US officials claim China stole ‘massive amounts’ of data from Western companies

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US officials have accused China of stealing massive amounts of data from Western companies ‘over the last few years’ and is now urging foreign governments not to adopt its Huawei technology in fear of ‘security risks’.

Robert Strayer, deputy assistant secretary of state for cyber and international communications, said the Chinese ‘compromised the largest of the global service providers and cloud providers.’

This allowed foreign hackers to gain access to the corporate databases of major, large companies, Strayer told reporters. 

Strayer was in Paris along with a Justice Department official to convince France not to use Huawei technology from China, at least in the sensitive core of their networks.

The data stolen by China is ‘in some cases’ given to private industries within the country ‘to compete against’ the companies they stole from, he said.

‘So that happens on a regular basis.’ 

This warning has been echoing around the world for months, as last May US president Donald Trump signed an executive order declaring a national emergency over ‘threats against information and communications technology and services’. 

The move aimed to spark a ban of US business purchasing hardware from Huawei. 

The US continues to convince other world leaders to join its side against the Chinese firm, but it has not been widely accepted.  

Earlier this month, Trump’s London envoy left onlookers stunned after a heated row about Huawei spilled out into the lobby of 10 Downing Street.

Shocked visitors arriving through the famous black door saw billionaire US ambassador Woody Johnson locked in a ‘passionate and highly charged’ discussion with British officials.

Boris Johnson’s team left furious after a White House delegation flew to London to warn Britain not to let the controversial Chinese tech giant supply high-speed 5G internet infrastructure amid espionage fears.

Trump warned Britain that intelligence sharing would be put at risk if Johnson gave the green light for Huawei at a crunch meeting of his National Security Council this month.

But Johnson has also been told that his manifesto commitment for superfast broadband for all by 2025 will be in tatters without Huawei, because no other commercial company has its technical advantage. 

A Whitehall source said: ‘It’s Huawei or the highway before 2025.’ 

But China is not the only threat to the Western world, as Iran was accused of stealing sensitive data from the US and other countries across the globe. 

Iran was also accused of hacking some 200 universities in order to gather research and other work, via a group called Mabna Institute during the conference. 

Mabna is described by the FBI as a private government contractor that works for the Iranian government ‘at the behest of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.’

In 2018, the FBI put out a wanted poster for nine Iranian nationals indicted by a New York grand jury, all allegedly linked to the Mabna Institute in a scheme to obtain and steal data from computer systems and sell the stolen data to the Iranian government, Iranian universities and others. 

The notice said 144 U.S. universities and 176 others in 21 countries were among victims, which also included five federal and state agencies.

Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom were also targeted. 

Among the companies which were targeted were entertainment and news corporations, technology companies and banking firms.

None are named in the indictment but all have been notified by the FBI.

According to the Justice Department, the value of the information they stole from US universities alone was $3.4 billion.

Officials say the hack was ordered by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the country’s military. 

The information was also sold privately throughout Iran to state universities.

 

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