China Is In The Cyber Crosshairs: Government Computer News

On October 28th, 2011, William Jackson wrote for Government Computer News on how it is increasingly apparent that China is behind a lot of hacking and espionage that is going on in the United States, and whether an international response is called for.  Although there are always attribution problems, the article notes that China hosts almost 90% of more than 300 command-and-control computers involved in hacking against the US.  Further, the article notes a video statement posted by White House cybersecurity adviser Richard Clarke in which Clarke said that the Chinese are "involved in hacking into American companies and taking that information and giving it to Chinese companies.”  The video is below.


Jackson finds that China's involvement in hacking is hardly shocking.  The bigger problem is what the US is going to do about it.  NATO and US Cyber Command are working on rules of war for cyberattacks that are based on equivalency, but China is engaged in espionage, not cyberwar.  Although espionage is illegal, it is not warfare.  Jackson argues that an international program to establish and enforce norms for behavior in cyberspace is needed, and cites the Obama administration's International Strategy for Cyberspace as a framework that can establish norms like respect for property and multi-stakeholder governance.  If the international community were to adopt such a framework, it could then respond to bad actors like China through a combination of censures and sanctions.  Until then, Jackson concludes that the best approach is for countries to continue defending their systems.  

The source article can be found here.

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

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Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

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