The heads of US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand security agencies (the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance) have met in Silicon Valley this week.
And the venue wasn’t coincidental: the spy chiefs say they’re focussed on the “unprecedented threat” China’s espionage poses to the tech world, like:
- seeking to obtain intel and IP in the advanced tech sector, and
- targeting state infrastructure as well as private enterprises.
And this time around, they really didn’t mince their words:
- 🇦🇺 Australia’s Mike Burgess said China “is engaged in the most sustained, scaled and sophisticated theft of intellectual property and expertise in human history”, and
- 🇺🇸 FBI Director Christopher Wray said China has “a bigger hacking program than that of every other major nation combined.”
Intrigue’s take: Why are Western spy chiefs increasingly coming out of the shadows like this? Four main reasons:
- To maintain their social licence (damaged after various leaks)
- To put adversaries on notice (i.e., “we see you, back off”)
- To shape the global conversation (who’s provoking who?), and
- To prepare the public for volatile times ahead (a former NSA chief just said cyber attacks are edging towards warfare territory).