U.S & China Talk Truce But Cyber War Remains

President Obama’s lavish White House welcome for Chinese President Xi Jinping was the first time the United States has hosted an “Official State Visit” for a country the US is at war with, however issues still exist.

The top US intelligence official told a hearing recently that he doesn't think a deal between the US and China will protect business from cyberattacks.

The US and China reached an agreement not to conduct or support cyberattacks on businesses during Chinese President Xi Jinping state visit last week. The US had been considering sanctions against China if it did not take steps to rain in cyber economic espionage.

But James Clapper said sanctions may still be needed. Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, told a Senate hearing on cybersecurity he was not optimistic about the agreement.

Mr Clapper said it was difficult to measure how much cyber espionage was conducted by the Chinese government, and would therefore be subject to the agreement. But this time it’s cyberwarfare, with potential worldwide economic implications if the Chinese decide to ban US software and hardware from their borders, which is a distinct possibility given their recent launch of nearly exact replicas of everything from Apple devices to Windows XP.

It’s almost certain that Beijing is waging large-scale, government-directed, cyberattacks at us: from our stock exchanges to our publicly exposed energy infrastructure to the recent hack of highly sensitive information on millions of US government employees.

This is not just a matter of trying to topple infrastructure, but rather a national security catastrophe that has given the Chinese the ability to target individuals who work in our government in any myriad of ways.
Yet, we can’t say with 100 percent certainty what we know to be true. If a country launches missiles, you have satellite evidence of their origin. If a fleet of ships attacks our shores, the culprit wants to be known. But when an opponent uses means of indirection to attack publicly exposed infrastructure, it’s difficult to name that opponent with certainty.
The sudden destruction of a Soviet natural gas pipeline going through Siberia in 1982 was allegedly a huge contributor to the nation’s bankruptcy and ultimate destruction, reportedly the result of us booby-trapping microchips to cause a massive explosion.

More recently the Stuxnet virus, almost certainly a NSA cyber-weapon, rigged centrifuges in Iran to self-destruct when they tried to enrich uranium. In fact, President Obama may be much more a fan of pre-emptive war than many believe, if you consider cyber attacks the modern-day equivalent.

The Chinese have long believed that US software contained back doors enabling snooping, and their fears were likely confirmed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leak of the PRISM program. The program is likely the reason that sitting at Obama’s state dinner table with the Chinese president were Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com. Those four had one job: to reassure the Chinese that their software contained no back doors for enabling American spying.

At this point, that may well be true. Silicon Valley leaders have pushed back hard against PRISM, and there would be no good business reason to facilitate American spying at this point, unless forced to do so.

Obama and Xi put on a good show, answering press questions in tandem and proclaiming they had reached “an understanding” about cyber-warfare coming to a close. I don’t believe it for a second. The “Great Firewall” of China is here to stay until we find a way to bring Beijing to its knees, until we find their version of a trans-Siberian natural gas pipeline.

Ein News: http://bit.ly/1KVKoT2
BBC: http://bbc.in/1L8Jx56

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