Chinese Cyber Attacks: Obama in Dangerous Confrontation
Obama Enters Dangerous Confrontation over “Chinese Cyber Attacks.”
The Obama administration is considering whether to use economic sanctions to strike back against China for supposedly hacking into and spying on U.S. companies, but battleful measures risk sparking a trade war with a crucial economic partner.
Last week, the White House disclosed a strategy aimed at combating the theft of trade secrets. Among other steps, the administration said it will use “trade policy tools” to force other countries to stop hacking U.S. companies and to impose intellectual property laws.
The policy document was not centered on China, but referred to numerous instances of the Chinese stealing sensitive business information from U.S. companies to use for their own trade goods.
Mike McNerney, a cyber-security adviser and former Defense Department official, said the Chinese government is engaged in a monumental movement to steal the innovations of U.S. Companies.
“We don’t hack into a Chinese company and steal their trade secrets and give it to Google, Apple or Ford. We view that as illegal.” he said.
Just a day before the administration declared the policy shift, the security firm Mandiant released a report detailing grounds that an elite unit of Chinese hackers, the People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398, has been incessantly hacking U.S. companies and government agencies.
The experts wrote that since 2006, the Shanghai-based hackers have taken data from at least 141 companies across 20 major industries, including critical infrastructure sectors like energy and telecommunications. At least 115 of the companies were in the United States.
China has denied the charges.
McNerney said the use of economic sanctions to penalize cyber-espionage would be “groundbreaking” and would prove the severity of the United States to confront the problem.
“China will take these actions very seriously,” he said.
But McNerney advised the sanctions would have to be well-tailored or they could intensify tensions between the nations.
“There’s always the chance of triggering a bilateral response. The reality is China is the second largest economy in the world,” said David Fagan, a Washington-based attorney who works on cyber-security and trade issues. “We have to be very careful in how we manage that economic relationship.”
A policy analyst for a enterprise group said that the business community helps a “sustained effort to reign in China on what is thought of as detestable behavior.” But the policy analyst stated that China is a critical market for American businesses.
“Companies are very unhappy about Chinese cyber-espionage, but so many companies are heavily invested in exporting to China,” the expert said. “This is a leveling act for the administration and the business community.”
China is rearing its ugly head in the global stage. Our economic dependency on China might end up being the death of us. Some suggest we should make provisions to diminish this dependence drastically over the next few years.
China is the largest owner of U.S debt. To put this debt in perspective, its holding of $1.2 trillion is larger than the amount owned by Americans. U.S. Citizens only hold about $959 billion in U.S. Debt.
China is a growing threat with a lack of a casual resolution.