- Google I/O 2013's Coolest Products and Services
- 10 Star Trek Technologies That are Almost Here
- 19 Generations of Computer Programmers
- 25 Must-Have Technologies for SMBs
Network World - Though once a rare topic, today the air is filled with accusations of state-sponsored cyber-espionage and break-ins as the governments of U.S., China, Russia, Israel, India and Iran, among others, can be heard calling foreign cyberattacks a threat. The effect is a powerfully accelerating cyber-nationalism that's driving buildup of cyber-commands and general rancor that may spill over into trade relations.
Recent news stories about Chinese cyberattacks on the networks and reporters at The New York Times, the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal -- all of which recently made startling admissions about them -- have put the topic in the public limelight in a way not seen since Google's claims two years ago about Chinese cyber-theft of intellectual property. The tension is now so high, President Obama even discussed cyber-hacking in his phone call with the newly installed Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, and today, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is meeting in China with Xi, where one of the main topics will be how to end the cyber-hacking. It's all unprecedented.
Cyber-nationalism, as security expert and author Bruce Schneier described it last week, is leading to heightened mistrust across the world "not just amongst nation-states but between people and nation-states."
Cyber-nationalism is fueling a cyber-arms race. The U.S., China, Russia and recently Germany have spoken publicly about the buildup of government-organized "cyber commands" with potentially offensive as well as defensive capabilities. And now, points out Schneier, there's heightened concern about what the origin of products and services might be on a national level. Though the creation of the Internet and the Web brought the world closer together, there's now an effort by some governments to cordon it off or censor it where it's deemed useful to the government.
Chinese cyber-espionage has long been recognized, but the current "media frenzy" about it is fueling nationalist worries, Schneier says, though he adds "people are understandably worried" about it all. But the underlying reality is that the U.S. itself has cyber-espionage operations and the U.S. is likely "giving just as good as we're getting." In addition, the U.S. Cyber Command's announcement that it's expanding from 900 people to 5,000 would certainly worry China, he points out.
William Hagestad II, cyber-security consultant and author of "21st Century Chinese Cyber Warfare," said it appears the Chinese military leadership organized their version of a Cyber Command six months after the U.S. did. Hagestad, a retired U.S. lieutenant colonel, notes there don't seem to be any real "rule of engagement" related to cyber-conflict.
As it happens, Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year ordered the Federal Security Service there to establish a way to detect, prevent and disable cyberattacks in Russia and its diplomatic missions abroad. And last June, Germany disclosed what had been a top-secret cyber-warfare unit.