being targeted, US jobs are being targeted, and this has got to stop," Upton said.
Alleging that countries like China and Russia are engaging in wholesale commercial espionage, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn said these countries are intentionally taking advantage of US technology and creativity for their own competitive advantages.
"It is an economic growth strategy for them, but it's a jobs killer, a national security threat and a privacy nightmare for Americans," she said.
Observing that cyber espionage damages US economy and places national security at risk, Congressman Henry Waxman said the threats posed by cyber espionage are growing, particularly from foreign actors.
"Numerous reports have noted that the Chinese government is the chief sponsor of hacking activity directed at sensitive US military information and lucrative corporate trade secrets," he said.
Testifying before the congressional committee, former Senator Slade Gorton, member of the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, said China accounts for 50 per cent to 80 per cent of intellectual property loss, most of which is from private sector Chinese firms.
Larry Wortzel, Commissioner, US-China Economic and Security Review Commission alleged that China is using its advanced cyber capabilities to conduct large-scale cyber espionage and has, to date, compromised a range of US networks, including those at the Departments of Defence, State, Commerce and Energy, defence contractors and private enterprises.
"China uses these intrusions to fill gaps in its own research programs to map future targets, to gather intelligence on US strategies and plans, to enable future military operations, to shorten research and development time lines for new technologies, and to identify vulnerabilities in US systems," he alleged.