Congress urged to probe Chinese cyber-espionage

Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:58am EST
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By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress should conduct an in-depth assessment of Chinese cyber spying and consider imposing tougher penalties on companies that benefit from industrial espionage, a federal advisory group said Wednesday.

The recommendations by the bipartisan U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission reflect its stated concern that China has become "the most threatening actor in cyberspace."

In its annual report to Congress, the commission said the most notable trend in Chinese cyber-espionage over the past year had been "increasingly creative and resourceful targeting" across government, industry and civil society.

Among these are stepped-up efforts to defeat so-called two factor authentication, it said, referring to the use of a security token in addition to a traditional password.

Separately, Beijing appeared to be within two years of putting nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles on submarines as it continues to modernize and expand its nuclear stockpile, the report said, citing U.S. Defense Department estimates.

Congress should require the State Department to spell out steps to bring China into existing and future nuclear arms control efforts, the group said.

The report included 32 recommendations for congressional action on ties between the United States and China, the world's No. 1 and No. 2 economies.

The pair also are the top spenders on their militaries, although Washington spends about five times as much as Beijing, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks the figures.   Continued...