The report said the Near East, comprised of Iran, Israel, Libya, Saudi Arabia and other countries, is the second most active region, with 18% of all reported cyberattacks. Europe accounted for about 15% of the attempted attacks since 2007, while South and Central Asian countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were said pose a moderate cyber threat over the next few years.
John Pescatore, director of emerging security trends at the SANS Institute, said that while there's little doubt that China is actively engaged in cyber intelligence collection activities, the U.S and its allies are as well.
He noted that China's focus is on stealing industrial and trade secrets to close gaps in its own capabilities. That focus compares to the Soviet Union's effort to steal U.S trade secrets during the cold war.
Pesactore previously worked for the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
Traditionally, the U.S hasn't had to widely engage in industrial espionage because its capabilities have been well ahead of countries like China. Instead, its intelligence gathering efforts have been focused more on defense and security related goals, and more recently, counter-terrorism objectives, Pescatore said.
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan, or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about cyberwarfare in Computerworld's Cyberwarfare Topic Center.