There have been many charges of hacking leveled at China over the last few years: from hacking reporters email accounts to sinking acquisition deals to stealing trade secrets to trying to gain access to critical infrastructure control systems.
According to security firm Mandiant, China has now been proven guilty (caught red-handed) on the charge of hacking entities within the United States. How should we respond as a nation? Is this is big deal or simply a nuisance? Here to help you decide is the DailyTekk Think Tank. Be sure to leave us a comment to let us know what you think!
America Should Be Proactive
Instead of being mad, the American government should be proactive and put a priority on cyber security and beefing up our defenses. I don’t think the general public realizes how dependent we are on computers and networks in the control and automation of major systems. Our massive electrical grid, communications and financial networks are heavily dependent on complicated network systems. These are all prime targets of sophisticated overseas hackers.
What makes the China situation so egregious is the hacking activity is condoned and even supported by the Chinese government. If China expects to be friendly trading partners with the United States, they need to stop this behavior and the United States needs to start taking cyber security seriously and truly make it a national security priority.
Don’t Add Fuel to the Fire
Cyberarms retaliation against China would only add fuel to the “cyber Cold War.” Instead, American companies and government should focus not only on better defending their most vulnerable networks and rolling out official rules of engagement, but also on encouraging the creation of a mandatory international cyberarms control agreement.
As California Senator Dianne Feinstein pointed out this week, we have long had international agreements to police war crimes, but no such agreements or legislation to govern cyberwar. It’s high time we create them and soon.
Meanwhile, not many people are talking about this in the wake of China’s alleged cyber attacks, but America has engaged in its fair share of cyber espionage and attacks, too, and even owns up to both as a critical facets of national security. Stuxnet, the computer virus that the U.S. used to annihilate Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility in 2010, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Kim Lachance Shandrow (@lashandrow) is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about social media marketing, startups, smartphones, streaming TV, mobile apps and green technology.
We should be mad enough to demand extradition of those responsible. Hacking isn’t just annoying and disruptive: it costs businesses money. If left unchecked, hacking can destroy small businesses and weaken large companies, ultimately undermining the economy as a whole. Stealing is stealing: it’s no different than if a U.S. hacker were to break into a Chinese company’s network and steal the plans for a new smartphone — it’s a crime. Governments need to cooperate to bring hackers to justice. There are instances in which hacking is used not for profit, but to make a political point. We saw this in the case of Aaron Swartz, who hacked copyrighted academic articles and made them available for free. The laws on the books could use refinement to address instances like the Swartz case differently than instances in which theft or terrorism is the objective, but we all share an interest in protecting our economy and the intellectual property of our citizens. We need to secure our infrastructure, and pay close attention to how sensitive information is handled, particularly as the workforce becomes increasingly remote.
Kerry O’Shea Gorgone (@KerryGorgone) is an attorney, new media specialist, and educator teaching Internet marketing at Full Sail University in Florida.