Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he sees both good and bad news in Monday’s indictments of five Chinese military officials, accused of hacking into a half dozen U.S. corporations seeking to steal trade secrets. While an F.B.I. official referred to the situation as the “new normal,” Grassley says America’s computer experts are up to the task of building better firewalls to keep the hackers out.
Grassley says, “I believe we have the capability of doing it but also a capability of building something that maybe is fairly temporary because there is sophistication on the other end to hack more.” Corporations that were hacked include: Alcoa, U.S. Steel, SolarWorld and Westinghouse, which makes nuclear reactors. Grassley, a Republican, says, “The sad commentary about the indictments that were brought yesterday and the publicity that was brought to it brings out into the public a discussion that we’ve had too private with the Chinese, I would say, over the last decade.”
For far too long, Grassley says the U.S. has known about the Chinese attempts at electronic espionage but has only talked directly with the Chinese government, outside the watchful eye of the media. Now, he says, the American public is aware of the issue and a dialogue can begin.
Also, he applauds the companies that came forward and admitted their servers had been breached. “That’s corporations that are willing to go public and not be so nervous about losing business to China because the Chinese can retaliate but be willing to gamble a little bit with their corporation’s future to back up what the government’s been saying and not to be nervous Nellies when it comes to dealing with the Chinese,” Grassley says. “In other words, take ’em on.”
Monday’s 31-count indictment marks the first time the U.S. has accused another country of criminal cyber-spying, charges the Chinese flatly deny.