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The Code War

White House Calls On China To Cease Cyberattacks On U.S. Firms

Will the great superpower of the East agree to the U.S.'s three demands?

White House Calls On China To Cease Cyberattacks On U.S. Firms

President Obama's national security advisor addressed the current Sino-American hacking woes yesterday. In a speech, Tom Donilon called upon China to address three points: crack down on Chinese hackers; come to the table for talks on global standards; and recognize the severity of the problem.

"Increasingly, U.S. businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber-intrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale," Mr Donilon told the Asia Society in New York City. "The international community cannot tolerate such activity from any country."

So far, the list of firms who claim to have had their computer systems infiltrated is a long one: the New York Times,Wall Street Journal, and Coca-Cola as well as most of the government agencies. According to Richard A. Clarke, just about every American firm has already been "penetrated by China."

By way of reply, a spokesman at the Chinese Foreign Ministry this morning repeated the government's position of opposing cyber attacks and seeking "constructive dialog" with the International community. Last month, a spokesman for the Chinese Defence Ministry accused the U.S. of playing the same game and infiltrating China's own military websites.

The New York Times also points out that the situation is delicately balanced especially given the state of affairs currently surrounding North Korea, whose main ally in the area is, of course, China. The actions of the Chinese military, who last month were thought to be the power behind most of the attacks on U.S. infrastructure and firms, are widely seen as a hindrance to foreign policy, but the U.S. does not want to indulge in "finger-pointing."

[Image by Flickr user acameronhuff]