FBI Director James Comey. Photo: www.ndtv.com

FBI Director James Comey. Photo: www.ndtv.com

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey, has told CBS 60 minutes current affairs program that china topped the list of countries hacking into US businesses. In an interview sure to cool the already strained relations between the two superpowers, Comey publicly stated the cost to American businesses from the stealing of information, by the Chinese, ran into the billions of dollars each year.

“There are two kinds of companies in the United States,” he told 60 minutes reporters, “There are those who’ve been hacked by the Chinese, and those who don’t now they’ve been hacked by the Chinese.”

In May of this year the Chinese government was outraged by attempts of the US to indict five members of China’s People’s Liberation Army with a lawsuit of cyber-espionage. The PLA was accused of hacking into US computers in an effort to pass on sensitive information to preferred industry leaders in their own country.

Comey said the “information that’s useful to them so they don’t have to invent.” They use the stolen information to copy designs or gain an edge in negotiations.

To really twist the knife Comey insulted the Chinese efforts at computer-espionage. “I liken them a bit to a drunk burglar. They’re kickin’ in the front door, knocking over the vase, while they’re walking out with your television set. They’re just prolific. Their strategy seems to be, ‘We’ll just be everywhere all the time. And there’s no way they can stop us.’”

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told ABC television, “We have made enormous efforts to bring attention to this and resources to this. The President (Barack Obama) has taken action through an executive order.

“It’s something that we have to pay attention to every day.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and US Secret Service have been investigating the scope of cyber-attacks on financial institutions within their country since August.

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