China cyber-crime costing US billions: FBI chief

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China is waging an aggressive cyber-war against the United States which costs American business billions of dollars every year, Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey said on Sunday.

The FBI chief told CBS television’s “60 Minutes” program China topped the list of countries seeking to pilfer secrets from US firms, suggesting that almost every major company in America had been targeted.

“There are two kinds of big companies in the United States,” Mr Comey said. “There are those who’ve been hacked by the Chinese and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked by the Chinese.” Annual losses from cyber-attacks launched from China were “impossible to count,” Mr Comey said, but measured in “billions.” Asked which countries were targeting the United States, Mr Comey replied: “I don’t want to give you a complete list. But … I cant tell you top of the list is the Chinese.” Mr Comey cited the historic case of five members of China’s People’s Liberation Army indicted with hacking US companies for trade secrets, a move which outraged China when announced in May.

The case is the the first-ever federal prosecution of state actors over cyber-espionage.

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