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Countering the cyber espionage threat from China and Russia

The cover of the cyber espionage report to Congress
Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive
The cover of the cyber espionage report to Congress

It's official: China and Russia are the two biggest sources of cyber espionage attacks against the United States.

The Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive singled out those two nations in a recent report to Congress (coincidentally, it's been difficult to reach the counterintelligence website since the report came out and those links may not work).

Our technology commentator, Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson, has been warning about this threat for several years. Although the news is no surprise, Mark thinks the official acknowledgement will encourage governments and corporations to more closely guard their secrets.

Be protected

How can you safeguard your corporate secrets? Mark says the simplest way is to take them offline. Here's what he recommended in a special bulletin to SNS subscribers earlier this year:

  1. Identify the real crown jewels of your Intellectual Property portfolio.
  2. Sequester these on a separate server(s), and unplug them from the Net. If necessary, create a separate network, not Net connected, for these assets.
  3. Review policies for access to these crown jewels; reduce the headcount from whatever it is today, to a very small number. Many thefts (Ford, Dow, Motorola) are by employees turned into spies.
  4. Make IP protection a C-level responsibility, with ongoing reviews and vigilance, reporting to the CEO. Consider a VP-IP position.
  5. Finally, if you are attacked, mirror the courage of Google and Intel and Motorola: speak up. In the past, most haven't: this plays right into the plans of the attackers. Stop being a victim, and start being a part of the solution. We need leaders to stand up and denounce the hacks, and the hackers.

In the long run, Mark favors the carrot over the stick:
The United States and its trading partners need to emphasize that they want to do preferential trade deals with companies and countries that also protect intellectual property.

The Digital Future” is a monthly interview with technology expert Mark Anderson covering the online world and all things digital. The feature is published here on the last Tuesday of every month and airs on KPLU 88.5 during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Dave Meyer has been anchoring KNKX news shows since 1987. He grew up along the shores of Hood Canal near Belfair and graduated from Washington State University with degrees in communications and psychology.
Mark Anderson is the CEO of the Strategic News Service® (SNS), SNS was the first subscription-based newsletter on the Internet, and is read by Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Mark Hurd, and industry leaders and investors in computing and communications worldwide. Mark is the founding chair of the Future in Review® (FiRe) Conference, which the Economist has labeled “the best technology conference in the world,” as well as of SNS Project Inkwell, the first global consortium to address technology design changes for one-to-one computing in classrooms. He is the founder of two software companies, a hedge fund, and the Washington Technology Industry Association “Fast Pitch” investment forum, Washington’s premier technology investment conference.