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The Pentagon for the first time is making direct allegations that China’s government and military are behind widespread cyber spying. Previously, the U.S. had tried to be diplomatic. But in the Defense Department’s annual report to Congress on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2013,” the language could not be clearer. It is well worth a read for anyone who follows the darker corners of cyber.
“Cyber Activities Directed Against the Department of Defense. In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military. These intrusions were focused on exfiltrating information. China is using its computer network exploitation (CNE) capability to support intelligence collection against the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support U.S. national defense programs. The information targeted could potentially be used to benefit China’s defense industry, high technology industries, policymaker interest in U.S. leadership thinking on key China issues, and military planners building a picture of U.S. network defense networks, logistics, and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis. Although this alone is a serious concern, the accesses and skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks. ...
“Cyberwarfare in China’s Military. Cyberwarfare capabilities could serve Chinese military operations in three key areas.
First and foremost, they allow data collection for intelligence and computer network attack purposes. Second, they can be employed to constrain an adversary’s actions or slow response time by targeting network-based logistics, communications, and commercial activities. Third, they can serve as a force multiplier when coupled with kinetic attacks during times of crisis or conflict.
“Developing cyber capabilities for warfare is consistent with authoritative PLA military writings. Two military doctrinal writings, Science of Strategy, and Science of Campaigns identify information warfare (IW) as integral to achieving information superiority and an effective means for countering a stronger foe. Although neither document identifies the specific criteria for employing computer network attack against an adversary, both advocate developing capabilities to compete in this medium. ...
“In parallel with its military preparations, China has increased diplomatic engagement and advocacy in multilateral and international forums where cyber issues are discussed and debated. Beijing’s agenda is frequently in line with Russia’s efforts to promote more international control over cyber activities. China and Russia continue to promote an Information Security Code of Conduct that would have governments exercise sovereign authority over the flow of information and control of content in cyberspace. Both governments also continue to play a disruptive role in multilateral efforts to establish transparency and confidence-building measures in international fora such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), ASEAN Regional Forum, and the UN Group of Governmental Experts.”