China’s Cyber-War Against U.S. IT Assets Demands a Strong Response

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2013-02-21 Print this article Print

When criminal activity is going on, it frequently helps to make the activity public. Crooks hate exposure, which is why security lights and cameras work fairly well. The same is true of covert military and intelligence operations. The Chinese, like every other gang of spies, hate to be uncovered. They're embarrassed. They lose face.

This is exactly why the Chinese should have their collective noses rubbed in it. This is why the U.S., with proof of the attacks in hand, should say what happened, who did it and what they did, all the while pointing fingers at the Chinese government that sponsored the hackers. While there could be some diplomatic repercussions, I'm not sure how significant they might be. After all, China is already attacking us.

But there's one thing criminals and spies hate more than having a light shined on their activities: It's having to deal with the consequences of their actions. Right now, the Chinese are betting that we'll never take action of any kind and that they'll simply be allowed to break in to whatever they want and take whatever they want while the U.S. sits around whimpering furtively.

But perhaps the time has come to stop whimpering and start delivering consequences. We know who they are, we know where they are. We can deliver a response in the form of a cyber-attack of our own if only we could gather the political will.

But it would, in other words, take guts. It would take someone who is willing to make the Chinese pay for their actions by having their networks taken down, their data erased and their base of operations made useless.

Then it would mean that the Chinese would lie defenseless before us while we sucked them dry of the information they've gathered from us, as well as whatever else they may have handy. The military secrets of the Chinese, for example.

This sounds like war, you say? That's because it is. This is the long-talked-about "cyber Pearl Harbor." The nation's innermost secrets have been laid bare. Worst of all, we may not know for many years into the future how this relentless cyber-spying campaign has compromised the nation's security, its military readiness or the integrity of our critical infrastructure.

China has had a free hand with our IT systems. Returning the favor—in spades—is the least we can do.


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