Paul Rosenzweig is the author of Cyber Warfare: How Conflicts in Cyberspace Are Challenging America and Changing the World for Praeger Security International (2013). He is founder of Red Branch Consulting PLLC, a homeland security consulting company and a senior advisor to The Chertoff Group. He also serves as a professorial lecturer in law at
Cyberspace is a globalized environment. That’s one of its special virtues. From your laptop you can connect to almost anywhere in the world: you can read a Japanese paper or make reservations at a French restaurant. But what is true for the average users is also true for malevolent actors. Increasingly, we’ve come to realize that there are many out there who use cyberspace as a means for criminal activity, espionage, and even war.
This past week, an American cyber security company, Mandiant, disclosed the results of its seven year investigation of a threat they dubbed APT1, for advanced persistent threat.
According to Mandiant, a secret unit of the Chinese Army, Unit 61398, has systematically been engaged in cyber espionage, principally in the
. As they said, the evidence is so strong that the only other possibility is that “a secret, resourced organization full of mainland Chinese speakers with direct access to Shanghai-based telecommunications infrastructure is engaged in a multi-year, enterprise scale computer espionage campaign right outside of Unit 61398’s gates, performing tasks similar to Unit 61398’s known mission.” In other words, United States is guilty. China
Coming on the heels of
China’s intrusions into the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, it’s becoming clear that is a rogue actor in cyberspace. China denies the allegations, but its denials have become the barest fig leaf of concealment. Nobody believes them any more except the credulous who want to. China
So what’s to be done? The fundamental question of international internet governance is a profoundly difficult one. The distributed and dynamic nature of the network makes hierarchical responses almost impossible.
, the only real answer is to start treating Chinese intrusions more seriously. That means identifying areas where United States is vulnerable to pressure and start applying the pressure systematically. Ideas may range from economic sanctions to greater support for Chinese democracy activists. In the cyber realm we might consider poking holes in the Great Chinese Firewall to let information into their closed political ecosystem. But whatever the response, it is time for the China government to have a concerted policy that is more than speaking firmly to the Chinese in opposition. US