Despite a formal denial from the Chinese government and a conspicuous lack of proof that they were behind recent hacking incidents, the Obama Administration is said to be planning an “unprecedented counter-attack” against China for them.
Retaliation in the “cyber-warfare” front would seem to normally be a covert action, and thus one would figure the US wouldn’t telegraph its plans ahead of time, but the Obama Administration has made much in recent weeks of its right to launch unilateral cyberwars, and seems eager to go public with the fact that it is doing so.
Officials in the US and Britain have repeatedly accused China of launching such attacks, but the evidence behind such claims is circumstantial at best, and by and large comes from starting with the assumption that China is doing so and trying to make the evidence fit that assumption.
Perhaps the scariest aspect of this public US attack on China is not the vague justification, but how China is liable to retaliate, since there will be no doubt who is to blame in that case. The US has made clear in the past that it might respond to a cyber-attack with conventional military strikes, but China has never said what it would do but is likely to want to set a precedent that it won’t tolerate such public moves against it.
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