Targeting U.S. Technologies

Analytical Forecast

Maintaining competitiveness, whether militarily or economically, requires access to and application of the latest technologies. Developing innovative technology requires time and resources; some countries save both time and money by pilfering technology developed by others. Foreign collectors, whether they are government, commercial, or other entities, will likely attempt to steal technology to gain a military or economic advantage. The need for technology and the willingness of some to acquire it through nefarious means will probably continue and grow for the foreseeable future. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

U.S. cleared contractors will almost certainly continue to be the prime target of foreign intelligence entities (FIE) seeking to obtain the latest technologies. FIE will very likely target the entire spectrum of technology to improve their countries' military capabilities, develop countermeasures to U.S. and other western systems, or introduce rival systems into the commercial market. (Confidence Level: High)

Information systems (IS) technology remained the perennial favored target of FIE targeting cleared industry in fiscal year 2010, and IS technology will likely remain the most sought after technology for the foreseeable future. U.S. dominance in the development and application of IS makes U.S. cleared industry an attractive target for foreign entities seeking the latest in IS hardware and software technology. Foreign collectors will likely continue to target U.S. technologies relating to lasers, optics, and sensors (LO&S) and aeronautics systems. While IS, LO&S, and aeronautics systems will probably remain the favored technologies, U.S. cleared industry must remain vigilant to protect all sensitive or classified information and technology against likely collection attempts. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

Although requests for information will very likely remain the most common method of operation, foreign entities will almost certainly increase their use of suspicious network activity (SNA) and academic solicitation. The dependence on IS for project development, information storage, and communication creates vulnerabilities for systems connected to the Internet. With the convenience of the Internet comes vulnerability to computer network exploitation by sophisticated adversaries. Due to the availability of vast amounts of data stored on systems and networks connected to the Internet, foreign entities will almost certainly continue and likely increase their attempts to exploit the Internet to illicitly and covertly obtain information from cleared industry. (Confidence Level: High)

Commercial entities will likely remain the most active collector affiliation. However, it is likely that the number of entities categorized as unknown will increase. The anonymity of the Internet and its applications, such as email and web cards, allows collectors to hide their identities. This, combined with the difficulty of tracing sophisticated cyber attacks, points toward the likelihood of an increase in the number of attempted collections that the Defense Security Service will classify as being of unknown affiliation. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

U.S. cleared contractors will continue to develop advanced and highly sought after technologies. This makes them the primary target for foreign entities seeking to improve their country's abilities or to simply profit from pirating the technology. The pervasive threat to U.S. technology is likely to continue for the foreseeable future; collectors will probably take advantage of any avenue that provides them access to cutting-edge technology. Entities that successfully acquire the technology will likely develop a competitive edge economically and militarily. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

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