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Federal advisors urge Congress to look into China's cyber attacks

Chinese are 'spies', 'pirates' and 'thieves'

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A federal advisory group has told the US Congress that it should be doing an in-depth investigation of Chinese cyber spying and that it should create tougher penalties for companies that benefit from corporate espionage.

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its annual report to the government that China was getting more sophisticated in its cyber attacks on the country.

"In 2012, Chinese state-sponsored actors continued to exploit US government, military, industrial, and nongovernmental computer systems," the report said. "Although most China-based activity observed over the past year relied on basic and straightforward techniques, a series of new developments suggest Chinese exploitation capabilities are improving significantly.

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

The commission recommended that the "relevant Congressional committees conduct an in-depth assessment of Chinese cyber espionage practices and their implication".

The report also accused China of cybertheft of intellectual property, saying that US app developers couldn't get a toehold in China's massive mobile market because copies of their apps were available.

"Chinese internet piracy and counterfeiting are threatening to curtail the existing opportunities and enormous potential that this new marketplace offers to independent US software developers," the report said. "A 2011 International Trade Commission report… found that China’s intellectual property theft cost the US economy $48 billion in 2009 alone."

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman condemned the report, according to Reuters.

"The relevant commission has not let go of its Cold War mentality. We hope the relevant commission can discard its prejudice, respect facts, and cease its interference in China's internal politics and making of statements that are harmful to China-US relations," he told reporters in Beijing.

"Regarding Internet security, we have repeatedly pointed out that China resolutely opposes internet attacks and has established relevant laws.

"Actually China and the United States have already engaged in cooperation on Internet security. The content of the relevant report is not helpful in building trust and respect between China and the US, or in conducting further cooperation," he added. ®

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