In the report, officials said foreign intelligence services have used independent hackers as proxies, thereby giving the agencies “plausible deniability.”
It also accused the Chinese of being “the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage.”
Attacks from Russia are a “distant second” to those from China, according to the report. But it said Moscow’s intelligence services are “conducting a range of activities to collect economic information and technology from U.S. targets.”
Officials said other nations they would not name are also suspect, and the report suggested that U.S. allies may be using their access to American institutions to acquire economic and technology information.
The report said some of the most desired data includes communications and military technologies, clean energy, health care, pharmaceuticals and information about scarce natural resources. Of particular note, the report said, is interest in unmanned aircraft and other aerospace technology.
U.S. officials have called for greater communication about cyberthreats among the government, intelligence agencies and the private sector, which owns or controls as much as 85 percent of computer networks. The Pentagon has begun a pilot program that is working with a group of defense contractors to help detect and block cyberattacks.
The report, issued by the national intelligence director’s office of the counterintelligence executive, comes out every two years and includes information from 14 spy agencies, academics and other experts.
• Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.
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