Targeting U.S. Technologies
Europe and Eurasia

Case Study

OVERVIEW

As has been the case since DSS began disseminating reports on foreign collection activities within defense industry, entities originating from the Europe and Eurasia region once again ranked among the top regional collectors of defense technology and information. Since fiscal year 2004 (FY04), collection attempts with a European/Eurasian nexus have remained relatively constant. However, in the last four years, collection activity recorded from this region continued to decline slightly, now representing only a 14 percent share of overall reporting in FY08. The reasons for this decline remain largely conjectural, but DSS analysis indicates European/Eurasian collection methods may not rely as much on the blatant, largely overt targeting utilized by East Asia and Pacific collectors.

Consistent with the overall trend of commercial companies and actors dominating collection attempts, FY08 defense industry reporting indicated European/Eurasian commercial entities were responsible for the majority of the targeting efforts originating from this region. Furthermore, commercial and government regional collectors continued to exploit direct requests for information as the predominant method of operation (MO) to procure United States defense technology. More than a quarter of these direct requests were especially for aeronautic technology, specifically unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) components.

COLLECTOR AFFILIATIONS

In FY07, defense industry reporting indicated government-associated collectors were responsible for the majority of the targeting efforts. However in FY08, commercial targeting increased significantly from 21 percent to 39 percent. Additionally, over 70 percent of these commercial companies utilized email direct requests for information as a vehicle to contact defense industry personnel. Analyst Comment: This surge in commercial collection attempts is consistent with overall trends observed in other regions. It is highly likely this increase is attributable to entities deliberately attempting to shift their collection signature from governmental indicators to seemingly innocuous commercial associations. (Confidence Level: High)

Affiliations

METHODS OF OPERATION

As in past years, the most frequently utilized European/Eurasian collection MO in FY08 remained direct request for information, now representing 73 percent of overall collection attempts, a dramatic increase from previous years. The combined categories of direct request and the second MO most frequently observed, solicitation and seeking employment, together accounted for over 80 percent of all reported incidents involving suspicious entities. These two methods to obtain United States technology dwarfed all other collection methods, and predominately targeted aeronautics and laser technology.

Analyst Comment: There is little indication that European/Eurasian actors are likely to change the manner of their principal overt collection efforts targeting industry. It is highly likely collectors from this region will continue to augment covert collections with relatively low-risk, high-gain requests for information, price quotes, or purchase requests via the Internet in a broadly-based effort to obtain access to sensitive information and technologies. (Confidence Level: High)

Not to be overlooked in FY08, the third most prolific MO, suspicious Internet activity, continued to play a role in European/Eurasian technology collection similar to targeting from the leading East Asia and Pacific cyber collectors. European/Eurasian cyber hosts frequently utilized intrusions and potential pre-attack targeting as cyber techniques. These cyber MOs were consistent with previous years’ reporting concerning the use of socially engineered malicious emails and probe activity. (Note: Socially engineered emails, or “spear phishing” emails, are specially crafted emails designed to trick the recipient into opening a malicious attachment, possibly giving the intruder host or network access. Probe activity is likely indicative of cyber reconnaissance conducted against a victim network.)5 Analyst Comment: Although the frequency of reported overt collection attempts declined from the Europe and Eurasia region in FY08, it is likely suspicious actors working in or through this region sought other means of collection to offset traditional techniques. Cyber attacks on defense industry likely provide another avenue of approach to target critical information and technology. (Confidence Level: High)

Methods of Operation

TARGETED TECHNOLOGIES

Collectors from the Europe and Eurasia region continued to target essentially the same technologies they have since FY04, with only minor variations in collection priority. The most significant change in this reporting period was in the targeting of information systems technology. In previous years, information systems was the most targeted category with collectors primarily focused on encryption and modeling software; however in FY08, aeronautics technology moved into first place as the most commonly targeted technology with a focus on UAV components. European/Eurasian entities sought all aspect of UAV technology ranging from complete systems, payloads, optics and sensors, to global positioning systems (GPS) in an effort to enhance return-to-home functions.

Analyst comment: It is likely entities originating from Europe and Eurasia increased aeronautics technology targeting with the intent to boost UAV production and focus on developing UAV technology. This collection priority is not likely to abate in the near future, given Europe and Eurasia’s desire to enhance and continue development of their indigenous UAV programs. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

Targeted Technologies

ANALYTICAL FORECAST

Despite a challenging economic environment, European/Eurasian entities will likely continue to pursue military modernization technologies and indigenous research and development competencies. The continued pursuit of dual-use technologies focused on UAV technological advancement will likely drive overall collection attempts in the next year. However, combined targeting of information systems and positioning, navigation, and time technology will also likely continue as a subset of aeronautics technology collection. The desire for technology components like GPS-aided inertial navigation system software, vehicle control programs, sensors, and radars may greatly enhance Europe and Eurasia’s already burgeoning UAV program. It is highly likely these collectors will continue to focus on not only these payload technologies, but also on efforts to create smaller, rucksack-portable platforms. (Confidence Level: High)

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