Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Report: U.S. May Escalate Response to Chinese Cyberespionage

A new report in The Wall Street Journal indicates that the White House may soon take more aggressive actions in response to China’s cyberattacks against U.S. targets. China has largely denied any involvement in such attacks.

The Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Gorman reported, “The Obama administration is considering a raft of options to more aggressively confront China over cyberspying, officials say, a potentially rapid escalation of a conflict the White House has only recently acknowledged. Options include trade sanctions, diplomatic pressure, indictments of Chinese nationals in U.S. courts and cyber countermeasures—both attack and defense, officials said. Officials said such a counterpunch, while likely not imminent, would be the natural culmination of a carefully choreographed escalation of warnings in recent weeks from President Barack Obama and top administration officials. The escalation was launched with a secret démarche, or formal diplomatic protest, to the Chinese government in January, officials said.”

The Verge’s Dante D’Orazio observed, “All of the options would signal to the Chinese government that the US is taking the hacks seriously. US response has historically been tepid, possibly out of a reluctance to further strain Chinese relations considering American economic and national security interests in the region. According to The Wall Street Journal, new evidence uncovered by the US that shows with 95 percent certainty that workers at Chinese military facilities in Beijing and Shanghai were behind attacks has spurred on a stronger response.”

Newsmax quoted Alec Ross, a former Internet policy adviser at the State Department, who said, “After several years of making very little progress to improve behavior, it’s reasonable to throw out what you’ve done in the past and use new instruments to try to get them to behave responsibly.”

Just over a week ago, BBC News noted, “The US and China have agreed to work together on cyber security, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said. Speaking in Beijing, he said the two countries would set up a working group, and had agreed on the need to speed up action to prevent hacking attacks. No further details about the working group were given.”

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