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“Stunning” spike in espionage targeting US defense industry

October 26, 2011

The Defense Security Service has released an unclassified report (link will download and open a pdf file) on their annual trend analysis of espionage efforts targeting US military technology and other defense secrets.   Analysts report a “stunning increase” in such attacks:

In fiscal year 2010 (FY10), the Defense Security Service (DSS) witnessed a stunning increase of over 140 percent in the number of suspicious contact reports (SCRs) determined to be of intelligence value. This growth occurred globally: all regions yielded more SCRs in FY10 than in FY09. The increase likely resulted not only from aggressive foreign collection targeting cleared industry, but also the diligence of cleared industry in identifying and reporting suspicious activity. For example, improved awareness about computer network operations likely accounted for the considerable increase in the number of SCRs reporting suspicious activity on cleared contractor networks.

Technology collection spanned the entire spectrum of categories on the Militarily Critical Technologies List. Industry reporting indicated that information systems (IS) received the most attention from foreign entities during FY10. Entities from five of the six geographic regions targeted IS technology more than any other sector; entities from Africa targeted IS technology equally with aeronautics and lasers, optics, and sensors (LO&S). This global tendency to target IS technology likely results from continued U.S. dominance in IS technology development, design, and integration. Also remaining consistent with previous years, LO&S and aeronautics were the next most commonly targeted technology sections.

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