US vc China. Is cyber warfare gap increasing?

Pierluigi Paganini May 21, 2012

The Chinese offensive capabilities in cyberspace in this period are, more than ever, subject of great interest from the international community that fears the rise of China‘s technological colossus.
In recent days a summit had placed in front of U.S. and China with the aim of promoting mutual cooperation to restore equilibrium in cyberspace.
Many experts have wondered how to ask to the nation, whose operations are of concern, to collaborate on a common definition of cyber strategy. In fact, the intent of the meetings are certainly questionable if the expressions of confidence shown by the U.S. to China during the summit will dissolve as soon as you return to discuss cyberespionage and the possibility of outsourcing US telecommunications services to Chinese companies.

Exponents of the Pentagon are convinced that China is investing in to improve its cyber capabilities to conduct offensive operations, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and Asia Pacific Security Affairs David Helvey declared.

“China is investing in not only capabilities to better defend their networks but also they’re looking at ways to use cyber for offensive operations,”

The principal aspect of Chinese cyber strategy that worrying the Pentagon is the increasing capabilities in cyberespionage with particular reference of network exploitation. The Government of Bejing has always demonstrated a great interest in the cyber warfare acquiring in the time a sensible advantage that has allowed the nation to perform stealth cyber operations that created a lot of damage and that have caused the theft of intellectual property and sensible information.

Halvey also added:

“We continue to see China expressing interest in making investments to improve their capacity for operations in cyberspace, and that is something that we pay very, very careful attention to. There is the potential for these types of operations to be very disruptive, disruptive not only in a conflict, could be very disruptive to the United States, but other countries as well.”

“I mean, that’s one of the things about military operations in cyberspace, that there can be cascading effects that are hard to predict,”

The Pantagon has collected information that demonstrate the improvement of Chinese capabilities in conventional warfare but also in cyber warfare, the China in fact is investing in military system that can be adopted in military operations to attacks targets located far from Chinese Soil. It’s clear that this types of weapons are rich of technology and request advanced capabilities for implementation and deployment.

Halvey announced that China is mainly investing in submarines, advanced surface combatants and also in unmanned air systems. In the past China has acquired foreign unmanned aerial vehicles from foreign countries such as Israeli, maybe with the intent to analyze the device to product an internal system.

China scares, in my opinion, for two main reasons:

  • It is a nation with a fast growing market power that is unrivaled in the world economy and therefore let it be generally accepted in silence a very aggressive offensive cyber strategy.
  • It was one of the country that best understands the importance of a cyber strategy and its military weight. The government has always supported all operations for technological development, not excluding the acquisition of conscience on foreign technology through operations cyberespionage. The Chinese government’s commitment was undoubtedly greater than that of any Western country, something that has given it a definite advantage.

America and the entire West are having to chase in a state of great economic disadvantage and this is the aspect that most worries. Limited capital spending and constantly under careful review of the governments represent a principal limitations.

The American and the West in general, have underestimated the military development of nations such as China and India don’t evaluating risks related to future confrontation, this is happened in the conventional military area and in the cyber warfare. A tearing the U.S. economy, as well as an economic crisis unprecedented, there are at least two decades of conflict, Iraq and Afghanistan, where the nation was involved, who have requested and require a costly waste of energy.

Awareness today is certainly appropriate even if it comes late. The social fabric of nations as the U.S. is now permeated by the presence of Chinese money, western companies work daily with those in Asia in the realization of new projects, sharing  information on sensitive technology. A step back today is certainly not feasible, but the demonstration of not to be more willing to accept so aggressive cyber strategies seems desirable.

Pierluigi Paganini


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