China is eventually going to use the information it has stolen by hacking to target America's intelligence community, a former House Intelligence Committee chairman said on Monday.
"They are developing a huge database on your most personal intimate information, and then they're going to break it up, and we know this. I'm highly confident this is what's happening, let's put it that way," former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who chaired the committee from 2011 to January, told attendees at the 2015 Cybersecurity Nexus North America Conference in Washington, D.C.
Rogers was referencing China's effort to steal information on Americans through hacking, including the breach of the Office of Personnel Management, which resulted in the theft of personnel files on more than 21 million who have applied for security clearances from the U.S. government. He said China will use the information to personalize phishing emails to individuals who have access to sensitive information.
"They're going to be able to identify people over time," Rogers said, and "start isolating people by where they live, and maybe possibly where they work." He said that even prior to the OPM breach, "90 percent of all successful Chinese penetrations" into American networks were the result of phishing emails.
The New York Post reported on Sunday that an American teen accessed accounts owned by Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson using a similar social engineering scheme. Rogers said the ability to hack American officials in such a manner, without requiring any resources, represented a significant problem.