Hack Attack: China and the U.S. Trade Barbs on Cyberwarfare

On March 11, U.S. National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon said that Chinese hacking had become a “key point of concern” in bilateral relations.

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Carlos Barria / REUTERS

Locals walk in front of 'Unit 61398', a secretive Chinese military unit, in the outskirts of Shanghai February 19, 2013. The unit is believed to be behind a series of hacking attacks.

The gloves are off. For years, the White House has danced around the sensitive topic of Chinese hacking into American computer systems that is believed to have compromised everything from electrical grids to the email accounts of researchers focusing on China’s human-rights record. Public finger-pointing at Chinese hackers has been left largely to the American legislative branch or to private Western cyber-security firms like Mandiant or McAfee, which have produced reports linking the Chinese military to online espionage. Even when U.S. President Barack Obama warned of the dangers of cyberwarfare in his State of the Union Address last month and then issued an executive order to protect America’s online borders, he declined to specifically name China as an offender.

No more. On March 11, U.S. National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon said that Chinese hacking had become a “key point of concern” in bilateral relations. “Increasingly, U.S. businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber-intrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale,” Donilon said in remarks to the Asia Society, a non-profit organization based in New York. “The international community cannot afford to tolerate such activity from any country.”

For its part, China has consistently denied any state-sponsored hacking campaign. Only two days before Donilon’s speech, China’s outgoing Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi lashed out at the U.S. for the recent drumbeat of accusations blaming China for cyber-attacks. “Anyone who tries to fabricate or piece together a sensational story to serve a political motive will not be able to blacken the name of others or whitewash themselves,” he said at a news conference during the National People’s Congress, the annual Chinese leadership confab currently underway in Beijing. Yang went on to call for increased regulation of this new frontier: “Cyberspace needs not war, but rules and cooperation. We oppose cyberspace becoming a new battlefield, and to using the Internet as a new tool to interfere in another country’s internal affairs.”

To finish reading this article from TIME World, click here.

(MORE: China’s Red Hackers: The Tale of One Patriotic Cyberwarrior)

8 comments
be_good_be_kind
be_good_be_kind

Bloodthirsty American unending desire for war and blood on other people soil.  Nobel Peace President and assassination.  Americans are making a mockery out of human rights and democracy.  It is pretty sad that the US, with it many listening post and CIA operation spying on other country, inciting revolution and sowing discord, can have the straight face to talk about spying.  

RobinLeedsburg
RobinLeedsburg

Boo! US stop trying to start new wars! You already invaded Iraq! Now you want Syria. And now you're threatening China, North Korea, Russia! Come on now. You didn't exactly win in Vietnam or Korea, now you want this!

AndrewConteTrib
AndrewConteTrib

%s Are they sincere? China on %s attacks: “We would like to work with the U.S.” %slAv

MrBenGhazi
MrBenGhazi

Fun when you're the one being the bully right China? Not so much when people fight back?

Buckle up junior, American hackers are going to give you hell.

AfGuy
AfGuy

I can't wait for this to hit the Sunday talk shows.

Then the headlines will be "Hacks Discuss Hacking and Hackers".

English is a wonderful language...

AfGuy
AfGuy

@ZacPetit 

Nice thought... but remember who we buy our microchips from... and who programmed them.  I have the sneaking suspicion that the REVEALED hacking by China is just the tip of the iceberg of what they might do.

AfGuy
AfGuy

@ZacPetit @AfGuy 

Well, you might want to consider the possibility, rather than simply waving the flag and cheering that our patriotic hackers are better than theirs. Because that part of the world is the manufacturing source of MOST of our processors, since they're MUCH CHEAPER to make there.

My degree is in Computer Science.  A BIG chunk of the grad students where I went to school were Chinese. They wouldn't have been HERE in school if they weren't the best and brightest that country had.

And, in case you haven't noticed, it is generally accepted that the infrastructure security of most of our defense industry has already been penetrated.