Friday, July 24, 2009

Beijing's spies cost German firms billions

GERMANY is under attack from an increasing number of state-backed Chinese spying operations that are costing its economy tens of billions of euros a year, a leading German counterintelligence agent has said.

Walter Opfermann, an expert on espionage protection in the office for counter-intelligence for the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, said China was stealing industrial secrets using an array of "polished methods" from conventional spies and phone-tapping to the internet

Mr Opfermann said methods had become "extremely sophisticated" to the extent that China was now capable of "sabotaging whole chunks of infrastructure", such as Germany's power grid. "This poses a danger not just for Germany but for critical infrastructure worldwide," he said.

Russia was also "top of the list" of states using internet spying techniques to garner German expertise, which "helps save billions on their own economic research and development".

Russia had only "hundreds of thousands of agents", compared with China's 1 million, but it had "years more experience".


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