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Surely we can find, and stop, high-tech spies

It’s rumored that the U.S. intelligence community has commissioned The Eagles to rewrite some of their famous lyrics to serve as a deterrent to Russia and China. The hope is that this new song will stop the apparently unabated espionage activities occurring in the National Capital Region, known as the NCR. It’s called “You Can’t Hide Your Spyin’ Eyes.”

BY MORGAN WRIGHT

Concerns about enhanced technical espionage have circulated for a long time. A very provocative technology, currently being used by law enforcement and our military, is a cell-site simulator. Known as an IMSI-catcher, or commercially as a Stingray, it’s a box about the size of an oversized pair of sneakers.

 

IMSI stands for International Mobile Subscriber Identity. This is how the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) finds you, regardless of country, and delivers a call to you or allows you to make one to a destination of your choice. Several reports surfaced in 2017 that showed the Department of Homeland Security was worried about IMSI catchers. 

 

In a Nov. 17, 2017, letter, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate if there was any evidence of foreign IMSI catchers operating in the National Capital Region. A pilot study had been conducted from January to November of the same year. The short answer was yes. The longer, typical government response was:

“The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) has observed anomalous activity in the National Capital Region (NCR) that appears to be consistent with International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers. NPPD has not validated or attributed such activity to specific entities or devices. This information was reported to our Federal partners at the time it was observed.”

Now that it’s been established that nefarious electronic hijinks abound in the NCR, surely there must be a way to find it and stop it. Right? The short answer is no. The government answer is even more terrifying:

“NPPD is not aware of any current DHS technical capability to detect IMSI catchers. To support such a capability, DHS would require funding to procure, deploy, operate and maintain the capability, which includes the cost of hardware, software, and labor.”

The previous statement might make you think this is a newly discovered problem of which DHS is just becoming aware. But our Canadian neighbors found the same activity near their Parliament in 2017. In 2014, the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology said that “Hostile foreign intelligence services can and, almost certainly, are using the technology in this country for espionage.”

About two weeks ago, the Senate passed a spending bill that included language directing the Pentagon to divulge the use of IMSI catchers near U.S. bases and facilities. It’s not the first time the use of electronics has caused security concerns. A 20-year-old Australian student discovered the location of several military bases overseas by simply looking at the heatmap posted by Strava of running routes that had been shared.

You’d have to go back almost another 20 years to find when the threat of IMSI catchers became a real issue. The notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick was captured in 1996 using the same technology DHS is worried about in 2018. The hacking victim who helped the FBI track Mitnick down — Tsutomu Shimomura — was very well acquainted with the technology.

“Later that night, the FBI radio surveillance team from Quantico, Virginia, arrived at the Sprint cellular telephone switch office. The team talked to me a little about the technology they had toted along in the station wagon, especially something called a cell-site simulator, which was packed in a large travel case. The simulator was a technician’s device normally used for testing cell phones, but it could also be used to page Mitnick’s cell phone without ringing it, as long as he had the phone turned on but not in use. The phone would then act as a transmitter that they could home in on with a Triggerfish cellular radio direction-finding system that they were using.”

This wasn’t Shimomura’s first brush with cell phones. In 1993, in front of a congressional oversight committee, he showed how easy it was to use a software hack to listen in on the calls of nearby cellular phones. The problem isn’t new. In fact, it’s quite old.

If you take DHS’s response at face value, it appears NPPD does not have its own technical capability. If DHS has no organic ability, how did it detect anything in the first place? With a little help from other solutions. Project Overwatch, for example.

According to the RSA presentation, “Project Overwatch has been a multinational effort between USA, Germany, and Australia to create a solution leveraging GSMK’s patented Baseband Firewall technology.” This began six years ago.

In February 2017, at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco, a demonstration of Project Overwatch showed the detection of rogue IMSI catchers — the same technology DHS used, but did not disclose, in its letter to Sen. Wyden.

The warnings were there. The threat was there. Six years ago, we worked with our allies to develop a solution to counter this growing form of technical espionage. So why is Congress just now worried about this?

It’s inconceivable that this electronic eavesdropping that targeted the White House, Congress, our federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and who knows what else, should have gone on for this long without a warning to the relevant oversight committees. And the public.

When it comes to our national security, no one should be allowed to, as The Eagles might say, “Take It Easy.”

