Targeting U.S. Technologies

The targeting of U.S. technologies resident in defense industry remains intense and broadly-based. However, DSS analysis of fiscal year 2008 (FY08) defense industry reporting showed no significant changes from FY07 in terms of the traditional regional actors making requests, the methods of operation (MOs) they used, their affiliations, or the specific technologies being targeted.

The East Asia and Pacific region retained its status as the dominant region of origin for most collection efforts against United States technologies. Near East collectors continued their pursuit of dual-use technologies, maintaining their position as the second most prolific regional collector. Europe and Eurasia regional collectors, as well as those in the South and Central Asia region, continued as significant players; however, requests from collectors with a Europe and Eurasia nexus remained somewhat of an anomaly, steadily decreasing in volume relative to trends noted in previous years. As predicted in the previous "Targeting U.S. Technologies" report, these persistent regional collectors increased their targeting of aeronautics technology, specifically, UAV-related components, allowing that category to slowly gain momentum behind requests for the most frequently targeted discipline, information systems technology.

The direct request MO continued to be the dominant method of choice for suspicious collectors and continued to provide the greatest return for minimal investment and risk. While not all direct requests for information represent organized collection attempts, exploitation of this medium facilitated the ease with which foreign entities utilized all available approaches to gain technology or information. In FY08, regional collectors further exploited the Internet, not only making direct requests for information by email, but also through electronic attacks targeting defense industry information networks. Suspicious Internet activity with IP addresses originating in the East Asia and the Pacific region represented 79 percent of the regional cyber collection effort, a significant increase over last year's 52 percent. These apparent cyber operations mainly targeted cleared defense contractor networks used for research and development documentation, especially those related to information systems technology.

The trend to use non-government affiliated commercial surrogates as collectors to diffuse suspicions continued in FY08. Defense industry reporting indicated that state-actors from the East Asia and Pacific and Near East regions utilized both authentic commercial entities as well as illicit front companies in attempts to acquire controlled technologies. Meanwhile, South and Central Asian collectors remained more inclined to use less-traditional collectors, such as students, to gain access to restricted United States technology. This multi-dimensional threat environment will continue to require innovative and proactive countermeasures on the part of security personnel and cleared contractors acting in a concerted team effort to protect United States technology and information.

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