The director of the National Security Agency (NSA) Gen. Keith Alexander told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the organization was certain that China was behind the RSA attack carried out last year.
According to InformationWeek, Alexander pointed the finger at China for a lot of attacks that targeted the US’s military secrets, but refused to provide any other details.
“I can't go into the specifics here, but we do see [thefts] from defense industrial base companies. There are some very public [attacks], though. The most recent one was the RSA exploits,” he told Senate.
“The ability to do it against a company like RSA is such a high-order capability that, if they can do it against RSA, that makes other companies vulnerable,” he explained.
Back in October 2011, at the RSA conference in London, the company’s President Tom Heiser revealed that the investigations made by the FBI, the DHS and UK law enforcement agencies, led them to believe that two unnamed hacker crews were behind the attacks.
At the time he stated that they suspected that the ones responsible were government-funded, but they failed to name a certain country.
Now, the NSA chief once again admitted that the government was experiencing major difficulties in protecting its classified intellectual property. He believes that in order to develop proper attack mitigation systems, the state needs to work better with the private sector.
He provided an example in which an adversary was trying to steal 3 gigabytes of data from a Department of Defense contractor from another country, but the communications with the attacked organization were “too manual” and not much could be done to come to its aid.
“I think that industry should have the ability to see these attacks and share them with us in real time. It's like neighborhood watch. Somebody is breaking into a bank, and somebody needs to be in touch with the police to stop it,” Alexander added.