Morgan Wright is an expert on cybersecurity strategy, cyberterrorism, identity theft and privacy. Previously Morgan was a senior advisor in the U.S. State Department Antiterrorism Assistance Program and senior law enforcement advisor for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Follow him on Twitter @morganwright_us.

Florida kindergarten teacher busted for abusing 5-year-old boy after mom puts recorder in his backpack

Kandy Escotto, noticed her 5-year-old son, Aaron was being bullied by his kindergarten teacher, so she took matters into her own hands.

 
While doing his homework, Aaron would often refer to himself as a “bad boy.”

 
 

“I said, ‘Why do you say something like that?’ ” Escotto said. “He said, ‘That’s what the teacher tells me when I don’t do my work.’”

 
Escotto said this was unusual behavior for her son, and complained to Banyan Elementary’s school principal Cheri Davis about his kindergarten teacher Rosalba Suarez.

 
Suarez, a teacher for 33 years was a recipient of the teacher of the year award. Despite this,  Escotto knew she wasn’t treating her son fairly. Davis told her she needed proof that the teacher was bullying her son before any action could be taken.

 
So, Escotto got proof. She sent her son to school with a hidden camera over a four day period and got 32 hours of audio.

 
The audio files reveals that Suarez called the young boy a “loser,” and made fun of him for not being able to bubble on a test correctly.

 
“For me to hear the things that she was saying to him,” Escotto told the Miami Herald. “She picked him out, she singled him out, she humiliated him in front of the whole class. She talked about me in front of him. No 5-year-old should be able to go through that. That affected my family, affected him.”

 
“It was very upsetting being that I myself heard what was being said to a little boy,” Escotto said.

 
She set up a meeting with Davis and Suarez, but they failed to take any action to correct the situation. After hiring an attorney, the school switched Aaron to a different classroom. Escotto said it’s unclear if she will take further legal action.

 
Davis, did not respond to a request for comment and Suarez hung up on a reporter when asked to comment.

 
Spokeswoman Jackie Calzadilla for Miami-Dade County school district released this statement: “We work diligently to ensure the well-being of every child entrusted to our care. Any action that runs contrary to the values we instill in our school community will not be tolerated. The district will conduct a thorough review of this matter and, if the allegations are substantiated, we will take any and all appropriate disciplinary actions.”

By DOMINIQUE JACKSON

Dad arrested for recording teen daughter, friend in bathroom

A Michigan father spied on his teen daughter and her friend for nearly two years — and even set up a hidden camera in his own bathroom to record the girls, authorities said.

By Joshua Rhett Miller

Gary Lloyd Miller, of Norton Shores, was arrested after his wife found the secret camera, which was disguised as a phone charger in the couple’s bathroom, MLive.com reports.

Miller, 60, is accused of surreptitiously recording his 18-year-old daughter and one of her friends from October 2016 through June, according to Muskegon County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Maat.

Miller — who surrendered to authorities on May 31 — was arraigned on June 14 on four charges, including two counts each of capturing an image of an unclothed person and surveilling an unclothed person. If convicted of both felonies, he faces up to seven years in prison.

Miller posted $50,000 bond on the day of his arrest and was never formally taken into custody at the Muskegon County Jail as part of an abbreviated booking process that did not include a mugshot, Maat said.

After waiving his preliminary hearing, Miller was ordered to stand trial in Muskegon County Circuit Court, MLive.com reports.

Student filmed female housemates in the shower with hidden sponge camera

Imagine jumping into your shower at home, not knowing your naked self was being filmed by a hidden camera by someone you trusted. 

University of Wollongong student Rico Auliputra concealed a camera inside a household sponge in his bathroom, hoping to record his three female house mates. 

Today, the Indonesian national narrowly escaped jail time at Wollongong Local Court after pleading guilty to the offence. 

The 26-year-old covered his face with a hoodie and satchel to avoid a waiting media scrum outside, as he ran to a getaway car. 

Auliputra was living in a share-unit in Wollongong’s CBD, when his three female housemates discovered a green flashing light coming from a slit in a yellow sponge on the floor of their shower on October 28 last year. 

On further inspection they found a cord from the set-up to a battery power pack, which was hidden in the vanity. 

