The United States will expand its efforts to prevent international theft of US companies' trade secrets, the Obama administration said Wednesday, amid growing concerns about internet hacking attacks originating in China, dpa reported.
Washington would step up diplomatic efforts to complain to countries where trade secret theft is rampant, according to a document laying out a new strategy to prevent intellectual property theft. The document stopped short of stating that the US was specifically targeting China but cited frequent examples of Chinese involvement in past incidents of intellectual property and trade secret theft.
The report said that US corporations and cyber security specialists "have reported an onslaught of computer network intrusions originating from internet protocol addresses in China, which private sector specialists call 'advanced persistent threats.'"
The 141-page document references China at least 188 times. Russia is mentioned 45 times, and India is also mentioned.
"The administration will continue to act vigorously to combat the theft of American trade secrets that could be used by foreign companies or foreign governments to gain an unfair commercial advantage over US companies," said Victoria Espinel, White House coordinator intellectual property enforcement.
The government would step its engagement with US companies to protect trade secrets, bolster investigations into trade-secret thefts by foreign companies and governments and improve enforcement of laws protecting companies.
The announcement came one day after a report by a US-based cyber security firm found that a Chinese military unit appeared to be a major hacker of US computer systems in a "multi-year, enterprise-scale computer espionage campaign."
Attorney General Eric Holder warned that trade secrets were becoming more vulnerable in an interconnected world, noting "a hacker in China can acquire source code from a software company in Virginia without leaving his or her desk."
Robert Hormats, the State Department's undersecretary for economic affairs, said that intellectual property issues have been raised with India, Russia and other nations, but that protection of intellectual property and trade secret was a "serious and highly troubling issue" with Beijing.