Industrial espionage: How China got hold of US tech secrets – BBC News Brasil

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The true extent of commercial espionage is unknown, but experts say it’s ‘widespread’

A seemingly innocent photograph led to the downfall of Zheng Xiaoqing, a former employee of energy industry conglomerate General Electric Power.

Zheng is a US citizen. According to the US Department of Justice indictment, he hid confidential files stolen from his employer in the binary code of a digital photograph of a sunset, which he forwarded to himself.

The technique is called steganography, a way of hiding a data file in the code of another file. Zheng has used the technique several times to remove sensitive files from GE, a multinational conglomerate known for its operations in healthcare, energy and aerospace, which makes everything from refrigerators to aircraft engines.

The information Zheng stole concerned the design and manufacture of gas and steam turbines, including turbine blades and gaskets. Valued in the millions, the information was sent to his accomplice in China, where it would be used to benefit the Chinese government as well as companies and universities located in China.

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