Thursday, April 25, 2013

Should the U.S. Fight Fire with Rhetoric – or Fire?

Hackers affiliated with the Chinese government were “by far the most energetic and successful cyberspies in the world last year,” according to a recently issued report.

The 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report was issued by Verizon’s RISK Team and 18 partners, including officials from the United States and several foreign governments. Although cyber intrusions with financial motives are the most common source of data breaches worldwide, China dominated the category of state-affiliated cyber-espionage of intellectual property.

This report and others (including the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate) confirm China’s success in penetrating U.S. networks to access proprietary and top secret military information. Here are my conclusions:

· U.S. cyber defenses are largely ineffective against Chinese attacks.

· U.S. military plans and corporate intellectual property are important to China’s plans for continued economic and military growth.

· China will not acknowledge the attacks and cannot be talked down.

A front page Wall Street Journal article on April 22, “U.S. Eyes Pushback On China Hacking,” talks about increasing diplomatic pressure, trade sanctions, and perhaps cyber countermeasures.

Let’s be honest: the only viable defense under these circumstances is a strong offense. Each time American interests are confronted with clear Chinese attacks, the U.S. must strike back – hard. U.S. cyber defense initiatives should become much more proactive and offensive nature if we are going to see a decrease in foreign cyberattacks of all types.

Agree or disagree?  Let me know.

("Virtual Tanks Protecting Computer Data" image: Victor Habbick/

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