Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director, James Comey, said Chinese hackers target US companies intellectual property every single day.
“I liken them a bit to a drunk burglar. They’re kickin’ in the front door, knocking over the vase, while they’re walking out with your television set,” Comey said Sunday on CBS’ 60 Minutes. “They’re just prolific. Their strategy seems to be: `We’ll just be everywhere all the time. And there’s no way they can stop us.'”
Comey’s comments come two weeks after a Senate Armed Services Committee report concluded that China’s military broke into the Pentagon contractor’s computer networks at least 50 times.
In May, the US government indicted five Chinese military personnel accused of hacking into major US-based corporations and stealing trade secrets. While Attorney General Eric Holder said the five would face trial in the US, yet the hackers “are believed to be living freely” in China. Companies targeted by the high-ranking Chinese officials ranged from Alocoa to Westinghouse, and companies endured attacks from 2006 all the way to 2014. China got away with a number stolen trade secrets, including documents ranging from nuclear to renewable energy, according to their indictment.
During the ongoing attacks, the Chinese government accused the US government of hacking into China’s businesses a number of times.
When host Scott Pelley asked Comey how many attacks the US had fallen victim to regarding the Chinese, Comey said, “it would be too many to count. I mean, I think of it as kind of an evil layer cake. At the top you have nation state actors, who are trying to break into our systems. Terrorists, organized cyber syndicates, very sophisticated, harvesting people’s personal computers, down to hacktivists, down to criminals and pedophiles.”
When asked “what countries are attacking the United States,” Comey added:
“Well, I don’t want to give you a complete list. But I can tell you the top of the list is the Chinese. As we have demonstrated with the charges we brought earlier this year against five members of the People’s Liberation Army, they are extremely aggressive and widespread in their efforts to break into American systems to steal information that would benefit their industry.”
Later, Comey said, “I mean, there are two kinds of big companies in the United States. There are those who’ve been hacked by the Chinese and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked by the Chinese.” He then continues on to say that the Chinese hackers “aren’t that good,” comparing them to a “drunk burglar.”