Haugh: Biggest cyber threat to U.S. is Chinese intellectual property targeting

By Briana Reilly / October 8, 2021 at 2:26 PM

The head of the 16th Air Force sees China’s targeting of U.S. intellectual property as the biggest -- if not as visible -- cyber threat that’s facing the nation.

Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, the commander of the group that focuses on intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber and network operations, said today while it’s among “some of the threats that we’re not seeing,” the issue is “the long-term challenge” for the U.S.

“The targeting of our industry and our economy to be able to pull back intellectual property is probably the most insidious threat that’s out there in terms of its sustained activity,” he said during a discussion at the online Billington CyberSecurity Summit.

He noted recent occurrences like the hacking of Colonial Pipeline Co. have “made cybersecurity a little more apparent to the general population.” While he said officials working in the realm already knew that threat existed, “it really became apparent to everyone what that looks like.”

Going forward, he stressed the importance of continuing to rely on and build public-private partnerships and leveraging those to find existing vulnerabilities “and collaborate to close them.”