Russian and Chinese intelligence hacks are likely making it impossible for the United States to continue to keep its own intelligence-gathering efforts secret, Business Insider reports.
Following a report on Monday in the Los Angeles Times
that both countries are using hacked data to target American spies for blackmail, Business Insider talked to experts who said the data obtained in recent hacks has more value than that.
'[T]he combination of information [the hackers] obtained from OPM [Office of Personnel Management) with the travel information they now have from United [Airlines] is hugely powerful" for the Chinese, cybersecurity expert Dave Aitel told Business Insider, "and it will make the kind of work the CIA does much more difficult."
Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., for instance, is the closest airport to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.
"Every CIA employee and visitor coming from abroad flies in and out of Dulles, and chances are they're flying United," Aitel said.
"Cross-referencing names contained in the OPM, IRS, and other caches would expose identities of U.S. personnel working abroad under commercial or diplomatic cover," former U.S. Navy special security officer Robert Caruso told Business Insider.
"You could easily target their families and employers with threats of blackmail or worse."
Digital analysis can show "who is an intelligence officer, who travels where, when, who's got financial difficulties, who's got medical issues, [to] put together a common picture," William Evanina, a top counterintelligence official, told the Los Angeles Times.
"We need to assume China has hacked every database," Aitel told Business Insider.
"Anything China competes with, they hack first. Economic sanctions is the obvious response, and it's long overdue."
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