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US vulnerability to high tech espionage

This is a discussion on US vulnerability to high tech espionage within the Space & Defense Technology forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; The latest in the never ending string of the Russian spy busts in US, this case involved high tech transfers. ...


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Old November 4th, 2012   #1
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US vulnerability to high tech espionage

The latest in the never ending string of the Russian spy busts in US, this case involved high tech transfers. The very simple (as an idea, though implementation and operation are more challenging), but clearly effective scheme is described in this Dept of Justice filing with a court.

It appears to be alarmingly simple to implement such an operation in the US. There is no reason to believe that this was a singular event. The tech transfer controls work only if the producer companies know where their products are going. The apparent ease with which they can be misled is an invitation to Russia, China, and whoever else wishes to obtain cutting edge technologies in the semiconductor (and other) businesses of the US.

Although it is anyone's guess what the extent of this kind of espionage is in reality, it is interesting to speculate what other uses the controlled US technologies may find in Russia and China (probably the bulk of this business). This particular case points to anti-ship missile technologies, plus MiG-35 avionics - all microchip and other transistor tech-related.

It would also be interesting to discuss the extent of the reverse activity - illegal use of Russian (and maybe Chinese) technologies in the West.

federalcrimesblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/letter-to-the-court-moving-for-a-permanent-order-of-detention.pdf
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Old November 5th, 2012   #2
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Originally Posted by PhysicsMan View Post
The latest in the never ending string of the Russian spy busts in US, this case involved high tech transfers. The very simple (as an idea, though implementation and operation are more challenging), but clearly effective scheme is described in this Dept of Justice filing with a court.

It appears to be alarmingly simple to implement such an operation in the US. There is no reason to believe that this was a singular event. The tech transfer controls work only if the producer companies know where their products are going. The apparent ease with which they can be misled is an invitation to Russia, China, and whoever else wishes to obtain cutting edge technologies in the semiconductor (and other) businesses of the US.

Although it is anyone's guess what the extent of this kind of espionage is in reality, it is interesting to speculate what other uses the controlled US technologies may find in Russia and China (probably the bulk of this business). This particular case points to anti-ship missile technologies, plus MiG-35 avionics - all microchip and other transistor tech-related.

It would also be interesting to discuss the extent of the reverse activity - illegal use of Russian (and maybe Chinese) technologies in the West.

federalcrimesblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/letter-to-the-court-moving-for-a-permanent-order-of-detention.pdf
This has been going on for litteraly decades. The Chinese and Soviets before them have basicly had open access to much US tech. Most of their problems were in reproducing it. It usually was harder to do for them for a variety of reason. Like the chinese problems with jet engines and such.
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Old November 6th, 2012   #3
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This has been going on for litteraly decades. The Chinese and Soviets before them have basicly had open access to much US tech. Most of their problems were in reproducing it. It usually was harder to do for them for a variety of reason. Like the chinese problems with jet engines and such.
This appears to be a case of illegal export of products for assembly rather than espionage to allow them to be reverse engineered.

The problem with duplicating a high tech item are you also need to duplicate all the technologies required to create it. Critical technologies are often not obvious, an example was back in the 70s and 80s the USSR was duplicating ICs (integrated circuits) stolen from the US, but could never achieve a commercially acceptable yield because it did not occur to them to steal the clean room technology developed to achieve it. Another would be the software used in mold design for hot isostatic pressing required to make modern turbine blades, which are proprietary to each manufacturer and therefore extremely resistant of espionage.
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Old November 6th, 2012   #4
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This appears to be a case of illegal export of products for assembly rather than espionage to allow them to be reverse engineered.
One of the clients is listed as an FSB technology company of sorts. As far as I know, FSB is not in the business of manufacturing stuff, so it's possible that at least some of the products were intended for reverse engineering.
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Old November 6th, 2012   #5
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This has been going on for litteraly decades. The Chinese and Soviets before them have basicly had open access to much US tech. Most of their problems were in reproducing it. It usually was harder to do for them for a variety of reason. Like the chinese problems with jet engines and such.
One important difference between those times and now is that the trade with Russia (and China) is now much freer and ubiquitous. The opportunities for setting up such schemes unnoticed are far better now.
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Old November 7th, 2012   #6
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This appears to be a case of illegal export of products for assembly rather than espionage to allow them to be reverse engineered.

The problem with duplicating a high tech item are you also need to duplicate all the technologies required to create it. Critical technologies are often not obvious, an example was back in the 70s and 80s the USSR was duplicating ICs (integrated circuits) stolen from the US, but could never achieve a commercially acceptable yield because it did not occur to them to steal the clean room technology developed to achieve it. Another would be the software used in mold design for hot isostatic pressing required to make modern turbine blades, which are proprietary to each manufacturer and therefore extremely resistant of espionage.
Hmm thats interesting i didnt know that one.

I've always heard that the russians were more into software than hardware anyways.

Part of the problem is how to keep certain things secure when so much is spread around. Though i think it actucally helps in some ways when parts are made everywhere. Instead of breaking into the computers or getting the tech for ne factory or lab you must break into several different ones all of which are hardened agaisnt corporate sabatoge and such anyways.
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