FBI director compares Chinese hackers to 'drunken burglars'

FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyJohn Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges Trump DOJ officials sought to block search of Giuliani records: report Tina Fey, Amy Poehler to host Golden Globes from separate coasts amid pandemic MORE compared hackers from China to a "drunken burglar," saying they are more prolific than good.

China is responsible for the most cyberattacks in the United States, Comey said, costing U.S. companies billions of dollars. 


"I liken them a bit to a drunk burglar. They're kickin' in the front door, knocking over the vase, while they're walking out with your television set," he said during an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday. "They're just prolific. Their strategy seems to be, ‘We'll just be everywhere all the time. And there's no way they can stop us.’”

The FBI director said most of the attacks are aimed at stealing intellectual property from U.S. companies "so they don't have to invent," or to get an upper hand in negotiations. 

"There are two kinds of big companies in the United States," he said. "There are those who've been hacked by the Chinese and those who don't know they've been hacked by the Chinese."

Comey touted his bureau's indictment of five members of the Chinese military over cyber spying in May. At the time, the FBI charged members of the People's Liberation Army for targeting a range of U.S. companies, though it is unlikely the Chinese-based individuals will ever be tried in the United States. 

The FBI is investigating a separate hacking incident at JPMorgan Chase, in which information was stolen from more than 75 million accounts. The “60 Minutes” interview took place prior to reports about the extent of that attack. 

Comey said the public should sleep well knowing the United States is much more secure since 9/11.

"We are better in every way that you’d want us to be since 9/11," he said. "We’re not perfect. My philosophy as a leader is we are never good enough.  But we are in a much better place than we were 13 years ago."