Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

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Kevin Coleman

US target of sustained cyber espionage campaign

In mid-February, we saw information contained in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) hit the pages of the news media. The NIE is an authoritative assessment of threat against the United States by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and produced by National Intelligence Council. It is worth noting that the NIE was not published, yet a portion was reported leaked to reporters at The Washington Post.

The NIE is said to have concluded that the nation is the target of a sustained cyber espionage campaign, which is having a substantial negative economic effect on the country. This theft is threatening the nation’s competitiveness through the theft of our intellectual property (IP) and other sensitive business data. That is supported by reports that IP-intensive industries accounted for about 27 million jobs in the United States and more than 30 percent of gross domestic product in 2010. Many do not realize that the blueprints for the F-35 Joint Striker Fighters and the F-22 combat aircraft were both stolen. That is much more than an economic threat; it is a national security issue.

At a congressional hearing, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said, “When I look at the theft of intellectual property to the tune of $1 trillion, that’s a serious economic issue for the United States” and he is right. This administration is clearly concerned about these threatening actions. A number of federal organizations are investigating ways to address the continued growth in cyber theft of IP. In fact a recent General Accountability Office report has recommended the development of a new strategy for cybersecurity.

Creativity and innovation drive the U.S. economy and IP is the product of those efforts. IP is the currency of the modern global economy and we must protect it. Onat Ekinci, an IP documentation specialist said, “In an age of acceleration of markets, early pre-development activities of opportunity recognition, market exploration and idea generation gain increasing importance. Companies not only have to protect the end products for commercialization, but also the results of each product development stage on their path to commercialization.” Cyber espionage is now a serious concern for businesses and organizations of all sizes and constitutes such a risk that immediate action is required. This is yet one more battle the United States can’t afford to lose.

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Feb 21, 2013 at 2:46 PM


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