American think tanks are key targets in a furious wave of cyber-espionage aimed at U.S. government and business by China and other countries, according to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Think tanks provide important research, strategy and support on policy formulation for U.S. leaders in the White House, Pentagon, Congress, State Department and federal agencies. Their ranks of scholars are populated by former and potentially future government officials.
James Andrew Lewis, a senior fellow and director of technology and public policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that during the transition to the Obama administration in 2008 and 2009 some people moving from think tanks and the private sector into the administration had their e-mail accounts hacked. He said the hackers were looking for information to help build profiles on those who were about to serve in the government.
If you know a person is going into DoD (Department of Defense) and they are right now working on a crummy unclassified system, that is a great target, Lewis said.
Source: USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/04/think-tanks-cyberattacks-china-hacking/1600269/