Foreign Spies Targeting U.S. Universities
National security officials have become alarmed at the growing signs that foreign intelligence services are spying on American institutions of higher education.
Efforts to penetrate U.S. research institutions have increased over the past five years, reports Bloomberg.com. Other countries are placing academics in universities under the guise of conducting legitimate research to access developing technologies and sensitive, classified and proprietary information.
According to a statement released by the FBI, the open environment of U.S. campuses of higher education may be misused in order to:
- Steal technical information or products
- Bypass expensive research and development
- Recruit individuals for espionage
- Exploit the student visa program for improper purposes
- Spread false information for political or other reasons
To accomplish one or more of the above goals, duplicitous or opportunistic actors or organizations may use a variety of methods such as:
- Conduct computer intrusions
- Collect sensitive research
- Utilize students or visiting professors to collect information
- Spot and recruit students or professors
- Send unsolicited email or invitations
- Send spies for language and cultural training, and to establish credentials
- Fund or establish programs at a university
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