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Experts wary of Pentagon cybersecurity report fingering China

Antone Gonsalves | May 9, 2013
Marks first time U.S. has accused China of using cyberweapons to steal intellectual property, and gain a military and economic advantage

"With cyberweapons, until you know what they are, until they come out and say what they are, it's science fiction," he said. "It's not like we have 50 years of cyberweapon terminology and practices and things like that."

Despite U.S. protests, cyberespionage on the part of China and many other countries is unlikely to stop and does not violate international laws. Where China crosses the line is in sharing that intelligence with private industries, in order give them a competitive advantage.

"It creates unfair market competition when governments conduct espionage and provide that information to private companies," said Jacob Olcott, a principal at cybersecurity consultancy Good Harbor and a former counsel for Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va. "That's a distinction that's important and worth making."

He also believes the U.S. spends too much on cyberweapons and not enough on cyberdefense. "The spending is way out of line and it's certainly valid for other countries to look at what we're doing and want to escalate their own practices too," Olcott said.

In February, President Barack Obama took a step toward bolstering the nation's cyberdefenses by issuing an executive order that established a framework for sharing information between government and private industries. A proposal that would make sharing of cyberattack data mandatory passed the House last month and is currently in the Senate.Ã'Â

Read more about malware/cybercrime in CSOonline's Malware/Cybercrime section.

 

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