As reported by CBS News on February 11, Chinese attacks on American computer sites are heavily oriented toward cyber espionage to obtain U.S. military secrets and cyber theft to obtain commercial trade secrets for Chinese economic gain. These attacks pose a serious threat to national security.
The problem with these threats is that the United States has absolutely no effective means to stop such attacks, or in many instances know that the attacks occurred at all. As detailed in our Semi-Annual Review: Cyuberwarfare 2012-2013, there are seven forces driving cyberwarfare, of which cyber espionage is a part. These Chinese attacks are succeeding and will continue to succeed because four of these forces are in play: Espionage is a major thrust for nation-states such as China, America's computing networks are becoming more, not less, vulnerable, U.S. cyber borders are largely unprotected, and finally, American military and commercial enterprises have no 'Active Defense' capabilities which detect and stop attacks from occurring. [You may request your copy of this Report on the right of this web page.]
These vulnerabilities are years from being addressed. The current attacks involve theft, not interruption or destruction of operations. Could the Chinese progress to this stage? The answer is a categorical "yes." If you are successfully inside computer systems, you are a few steps from having the capability to control or at least interrupt those systems.
Will China take their intrusions to the levels of interruption or destruction? Not unless they want a war on their hands.
So, in our opinion, the United States does have the makings of a new Cold War with China on the horizon, and currently no way to stop it.