Protega Blog

Agree to Disagree

Natasha G - Monday, October 26, 2015

In the following blog post, Protega's Rob Cooper, discusses the recent cyber hacking claims between China and the US. With an agreement between the nations to refrain from espionage activities lasting less than a day, are we all really surprised?!... 

Agree to Disagree 


On Friday 25th September, US President Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping cemented an agreement promising that neither nation would engage in cyber espionage for economic gain. However, less than a day after shaking hands, it was revealed that hackers associated with the Chinese government had tried to unlawfully access at least 7 companies.   You would think there would be a cooling off period! Did the USA really think that China would not attempt to hack them, and do we really think the USA will stop?

There were many hopeful people, however, who appeared to believe that this was the beginning of the end for cyber espionage from China. According to an article published by DARKReading.com on 27/9/2015, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) lauded the agreement between the two presidents.

Dean Garfield, president and CEO of ITIC, which has been involved with talks between the US and China, stated the following on this controversial topic.

“This agreement finally starts a sustained dialogue where there was very little communication. It illustrates a spirit of cooperation on a sensitive issue, which is a positive signal to technology companies. We will work to ensure this cooperation on cybersecurity will be a bridge to improved market access for global technology companies. ITIC and its members, which include the world’s most innovative companies, will continue to work with both governments to further mutual understanding and ensure implementation of these commitments."

With a  long history of disregarding intellectual property, piracy and the like, China do not mess around when it comes to counterfeiting It is big business for them. They don’t simply copy products, but replicate whole companies. Take the example of the fake Apple stores. There are 30 times more fake Apple stores in the city of Shenzhen than genuine Apple stores. These stores are even made to look just like the real thing, with the staff wearing blue t-shirts emblazoned with white Apple logos.

Let’s not forget the ‘Chinese version’ of the Japanese electronics company, NEC. In 2004, it was discovered that NEC products were being counterfeited in China. Imagine the shock and outrage when further investigation revealed a network of more than 50 factories were producing counterfeit NEC products. They were even manufacturing and releasing “new” NEC products.

China has been in the news plenty of late, having been accused of all sorts of cyber shenanigans and attacks but of course they have vehemently denied any wrongdoing or responsibility. Earlier in the year they admitted for the first time that the country’s military and intelligence community have specialized cyber security divisions, although they continue to deny spying on American corporations or possessing the technical know- how to disrupt critical infrastructure.

These groups have been ruthlessly targeting industries of strategic importance to China and other nations, including agriculture, chemical, financial, healthcare and insurance sectors.   Protecting your data is paramount for any business and it seems there are a large amount of state financed hackers seeking precious data from companies worldwide.

It will be interesting to see how the USA responds to the allegations of Chinese cyber espionage on American IP…watch this space!


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