In an unprecedented move, the heads of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the UK domestic security service MI5 jointly warned about imminent threats by the Chinese government’s global espionage campaign.
At a joint event at MI5 headquarters in London, FBI Director Christopher Wray and MI5 Director General Ken McCallum warned that the Chinese government is set on stealing your technology, reports the BBC.
“The Chinese government is set on stealing your technology — whatever it is that makes your industry tick — and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market,” Wray said in his speech.
“Maintaining a technological edge may do more to increase a company’s value than would partnering with a Chinese company to sell into that huge Chinese market, only to find the Chinese government and your partner stealing and copying your innovation,” Wray told the audience.
The FBI director said China was the “biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security”.
MI5 head said his service had more than doubled its work against Chinese activity in the last three years and would be doubling it again.
In their speech, the two alleged that the Chinese government is engaged in a “coordinated campaign” to gain access to important technology, and to “cheat and steal on a massive scale.”
“Today is the first time the heads of the FBI and MI5 have shared a public platform,” McCallum said.
“We’re doing so to send the clearest signal we can on a massive shared challenge: China.”
McCallum said that China deployed cyber espionage to “cheat and steal on a massive scale”.
In the US, the FBI director said the Chinese government had directly interfered in a congressional election in New York this spring.
A spokesperson for China’s embassy in Washington, DC, denied the allegations.
China “firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyber-attacks” and “will never encourage, support or condone” them, the spokesperson added.
China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian was quoted as saying that British intelligence was trying to “hype up the China threat theory” and he advised the head of MI5 to “cast away imagined demons”.