China, The US, And Hacking: What's Happening?
From a global perspective, China and the USA are among the top players in a variety of areas from economy to technology. Unfortunately, this results in a lot of tension between the two countries, especially when it comes to hacking. Is China hacking the USA, and vice versa?
February 2013 Cyber Attacks on U.S.
In February, Kevin Mandia of the Mandiant Corporation issued a statement claiming that secretive Chinese military operatives were attempting to hack into thousands of U.S. businesses. This statement, while not necessarily new in it’s assumption of Chinese hacking, did not appear to be backed by any solid evidence, thus provoking Chinese leaders to respond with their own comments.
Unfortunately, because hacking today can be extremely in-depth and highly secretive, even the best of security companies may not know for sure who is cyber-attacking, and from where. New technologies are being created every day, every hour, even every minute. No matter how up-to-date a company may be, there will likely always be something new they haven’t yet caught on to. This leads to false accusations, not just on the part of the U.S., but also on China’s part.
Changing Needs and Cyber Security
With technology constantly evolving, it is no surprise that cyber security should be of utmost importance. To protect a country’s businesses and government, a variety of security measures need to be in place.
China’s Premier Li Keqiang stated during a news conference that “China does not support” cyber hacking, and that they are often a “main target of such attacks.” He went on to add that cyber hacking “is a worldwide problem.”
Despite this statement, representatives for the U.S. will continue to ask China to investigate these cyber attacks. President Obama himself brought additional attention to the issue during a recent phone call with China’s President, Xi Jinping.
Popular Myths about Chinese Hackers
Despite popular belief, China is a global player and the country is not interested in starting a warm that would harm the country’s own economy. Unlike North Korea, China would only be likely to attack if the country was directly threatened and under an extreme situation.
It is also a popular misconception that Chinese hackers are “ruthless” and “unrelenting,” hacking away until there is nothing left. Unfortunately, it is not that Chinese hackers are as such, but rather that many American companies are unprepared for being hacked in the first place, with minimal security measures in place. One survey found that over 90% of recent corporate-network breaks were the result of basic hacking techniques. This could include sending a virus through an email. Basic security measures, while seemingly secure, minimal at best and not likely to protect against even the most basic of hacking attempts.
In short, China and the U.S. are not in a “cold cyber war.” In fact, if anything, it is likely false accusations by various members of either side, along with a combination of other factors including poor security. An improvement of U.S. security, both in government operations and in business operations, could significantly decrease the number of successful hacking attempts from hackers anywhere in the world, including China.
About the Author: Neal Middleton is a huge fan of technology – internet and phone – and is always watching current events. When she’s not studying international relationships, she can be found using her virtual phone system from RingCentral to communicate with business partners.