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Iran Press TV

China behind cybertheft in US: NSA chief

Iran Press TV

Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:52AM

Director of the US National Security Agency (NSA) Michael S. Rogers has accused Chinese officials of having a hand in the theft of commercial data in the US.

Rogers told a Senate panel Thursday that Chinese officials regularly access private digital communications and data that flow through China.

"We have been very up front," Rogers told the Senate Intelligence Committee. "We cannot sustain a long term relationship" if China continues unrestrained cybertheft of US intellectual property, US media reports said.

America's top cybersecurity official referred to a lack restriction on such issues in China, saying Chinese officials "believe that access to communications and data is a sovereign right."

US authorities believe China-based hackers have stolen security clearance files of more than 20 million Americans, as well as vast troves of health insurance and banking data, since 2014.

On Wednesday, the Office of Personnel Management said hackers also stole 5.6 million fingerprint records collected as part of background checks for sensitive government jobs, including intelligence, law enforcement, military service and the judiciary.

Rogers told lawmakers that Beijing actively encouraged and even directed theft of US commercial and trade data as well as government secrets.

US officials believe Chinese authorities use government spying systems to collect purely economic intelligence that can help Chinese companies. The US government says it does not share foreign intelligence with American companies.

This is while leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have since 2013 revealed that the US spy agency itself has been involved in secret mass data collection from emails and phone calls both in America and around the world.

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