The U.S. government has confirmed in a new report that industrial espionage is a growing problem that has the potential to influence business interests here in serious ways. Spying activities that use the internet as a vehicle for access have been responsible for stolen trade secrets among other problems. The main culprits identified in the report, entitled "Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace," are Russia and China, nations which "view themselves as strategic competitors of the United States", according to the document.
The report was issued by the Office of National Counterintelligence, forming part of the information the office annually furnishes to the U.S. Congress. It indicates that in cyberspace, "relatively small-sale actors [have] an opportunity to become players in economic espionage" and points out four major areas that attract foreign spies. Among these are new forms of information technology; proprietary business data, particularly when it relates to natural resources becoming scarce; technology that could potentially be useful to military forces; and data from market sectors poised to grow, such as the area of green fuels and technologies.
The report underlined the need for high-quality IT services for providing security, saying that "Cyberspace - where most business activity and development of new ideas now takes place - amplifies these threats by making it possible for malicious actors, whether they are corrupted insiders or foreign intelligence services, to quickly steal and transfer massive quantities of data while remaining anonymous and hard to detect."