October 31, 2014 17:08 UTC

Science & Technology

US Takes Action Against Cyber Theft Threat

New policies call for fines and trade actions against individuals and countries | TECHNOLOGY REPORT

A security analyst looks at code at the U.S. government's cyber defense lab in Idaho Falls, Idaho
A security analyst looks at code at the U.S. government's cyber defense lab in Idaho Falls, Idaho

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From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report in Special English.
 
The United States has announced a plan to fight the quickly growing threat from cyber spies and Internet attackers known as hackers. America’s Attorney General Eric Holder recently said that ever - improving technology is making it easier for people and countries to strike at the United States.
 
Mister Holder said the Justice Department is fighting back aggressively. He said it is working with various states and government agencies to find and bring to justice those involved in cyber theft and cyber espionage. And, the attorney general called for increased co-operation with private companies.  He described the importance of keeping trade secrets a secret. 
 
Attorney General Eric Holder: “A single trade secret can be worth millions – or even billions – of dollars. Trade secret theft can require companies to lay off employees, close factories, to lose sales and profits, to experience a decline in competitive position and advantage, or even to go out of business.”
 
The new policy also calls for fines and trade actions against individuals and countries that target American trade secrets.
 
The plan was announced the day after the American information security company Mandiant published the findings of its investigation of cyber-attacks.  It reports that more than 140 companies have been attacked since 2006. The targets include some of the biggest companies in the United States, companies like Apple Computer, Facebook, Lockheed Martin, CocaCola and many others.
 
Mandiant says hacking groups in China are responsible for most of the attacks. They include groups known as “Comment Crew” and “Shanghai Group”.  Mandiant also charges that the attacks come from an organization called “Advanced Persistent Threat 1” or “APT1”.
 
It says “APT1” is a part of the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army, Unit 61398.
 
In addition to companies and banks, the hackers are also reported to strike state, federal and international agencies and organizations.   Among the areas targeted are satellites, information technology, telecommunications, aerospace, public administration and scientific research. 
 
But Mandiant also says the Chinese want to find out how to control important parts of the United States’ infrastructure.  That includes power grids and other utilities.
 
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei denies Mandiant’s accusations. He says the report is unprofessional and irresponsible.  He said the company makes charges without providing evidence.
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