Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Tom Simonite

A View from Tom Simonite

Which Four Countries Most Actively Hack the U.S.?

An expert says U.S. intelligence believe four countries actively attack U.S. computers. But aside from China and Russia, who’s on the list?

  • February 28, 2013

As we and others have reported for years now, China is often accused of infiltrating the computer networks of U.S. companies and government departments. At the RSA security conference in San Francisco this week, one expert said that U.S. officials consider China just the most prolific on a shortlist of four countries most actively probing U.S. assets over the Internet.

Appearing on a panel about cyberwar, James Lewis, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who previously served in the U.S. departments of State and Commerce, had this to say:

“There has been a review in the US intelligence community on who are the most active opponents. China is far in the lead, Russia is second, two others come up.”

When questioned, Lewis declined to say who those others might be. Other experts at RSA this week talked of Iran being behind the sustained attacks on U.S. banks last year and other actions, suggesting it could take the third spot. Which country might occupy the remaining, fourth, place on the list is less clear. There are many possible candidates. Lewis says that there are 12 nations in the world seriously working on offensive computer capabilities, a number not too different from the estimate of 20 given me by Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution earlier this month (see “Welcome to the Malware-Industrial Complex”).

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to MIT Technology Review.
  • Print + All Access Digital {! insider.prices.print_digital !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The best of MIT Technology Review in print and online, plus unlimited access to our online archive, an ad-free web experience, discounts to MIT Technology Review events, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    6 bi-monthly issues of print + digital magazine

    10% discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    Ad-free website experience

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

    The MIT Technology Review App

  • All Access Digital {! insider.prices.digital !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The digital magazine, plus unlimited site access, our online archive, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    Digital magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

  • Print Subscription {! insider.prices.print_only !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six print issues per year plus The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Print magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.