Auliputra confessed to the crime after being confronted by the group, who called Wollongong Police. But when officers arrived on scene, the SD card inside the camera had disappeared. 

The defence lawyer today revealed that when the camera was discovered Auliputra threw the card from the seventh floor of his balcony, later returning to recover the card but was unsuccessful. 

The IT student showed some remorse, telling his lawyer, “I regret what I did because I betrayed my friends. It’s hard now to be trusted because of the mistake I did.” 

The Crown argued he should do time behind bars saying, “It is a serious offence and serious breach of trust.” 

However, Magistrate Follent took into consideration his good character and guilty plea, sentencing him to 250 hours of community service. 

In her closing statements to Auliputra she said, “What you did was reprehensible, abusing the significant trust of your friends. It was calculative and exploitative for your own gratification.” 

Auliputra is to remain a student at the University of Wollongong for another year. Management has refused to comment on the incident today.

Source: 9NEWS

Man wanted for voyeurism after hidden camera found in Scarborough restaurant washroom

Hidden camera

WATCH ABOVE: Two spy cameras have been discovered inside public washrooms in two Toronto restaurant locations in the past week. Spy camera detectors can be used if you feel your privacy is in question. Tom Hayes reports.

Toronto police are looking to identify a man wanted for allegedly placing a hidden camera in a Scarborough restaurant washroom.

Police said the suspect entered the business located at Midland Avenue and Silver Star Boulevard on May 9 around 6:27 p.m. and affixed a fake wall socket with a hidden camera inside the washroom.

Authorities released a security image of the suspect on Monday.

He is described as Asian, between 25 and 40 years of age, clean-shaven, short black hair and thin-to-medium build.

He was last seen wearing a red sweatshirt/jacket with blue stripes on the sleeves, tan pants and blue shoes.

Police are also investigating a similar incident inside a Starbucks washroom at the corner of Yonge and King streets in downtown Toronto earlier this month.

In that case, police said a camera was discovered in one of the coffee shop’s two unisex bathrooms on the wall behind an electrical outlet, under the sink and facing the toilet.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-4200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS.

Source: Global News

 

Spy agency NSA triples collection of U.S. phone records – official report

An aerial view of the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S. January 29, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency collected 534 million records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year, more than triple gathered in 2016, a U.S. intelligence agency report released on Friday said.

The sharp increase from 151 million occurred during the second full year of a new surveillance system established at the spy agency after U.S. lawmakers passed a law in 2015 that sought to limit its ability to collect such records in bulk.

The spike in collection of call records coincided with an increase reported on Friday across other surveillance methods, raising questions from some privacy advocates who are concerned about potential government overreach and intrusion into the lives of U.S. citizens.

The 2017 call records tally remained far less than an estimated billions of records collected per day under the NSA’s old bulk surveillance system, which was exposed by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.

The records collected by the NSA include the numbers and time of a call or text message, but not their content.

Overall increases in surveillance hauls were both mystifying and alarming coming years after Snowden’s leaks, privacy advocates said.

“The intelligence community’s transparency has yet to extend to explaining dramatic increases in their collection,” said Robyn Greene, policy counsel at the Washington-based Open Technology Institute that focuses on digital issues.

The government “has not altered the manner in which it uses its authority to obtain call detail records,” Timothy Barrett, a spokesman at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which released the annual report, said in a statement.

The NSA has found that a number of factors may influence the amount of records collected, Barrett said. These included the number of court-approved selection terms, which could be a phone number of someone who is potentially the subject of an investigation, or the amount of historical information retained by phone service providers, Barrett said.

“We expect this number to fluctuate from year to year,” he said.

U.S. intelligence officials have said the number of records collected would include multiple calls made to or from the same phone numbers and involved a level of duplication when obtaining the same record of a call from two different companies.

Friday’s report also showed a rise in the number of foreigners living outside the United States who were targeted under a warrantless internet surveillance program, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, that Congress renewed earlier this year.

That figure increased to 129,080 in 2017 from 106,469 in 2016, the report said, and is up from 89,138 targets in 2013, or a cumulative rise over five years of about 45 percent.

U.S. intelligence agencies consider Section 702 a vital tool to protect national security but privacy advocates say the program incidentally collects an unknown number of communications belonging to Americans.

