Within the European Union and NATO, security professionals have been circulating dire warnings to colleagues regarding the growing cyber espionage threat from China. In recent months, the Chinese have appeared to more aggressively target NATO, EU and U.S. networks in an effort to steal intelligence secrets.
Within the EU, cybersecurity is left up to individual member states and is not comprehensively coordinated. On Friday, the U.S. government released a report stating that the number of attacks on government agencies and Congress amounts to approximately 1.6 billion per month.
According to NATO sources who spoke with The Times, “Everyone has been made aware that the Chinese have become very active with cyber-attacks and we’re now getting regular warnings from the office for internal security.”
Due to the fear of Chinese cyber penetration, the flow of intelligence information has become much more restricted within the EU and NATO. While U.S. and British systems are considered to be among the most secure in the world, Dr. James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) says that “the EU is less competent.”
“The porousness of the European institutions makes them a good target for penetration. They are of interest to the Chinese on issues from arms sales and nuclear non-proliferation to Tibet and energy,” he said.
The U.S. and other EU nations do not share intelligence with the same frequency as the U.S. and British. “Because of Britain’s intelligence-sharing relationship with America our systems have to be up to their standards in a way that some of the European systems don’t,” an analyst told The Times.
With the anonymity and ease of access provided by cyberspace, espionage work is increasingly moving towards utilizing the cyber domain to steal secrets. Cyberspace has become the new “wilderness of mirrors.”