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TOMORROW'S WORLD
23 Apr 2013
THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TAKES ON CHINESE CYBERWARFARE

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, announced that Chinese and American diplomats would be meeting to have explicit discussions about cyberwar, but the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the political back-and-forth started behind closed doors in January of this year. However, China seems to be playing coy — at least publicly. Geng Shuang, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy, came out publicly against accusations of Chinese cyberattacks. He even went as far as to say that China is interested in cooperating with countries around the world to “safeguard peace and security of the cyberspace on the basis of mutual respect.”

China’s cyberattacks against the United States aren’t new. Not long ago, the US congress revealed that China had actually interfered with US satellites numerous times. It’s scary stuff, but the US isn’t simply just an innocent victim here — it partakes in its fair share of cyberattacks. The US has been accused of attacking Iran, France, and obviously China itself. While the United States government is well within its rights to prevent China from causing problems and snooping around, we do run the risk of stoking the flames if we get too aggressive. If the Obama administration is willing to brazenly discuss overt retaliation, Chinese-American relations will undoubtedly suffer.

Current and former US officials are coming out of the woodwork to discuss how volatile the situation is with China. US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has even gone on record as saying that cyberwar is the most substantial threat to our security. Now that this topic is being broached publicly, the government is exploring options to force China’s hand. Complaining to the World Trade Organization and imposing trade sanctions is certainly a possibility, but that could have serious consequences. China’s economy is closely tied to ours. It’s impossible to even go a whole day without relying on technology and goods from China. Protecting our cybersecurity is important, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of our whole economy.

The US is navigating a minefield with this escalating battle with China. If left unchecked, China could cause crippling damage. If provoked, China could start a game of chicken with our economies. One serious misstep and international relations could take a major blow. Much like the Cold War, both sides could be severely damaged if things spiral out of control. As bad as these potential outcomes might be, at least we aren’t dealing with outright annihilation — just destruction of the economic kind.

source:  www.extremetech.com

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