 

Source: Yahoo News
(Reporting by Dustin Volz; editing by Grant McCool)

Married former Waffle House CEO breaks down in court as jury is shown secretly recorded tape of him having sex with his housekeeper during her trial for ‘trying to extort him for millions’

  • Former Waffle House CEO Joe Rogers grew tearful in court Wednesday as audio of his sexual encounter with his housekeeper was played for the jury

  • Mye Brindle, the former housekeeper secretly recorded several sexual encounters with Rogers and said she did so to sue for sexual harassment

  • Rogers says all of the encounters were consensual and that Brindle and her lawyers were trying to extort him for millions

  • Rogers is married and said sex with his housekeeper had gone on for almost ten years

The former CEO of the Waffle House became tearful as an Atlanta jury listened to a lurid recording of him having sex with his housekeeper, during her trial for allegedly trying to extort him for millions.

Joe Rogers, 65, sat in court Wednesday and shook his head as jurors watched the secret sex tape his housekeeper Mye Brindle, 47, had made of them having sex in 2012.

In the video, filmed at Rogers home, he is seen nude and recently showered. He asks Brindle to adjust his back. She hides the camera under towels and he can be heard moaning. They then go into the bedroom, and Brindle retrieves the camera from under the towels and engage in a sexual act. The video lasts several minutes.   

The court file says that Brindle entered Rogers’ bathroom after his wife, Fran, left the house.

While it was played in court, Rogers bit his nails, as the jury intently listened in Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Brindle made 15 audio files and at least one video file of their sexual encounters. It is unclear if any other recordings will be played in court. 

 

Former Waffle House CEO Joe Rogers says he had an affair with his housekeeper, Mye Brindle for ten years – she claims it was sexual harassment. She then secretly taped their sexual encounters

On Tuesday, Rogers, who is now chairman for the chain, took the stand to testify against Brindle. She and her attorneys are accused of conspiring to record her and Rogers in a sexual act without his knowledge.   

During his testimony, Rogers said the audio the jury would hear was a typical sexual encounter with Brindle, who he had been having an affair with for more than nine years.

Fran Rogers was married to Joe Rogers through his sexual liaisons with their housekeeper

Meanwhile Brindle’s defense attorneys have argued she was justified in making the tapes as evidence she was sexually harassed for years – while Rogers says their encounters were always consensual. 

In Georgia Supreme Court in June of 2016, Brindle, along with her attorneys John Butters and David Cohen were indicted on charges that they tried to force Rogers to pay millions of dollars to prevent the recording from being released.

Rogers said he was threatened with a letter on July 16, 2012 that if he didn’t pay up, the sex video would cause ‘media attention,’ ‘injurious publicity,’ ‘protracted litigation,’ and ‘divorce and destruction of families.’

Rogers, who is married, claims he had ‘infrequent’ consensual sex with Brindle, while she worked for him between 2003 and June 2012.

After she quit her job, she filed a lawsuit claiming Rogers forced her to have sex with him as part of her employment. A judge later ruled that Brindle was a ‘willing participant’ in the sexual encounters.

Brian Robinson, spokesman for Brindle’s attorneys, said the indictment sends a ‘chilling message’ to victims of sexual abuse and those seeking help to attain justice.

‘The two attorneys indicted zealously represented their client, a victim of serial sexual abuse by her employer,’ Robinson said. ‘These indictments re-victimize the woman who dared to tell the truth about her powerful abuser and smear the attorneys who represented her.’ 

A judge ruled that the covertly recorded video didn’t imply that Rogers forced the woman to do anything she didn’t want to.

She also kept a towel that held Rogers’ DNA.

It was Brindle’s attorneys who sent her to a private investigator’s office, where she was given a spy camera that was used to record Rogers in his bedroom without his consent, according to court documents.

Cohen and Butters say that when Rogers learned Brindle planned to sue him for sexual harassment, he retaliated against her and her attorneys. They say Rogers threatened to sue any attorney representing Brindle for joining a criminal conspiracy against him.

Brindle, Butters and Cohen are charged with conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit unlawful eavesdropping and eavesdropping.

The district attorney’s office said secretly recording someone in his own bedroom is eavesdropping, and is a felony in Georgia. It carries a sentence of one to five years. 

