Over the past five years, a highly sophisticated team of operatives have stealthily infiltrated more than 70 U.S. corporations and organizations to steal priceless company secrets. They did it without ever setting foot in any victim’s office. Sitting at undisclosed computers, they could be anywhere in the world.
This is the new face of corporate espionage. Thieves whose identities are safely obscured by digital tradecraft rather than a ski mask, are robbing companies of the ideas that are the source of American ingenuity.
We now rely on the Internet to do business, supply communities with power and water, communicate with loved ones and support our troops on the battlefield. Our digital infrastructure is part of our country’s lifeblood. Individual consumers, government agencies and small and large businesses are all increasingly vulnerable to growing threats.
However, there is another reason to care about Internet security that is less known: protecting U.S. competitiveness and jobs in the global economy.
In the coming weeks, Congress has an opportunity to do just that. As we mark National Consumer Protection Week — a time for consumer advocacy groups, private organizations and agencies at every level of government to highlight the ways individuals and families can protect themselves from scams, fraud and abuse — we are reminded of the role we each play in defending ourselves from online attacks and in securing cyberspace.
U.S. companies use information networks to create and store their unique ideas. The ideas power our economic growth. Every day, the networks of these companies, from large corporations to small businesses, are targeted by criminal organizations and nation-state thieves for these trade secrets.