China has hacked 'every major company' in US: Ex US spy chief
The Chinese government hackers have broken into the computers at every major American company to steal valuable secrets, according to a former US spy master.
New York: The Chinese government hackers have broken into the computers at every major American company to steal valuable secrets, according to a former US spy master.
Mike McConnell, who served as director of national intelligence under President George W Bush, made the comments during a speech at the University of Missouri.
"The Chinese have penetrated every major corporation of any consequence in the United States and taken information," he said.
"We've never, ever not found Chinese malware," he said on Thursday.
In his speech, McConnell also said that during the final years of the Bush administration, the Chinese government employed a jaw-dropping 100,000 hackers dedicated solely to breaking into computers. By comparison, he said the United States had that many spies -- total.
He said the malware lets Chinese spies extract information whenever they want. McConnell, who also led the National Security Agency (NSA) from 1992 until 1996.
He listed victims he has come across during his investigations: US Congress, Department of Defense, State Department and major corporations.
The US government has said it has caught Chinese spies stealing blueprints and business plans. Last year, federal prosecutors took the unprecedented step of filing formal criminal charges against five Chinese government spies for breaking into Alcoa, US Steel Corp., Westinghouse and others.
But McConnell's assertion is different. It would mean that no large company can escape the massive theft of American entrepreneurial ideas, CNN Money reported.
McConnell listed what the Chinese are stealing: "planning information for advanced concepts, windmills, automobiles, airplanes, space ships, manufacturing design, software."
"If they can take that, before we can take it to market - for free - and it's unchecked for 15, 20 years, I would say that has strategic consequences for the United States," he said.
Several hacking experts who consult companies on cybersecurity backed up the idea that Chinese hacking is widespread. But they doubt every, single major US company has been broken into by Chinese government operatives.
Others doubted McConnell's assertions, noting that placing the blame after a hack is extremely difficult.
"I think his comment is reckless and misguided," said John Pirc, a former CIA cybersecurity researcher. He said he's consulted at large companies after breaches and couldn't point the finger at China.
McConnell did not respond to calls for comment on Friday, the report said.