Cohen was ordered to pay $198,393 in legal fees for filing unnecessary litigation in the Rogers case, with the judge saying that Rogers shouldn’t have had to hire lawyers to defend himself against threats of disclosing sexual misconduct allegations. 

Rogers has previously spoken of his regret over the affair, saying he ‘let a lot of folks down’.

‘That was wrong of me and I am very sorry for the pain and embarrassment I’ve caused my wife and family. There is no excuse for what I have done,’ he said. ‘I am a victim of my own stupidity, but I am not going to be a victim of a crime – extortion.’ 

He added: ‘As personally embarrassing as this situation is for me, I am committed to the legal and law enforcement process to expose the motives of my former housekeeper and her attorneys.’

Rogers’ father opened his first Waffle House in Atlanta in 1955, growing the company into a major chain of restaurants throughout the South. There are now more than 2,100 locations in 25 states.

By Jessica Finn

Source: Daily Mail

Scientists claim ‘sonic attacks’ in Cuba were likely caused by poorly engineered eavesdropping devices

  • US embassy workers in Cuba fell ill after hearing high-pitch sounds

  • The ‘sonic attacks’ were experienced in their homes and hotel rooms

  • It was thought that ‘sonic weapons’ might have been used against them

  • Scientists at the University of Michigan believe that poorly engineered eavesdropping devices might’ve produced the painful sound

  • If true, the ‘sonic attacks’ on the workers would have been accidental

Scientists believe the root of a ‘sonic attack’ that led to the US State Department recalling 21 employees and reducing staff from its embassy in Cuba could’ve just been ‘bad engineering.’

In September 2017, the State Department pulled 21 diplomats and their families out of Cuba and stopped issuing travel visas to the country after embassy workers reported hearing loss, dizziness, speech issues, cognitive problems and other medical symptoms that appeared to stem from a ‘sonic attack’ in their homes or hotel rooms. 

Some Canadian embassy workers also reported feeling ill from a high-pitched noise. 

Doctors, FBI investigators and US intelligence agencies all tried to identify the source of the ‘sonic attack,’ with some people postulating that a sonic weapon or even a poisoning was being deployed against the embassy workers.

 

The effected workers — who had reported hearing agonizing, high-pitched noises in very specific areas of their rooms — were found to have had suffered mild traumatic brain injury, but doctors at the time were not able to determine what exactly had happened to the workers’ brains.     

By December, officials had stopped using the term ‘sonic attack,’ with sources implying to the AP that the noise that caused the workers to fall ill might actually have been a byproduct of something else, rather than what had been deemed a ‘targeted attack.’   

A new report from the University of Michigan now suggests the ‘sonic attack’ was actually the result of eavesdropping devices that were in too close proximity, which then accidentally set off an ultrasonic noise, the Daily Beast reports.

If true, that would imply that the ‘sonic attack’ was actually an accident, not something aimed at deliberately harming American or Canadian embassy workers.  

‘We’ve demonstrated a scenario in which the harm might have been unintentional, a byproduct of a poorly engineered ultrasonic transmitter that was meant to be covert,’ Kevin Fu, a University of Michigan associate professor of computer science and engineering, told the Michigan Engineer News Center.

‘A malfunctioning device that was supposed to inaudibly steal information or eavesdrop on conversation with ultrasonic transmission seems more plausible than a sonic weapon.’

Fu did note, however, that despite his team’s findings, ‘our results do not rule out other potential causes.’

Fu, who researches computer security and privacy, and the co-authors of the study were inspired to look into what might have caused the ‘sonic attack’ after the AP released an audio sample that an embassy worker had recorded of the painfully high-pitched noise in question.

 

Are you James Bond or Maxwell Smart? Find out at the Spyscape espionage museum

If you’ve ever thought you’d make a good spy, here’s your chance to prove it. TheSpyscape museum, an interactive exhibit chronicling the history of espionage, just opened in New York City, and it offers an experience you won’t likely encounter outside of a Jason Bourne movie.

Located on 8th Avenue in Manhattan, the museum visit begins with a top-level briefing aboard one of the largest elevators in the world. The tour runs through seven exhibition spaces and includes hands-on experiences with surveillance, encryption, deception, hacking, and intelligence operations.

Shelby Prichard, Spyscape’s chief of staff, told Metro that he thinks the museum willmake people more aware of the role of espionage and surveillance in modern society. “We hope this will be a really empowering experience for people to start to see their world differently, see themselves differently, and understand how the types of skills that spies use can be relevant to their daily lives,” he said.

