China’s acts of cybersabotage represent serious spying, not mere hacking, author John Wohlstetter writes in The Wall Street Journal.
And it is time for the United States to acknowledge the size of the threat and penalize the People’s Republic with sanctions, he says.
“After last month’s report by Internet security firm Mandiant linking China’s People’s Liberation Army to hundreds of thousands of cyber attacks across the globe, including against U.S. corporations and government agencies, cyber security is finally getting the media attention it deserves,” says the author of “Sleepwalking With the Bomb.”
“Yet there remain misperceptions about cyber threats and how to respond. For instance, Chinese cyber intruders on the PLA payroll shouldn’t be considered ‘hackers.’ They are spies for the Chinese government.”
Chinese operations resemble those of the Soviets during the Cold War, Wohlstetter says. “In the event of war, China could use stolen data to bypass security firewalls and launch cyberstrikes to blind the global positioning satellites that direct U.S. weapons to their targets.”
In response, the United States should first “acknowledge the magnitude of the threat,” Wohlstetter, a senior fellow with the Discovery Institute, writes. Then China should be punished with measures such as economic sanctions.
“Now that America’s economic and financial affairs are deeply entangled with China’s, mounting such a robust response may seem a daunting task,” Wohlstetter writes.
“But the U.S. must begin by recognizing that the country is dealing with a hostile regime. China isn’t an enemy out to destroy America, as is al-Qaida or the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is out to supplant the U.S. as the premier power on the world stage.”
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