Best way to fight cyber threat

Updated: 2014-07-25 07:40

By Wang Honggang (China Daily)

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Instead of desperately distracting attention from the NSA's espionage by accusing China, the US should seek cooperation

The US Department of Justice is seeking the extradition of a Chinese businessman living in Canada to prosecute him for allegedly stealing sensitive information from US defense contractors. This indicates the United States administration is again trying to shift attention away from its own global spying.

On June 27, the US department accused the 39-year-old Su Bin of working with two co-conspirators in China between 2009 and 2013 to hack into the computer systems of US companies and steal data on military projects, including Boeing's C-17 strategic transport aircraft and the Pentagon's advanced fighter jets F-22 and F-35, built by Lockheed Martin Corp. Canadian police detained Su the next day in British Columbia, where he remains in custody.

The 50-page criminal complaint prepared by the US apparently gives detailed evidence of Su's alleged hacking activities. But even a detailed perusal of the entire complaint fails to clear some important matters of concern. For instance, the complaint alleges the trio stole more than 65 gigabytes of data, including specific files on the parts and performance of C-17 and other files on other military aircraft such as F-22 and F-35. But it does not attach any value to the allegedly stolen data and is silent on whether they were classified information. Besides, it does not say how much data, if any, Su allegedly succeeded in selling.

Despite the lack of these important evidence, the US requested Canada to arrest Su. Though not a wise action in the legal sense, the move to charge a Chinese civilian with cyber espionage following the indictment of five Chinese military officers in May for hacking has certain strategic implications for Washington's overall cyber strategy, its policy toward Beijing and the international pressure on the US over its global surveillance program.

The US has devised a multi-faceted Internet strategy covering cyber economy, cyber diplomacy, cyber surveillance and cyber attack. Apart from the huge worth of cyber economy, the Internet has become a vital platform for the US to strengthen its public diplomacy and export American culture and values to the rest of the world.

A computer virus called Stuxnet, created to attack Iran's nuclear facilities a few years ago, was an early demonstration of Washington's unparalleled capability of using its cyber power to get what it desires. On the other hand, former National Security Agency operative Edward Snowden has shown the world the level of penetration the US' cyber surveillance program has.

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