“We show how the world of espionage is all around you,” he added.

During your visit, you’ll try to crack codes, take a lie-detector test, test out facial-recognition software, and even attempt to evade security in a laser-filled hallway. At each challenge, a bracelet tracks your progress to compile your spy profile, with an algorithm assessing things like tolerance for risk and ability to handle stress. After the tour, you’ll get an assessment of which of 10 spy roles you’d best be suited for.

“We developed this profiling system in concert with the former head of training for British intelligence, so it’s a super legitimate look at how the intelligence community thinks about what it takes to be different kinds of spy,” said Prichard.

It’s not just an interactive playground — the museum illustrates the history of the shadowy world of espionage, with exhibits ranging from code-breaker Alan Turing to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Each of the seven sections of the museum is centered around the exploits of a real-life spy.

It was created by actual intelligence professionals, with former heads of spy agencies as well as white-hat hackers contributing to the project. “Whenever we explained the concept and how we’re thinking about making this world of spying more accessible, we had really great reception,” said Prichard.

The museum tour ends up at a book store with more than 1,000 rare and first-edition spy books. There’s also a gift shop, where you can purchase all sorts of cool spy gadgets, many developed in-house at Spyscape. After a hard day of spying, you can relax with a martini at the bar — shaken, not stirred, of course.

By Mark Austin
Source: digitaltrends.com

U.S. senators concerned about Chinese access to intellectual property

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China is trying to gain access to sensitive U.S. technologies and intellectual properties through telecommunications companies, academia and joint business ventures, U.S. senators and spy chiefs warned on Tuesday at a Senate hearing.

Republican Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he worried about the spread in the United States of what he called “counterintelligence and information security risks that come prepackaged with the goods and services of certain overseas vendors.”

“The focus of my concern today is China, and specifically Chinese telecoms (companies) like Huawei (Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL]) and ZTE Corp, that are widely understood to have extraordinary ties to the Chinese government,” Burr said.

 
Chinese firms have come under greater scrutiny in the United States in recent years over fears they may be conduits for spying, something they have consistently denied.

A Huawei spokesman said the company is aware of “U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the U.S. market.” He also said the firm is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries and poses no greater cyber security risk than other vendors.

ZTE officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 
Burr said he worried that foreign commercial investment and acquisitions might jeopardize sensitive technologies and that U.S. academic research and laboratories may be at risk of infiltration by China’s spies.

Several of the U.S. spy agency chiefs who testified at the committee’s annual worldwide threats hearing cited concerns raised by what they called China’s “all of society” approach toward gaining access to technology and intellectual property.

“The reality is that the Chinese have turned more and more to more creative avenues using non-traditional collectors,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in response to a question about student spies.

Senator Mark Warner, the committee’s Democratic vice chairman, said he worried about commercialization of surveillance technologies as well as the close relationship between the Chinese government and companies.

“Some of these Chinese tech companies may not even have to acquire an American company before they become pervasive in our markets,” Warner said.

Wray said the United States needed a more “strategic perspective on China’s efforts to use acquisitions and other types of business ventures.”

Under questioning from Republican Senator Tom Cotton, none of the Intelligence officials said they would use a Huawei or ZTE product.

Last week, Cotton and Republican Senator Marco Rubio introduced legislation that would block the government from buying or leasing telecoms equipment from Huawei or ZTE, citing concern the companies would use their access to spy on U.S. officials.

In 2012, Huawei and ZTE were the subject of a U.S. investigation into whether their equipment provided an opportunity for foreign espionage and threatened critical U.S. infrastructure – something they have consistently denied.

 
“Chinese cyber espionage and cyber attack capabilities will continue to support China’s national security and economic priorities,” said Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the United States was the world’s most powerful country.

“If even the United States thinks it is surrounded by threats, what should other countries do?” Geng told reporters.

“I don’t know where the United States’ sense of insecurity comes from. But I want to emphasize that in this world there is no such thing as absolute security. One country’s security can’t be put before another country’s security.”

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Michael Martina in BEIJING; Editing by Frances Kerry, Rosalba O’Brien, Susan Thomas & Simon Cameron-Moore

Source. Reuters