President Obama said the US is engaging in “tough talk” with China over its alleged conduct of cyber attacks against the US government and major US businesses, even as most evidence of China’s culpability is kept secret.
“What is absolutely true is that we have seen a steady ramping up of cyber security threats,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News, adding that some attacks “are state sponsored,” although he did not provide evidence.
“We’ve made it very clear to China and some other state actors that, you know, we expect them to follow international norms and abide by international rules,” Obama added.
But even as the President chastises Beijing for alleged cyber attacks, Washington is aggressively beefing up its own offensive cyber capabilities and waging its own cyber warfare.
The largest government-sponsored cyber attack to date came out of Washington; the Stuxnet virus aimed at Iran’s civilian nuclear facilities. The US government also routinely conducts cyber espionage, as international investigations have shown. And China apparently feels just as targeted as Washington claims to be.
“China is one of the world’s biggest victims of cyber attacks,” a Chinese news outlet reported this week.
“Major sources of the attacks include the United States, South Korea, Japan and India,” China Daily reported, citing a report released by Beijing Rising Information Technology Co.
The Obama administration’s bluster over the Chinese cyber threat should not be viewed in isolation, but in the context of their explicit policy of military containment towards China. The so-called Asia-Pivot consists of aggressively surging military presence and activities in the Asia-Pacific and bolstering China’s regional geo-political competitors with increased military and diplomatic backing.
The US’s public relations campaign denouncing China for cyber warfare is sure to help garner public support for aggressive US policies in the region surrounding China.