Hacking efforts
U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees work during a guided media tour inside the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Virginia on June 26, 2014. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

A coalition of technology companies says that it has exposed a hacking campaign linked to Chinese intelligence in an effort to show that the private sector could be more effective than federal agencies in addressing cybersecurity issues. The agency found that the hacks, including one on Google Inc. in 2010, had used sophisticated spying tools traced back to China.

The attacks had led to the theft of some of the most valuable American technologies and, according to the report, malicious codes used by the hackers have been removed from 43,000 computers since Oct. 14. The coalition's members, which include Microsoft Corp, Symantec Corp, Cisco Inc., FireEye Inc., and iSight Partners, have banded together against Chinese hackers suspected of stealing information from American, Asian and European governments, technology manufacturers and companies for nearly six years, Bloomberg reported.

“We believe this is a first-of-its-kind effort,” Peter LaMontagne, CEO of Novetta Solutions LLC, a cybersecurity company based in McLean, Virginia, which is a part of the coalition, said according to Bloomberg, adding: “The security industry is starting to raise the bar, or hopefully forcing hostile actors to have to spend more of their resources” to continue attacks.

Private companies have repeatedly complained, according to Bloomberg, that government officials have not made much headway in reducing the threat of hacking from state-sponsored cybercriminals.

The report follows an FBI warning to manufacturers of microchips, computer networking equipment and data storage services, alerting them of hacking attempts to steal information. The warning follows an U.S. indictment in May against five Chinese military officials for stealing trade secrets from American companies.

“The FBI has recently observed online intrusions that we attribute to Chinese government affiliated actors,” Joshua Campbell, an FBI spokesperson, said in an e-mail, according to Bloomberg, adding: “Private-sector security firms have also identified similar intrusions and have released defensive information related to those intrusions.”