The Trump administration on Thursday unsealed Federal criminal indictments against two Chinese nationals, accusing them of working for the Chinese government over the last 12 years to hack into computers and steal key technology from Western businesses and government agencies.
Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales says that we are already starting to see the manifestation of this hacking in the weapons they are deploying as we speak. The General added that we should take a long hard look at Chinese students in our universities and those that are hired from China to work in our corporate structure.
Maj. Gen. Robert Scales (Ret.) discussed the Chinese hacking of American businesses and government on Fox Business:
I’m glad this is finally coming out. The only thing we have talked about over the last two years about hacking has to do with the Russians interfering with our election. Let me just tell you something, compared to the Chinese the Russians are crass amateurs. They’re incompetent. The Chinese have this hacking institution that is so huge.
What makes it effective are a couple of things. Number one, it’s much larger than the Russians. Number two, it’s tied to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Even though a lot of the hacking is focused on commercial information, the people who are running this are the military. Here’s the scary part, the hacking is occurring in this country as well as in China. A great many Chinese immigrants are working in many of these industries and are scooping up this information and sending it home.
Just think for a moment if the Chinese have managed to put a bug into a chip in one of our anti-ballistic missiles or perhaps in a radar in a ship offshore in the South China Sea. Let me tell you another thing those of us in the military have seen. We are already starting to see the manifestation of this hacking in the weapons they are deploying as we speak to include their cruise missiles and their drones.
Also, if you look at their latest family of stealth aircraft, the J-20, it has a lot of the obvious characteristics with our F-22 and our F-35. They are so far advanced in their sophisticated hacking that they are already beginning to build military products and weapons to compete against us using our technology.
The Chinese leadership have said that the Chinese military and the technological slice of its corporate structure are to be at parity with the United States by 2030. There is no way by following a due-course process will the Chinese ever be able to achieve that without extensive and pervasive hacking of our technology. Both our civilian technology and our military technology.
Because so much of the military today is dependent on corporate technology, particularly with micro circuitry, that you can no longer distinguish between the two. A piece of IBM technology is the same technology that is being put in military computers, our radar systems, and are early warning systems. Having a hacking program against IBM or a hacking program against the US Air Force, today they are essentially the same.
What Should the US do? First of all I would say fight back. We’re just as good at this as the Chinese are. We can hack and we are pretty darn good at it. How many young men and women do we have in Silicon Valley who could do this on a weekend? Hack back at the Chinese and do it in a very public manner so that it becomes a cyber war where either side could win. It can’t get any worse since the Chinese are going full throttle as we speak. The only thing they would be afraid of is for us to start stealing their technology instead of vice versa.
The second thing I’d do is take a long hard look at Chinese students in our universities and those that are hired from China to work in our corporate structure. When I was in the army I visited China in 2000. I remember a Chinese general bragging to me that there were more PLA officers in American graduate schools than there were American officers in American graduate schools. I don’t think it has gotten any better in the last few years.
The other thing is for the Chinese students and employees in this country. What the Chinese government does very skillfully is they hold their relatives, their wives, children, parents, and grandparents at risk if they don’t toe the line and comply with instructions from China.