China the world's 'most sophisticated' hacker, says Google's Eric Schmidt

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China's state-sanctioned cybercrime is a global "menace" according to Eric Schmidt, Google (NasdaqGS: GOOG - news) 's executive chairman, as he predicts a revolution in the country in the coming decades in his latest book.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, has described China as the most “sophisticated and prolific” hacker of foreign companies in his upcoming book, according to leaked extracts.

“The disparity between American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and the companies of the United States at a distinct disadvantage," Mr Schmidt wrote, according to the Wall Street Journal . He argues that the Chinese state backed cyber crime for economic and political gain, making it the biggest online menace in the world.

“The New Digital Age” co-written with Jared Cohen, a former US government adviser, will be published in April (Paris: FR0004037125 - news) by Random House.

“The disparity between American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and the companies of the United States at a distinct disadvantage,” because “the United States will not take the same path of digital corporate espionage, as its laws are much stricter (and better enforced) and because illicit competition violate the American sense of fair play,” the book claims.

However, the book also acknowledges that the US is also flawed, highlighting the country’s role in the Stuxnet virus, which accidentally spread across the internet in 2010. The virus was originally created by the US and Israeli governments to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Mr Schmidt and Mr Cohen come close to suggesting that western governments imitate China so they are not disadvantaged by its activities. They also say that the spread of Chinese technology around the world increases the influence of the Chinese government.

“Where Huawei gains market share, the influence and reach of China grow as well,” Mr Schmidt says.

However, the authors also argued that the spread of technology could destabilise the authoritarian central government.

“This mix of active citizens armed with technological devices and tight government control is exceptionally volatile,” the books notes, something which could lead to “widespread instability”. This will lead to “some kind of revolution in the coming decades”.

On Saturday the Washington Post became the third US newspaper in recent days to say it had been targeted in a cyber-attack which it believed had originated in China.