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A Deeper Look at Silicon Valley’s Spy Wars

Foreign companies have been stealing secrets for decades.

Foreign companies have been stealing secrets from tech companies for decades. Employees at companies from Twitter to SpaceX privately told Vanity Fair that they suspect spies work within the company, stealing corporate secrets, plans for new technologies, or entire servers full of code to replicate.

The CEO at one Silicon Valley company said that there was “no question” that Russian and Chinese agents worked at the company, but it was impossible to know who they were or prove that they were foreign agents.

Trade secrets in Silicon Valley are guarded with astounding security, but the recent congressional hearings with Mark Zuckerberg made it apparent that companies like Facebook and Google likely have more data on citizens around the globe than any national security agency, potentially even the NSA. But after the cyber-hacking that took place at Brexit and during the 2016 U.S. election, some in Silicon Valley are worried that protecting their servers from outside intruders actually just drove spies to get into the company in the old-fashioned way: By working inside big tech companies.

Back in the 70s and 80s, spies from other countries were constantly trying to steal the plans for computer chips and infrastructure systems, Vanity Fair reports. In the late 80s, Soviet and Chinese intelligence agents were frequently trying to get Valley engineers to turn over files about micro-electronics or software that was being used by the military.

“This has all been part and parcel of Silicon Valley since I’ve been covering in the 1970s,” John Markoff, the veteran New York Times technology reporter, said, according to Vanity Fair. 

Read the full story at Vanity Fair