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Article updated: 2/20/2013 6:30 AM

Commercial cyber spying offers rich payoff

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In this Nov. 7, 2012 photo, U.S. and Chinese national flags are hung outside a hotel during the U.S. Presidential election event, organized by the U.S. embassy in Beijing. As public evidence mounts that the Chinese military is responsible for stealing massive amounts of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets, the Obama administration is eyeing fines and other trade actions it may take .

Associated Press

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For state-backed cyber spies such as a Chinese military unit implicated by a U.S. security firm in a computer crime wave, hacking foreign companies can produce high-value secrets ranging from details on oil fields to advanced manufacturing technology. This week's report by Mandiant Inc. adds to mounting suspicion that Chinese military experts are helping state industry by stealing secrets from Western companies possibly worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The Chinese military has denied involvement in the attacks.
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