Last night was the 2020 US Vice Presidential Debates. Not debating politics, but a funny thought occurred to me as the fly sat upon Pence’s head – Was that a real fly or a new spy technology capturing his thoughts? Ok, that’s a bit over the top – but the thought made wonder the history and state of espionage technology.
China, which has refined the art of espionage since ancient times, takes only one page from the American playbook and implements it enthusiastically. China’s fears are justified because it has learned its espionage techniques from the best in the business world: Americans. The US has accused companies of industrial espionage, among other things, and there is no shortage of evidence that the US is spying on its own citizens and businesses. But the Chinese are guilty, according to a New York Times report, not only of carrying out cyber attacks, but also of installing back doors in telecommunications equipment to steal military secrets.
The government, which believes that widespread theft of technology and intellectual property is leading the United States to overtake the world leader in science and technology, has countered with a series of countermeasures – espionage – such as the creation of a new national news agency.
On the other hand, the assignment of known stolen secrets is a serious technical problem, making it difficult to control the exploitation of cyber spies and the control of traditional espionage. There is no evidence to prove if a company steals technology or if the government does, Soilen said, but analysts believe the goal, which is worth applying, is to supplement the capabilities of human agents. Although it is not possible to know exactly how spy experts will depend on things like lists and others, it is obvious that technology will help spies achieve their mission. It will be the key to espionage, not only in the US, but in other countries as well.
If there are no proper safeguards in place, the attacker can spy on trade secrets without the company noticing and without it being noticed.
Nicholas Eftimiades, a former intelligence official, says China has expanded its spying in recent years, increasingly targeting high-tech sectors identified as China – making it the second-largest exporter of computer equipment to the United States. Chinese espionage, including large-scale cyber hacking, is on the rise, and one of the main reasons is that China is dependent on Western technology and can gain illegal access once legal channels are closed, “says CSIS expert James Lewis. Methods include state-sponsored computer hacking, pressure on researchers to steal data, and a legal requirement for Chinese technology companies to share data with the CCP.
The double-edged nature of espionage as a weapon is why espionage stories retain their fascination. It is indisputable that the practice of stealing from an actual or potential adversary, which amounts to espionage, can be traced back to the beginning of human society. Spies use and follow many of the school’s old espionage methods to catch spies, but a new approach is needed when cyber theft is carried out remotely by unnamed agents, and new approaches are needed to figure out how spies can be arrested when they are not in the presence of law enforcement.
As technology has evolved, so has the ability to take shortcuts and steal trade secrets that could unlock huge profits. Today, agriculture is a high-tech enterprise, and the proliferation of electronic technologies and electronically stored trade secrets has created a perfect storm for industrial espionage.
A former intelligence official who sees China as the biggest threat to US espionage on a par with Russia said a handful of federal prosecutions involving US intelligence officials have shed light on Beijing’s capabilities over the past two decades. In recent years, Justice Department, State Department, and FBI officials have been increasingly concerned about China’s spy capabilities, focusing on its ability to steal secrets and cutting-edge technology. According to a recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, FBI data show an aggressively stepped-up campaign to root out “Chinese espionage operations” that pursue “American secrets.” Chinese efforts to recruit spies in our midst and steal proprietary technology and other information.
The CIA involvement was brought to light when the Italian government tracked down a cell phone belonging to CIA employees, ironically with an analyst’s notebook provided by America. The file contained a once top-secret manual written by the American magician John Mulholland in the early 1950s, detailing secret magic that could improve the art of espionage. This follows the so-called “year of espionage,” in which the FBI charged that US officials had spied for the Soviet Union, Israel, and even Ghana. Among them were Aldrich Ames, who was once head of the CIA’s Soviet counterintelligence unit, and Robert Hanssen, who was at the FBI.
The technology they sold consisted of computer code developed for the US to use in the Star Wars project. It should have had the support of the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Defense (DOD).
In cyber espionage, the status quo favors the use of electronic eavesdropping and computer databases to gain intelligence. These are the main tools of counter-intelligence, which aim to sift through the messages and activities of foreign agents and terrorists, but almost inevitably capture them simultaneously and process vast amounts of information from ordinary citizens.