Chinese spies have stolen Dutch chip maker ASML’s trade secrets: Report

Chinese spies have stolen Dutch chip maker ASML’s trade secrets: Report

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In a shocking development, Dutch ASML‘ trade secrets have been stolen by Chinese spies in its U.S unit, causing millions of euros worth of damage, reports Het Financieele Dagblad.

As per the business newspaper, this was the largest espionage case ever at a Dutch company. According to the report, confidential information including source code, software and other details have been deciphered by senior Research and Development staff who allegedly has ties with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology.

It seems the perpetrators had access to the internal networks of the ASML establishment in San Jose in the United States for years. Notably, the confidential information was passed on to XTAL, a competitor of ASML, which was established in 2014.

Furthermore, the report from Het Financieele Dagblad added that the company would receive financial support from China, in an attempt to cement its position in the chip market. Having said that, with the stolen information, the company has already managed to hijack clients including Samsung.

The Dutch semiconductor-equipment maker said it discovered the perpetrators and took legal action. “This concerns a small part of our company in Silicon Valley where software programs for machine optimization are developed. There is no question of theft of blueprints, which would enable third parties to build a lithography machine,” ASML said.

Moreover, ASML spokeswoman said that the company could never find evidence linked to the Chinese government as such. Reportedly, the company was fined by a judge in the US state of California of 223 million dollars (206.3 million euros).

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