The Hanging Threat of Cybersecurity Escalates US-China Tensions

There is an incessant, overbearing spiral in the general sense of mistrust between the United States and China. The finger-pointing and accusations have been stirred up for a long time and continues to this day.

China, the threat

We’ve seen numerous examples in the recent past which readily addresses the fact that the majority of global attacks originate from China, as this real-time infographic tracking cyber threats from around the world shows.

China have also been alleged to hack and infiltrate Ivy League universities with close ties to the U.S. Navy and other military organizations.

Policymakers in Washington regularly portray China as the fundamental cybersecurity threat for the country. In early 2013, Tom Donilon, the U.S. National Security Adviser stated that Chinese cyber breaches endanger national security as well as U.S. firms. This premonition came true with the much publicized, recent hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment. It’s a clear indicator that the threat of malicious hacking among cybersecurity is real and has the possibility to do a lot of damage.

The Chinese for their part, completely deny these allegations of Chinese espionage and argue that the National Security Agency (NSA) intrudes and infringes on privacy, as revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Chinese critics regularly call for the complete withdrawal of U.S. firms from the Chinese workspace, citing privacy concerns with the NSA and they join Russia in making a vocal point about the United States having an unfair advantage over the rest of the world because of the pillars of internet governance essentially existing in the U.S.

The American Advantage

The shrouded secrecy in which the United States and China operate in cyberspace paints a picture that’s hard to decipher from. It does however, raise claims to stake that the United States is gaining a competitive edge. This is because much of the international cybersecurity threat that China contributes to, shows internal security concerns within the Chinese framework. China regularly exploits foreign media to target political opponents and minority populations such as Tibet. For instance, the National Firewall being used to redirect inbound internet traffic to target popular sites such as GitHub in March 2015 attests to this trend.

Essentially, the throttling of political information and prioritizing control over it rather than cyber defenses pokes holes in China’s own cybersecurity framework. Foreign spies and a cyber-criminals have had little trouble in infiltrating the country’s network.

An endless game of cat and mouse

With every passing day, there is mountains of evidence to show that China is undeterred in its drive to engage in aggressive cyber infiltrations against Western powers. Despite this, there isn’t a clear advantage to all the stolen data as China struggles to assimilate and convert the data into an advantage.

The U.S. is fervent with its own cyber espionage missions against China as Edward Snowden revealed plenty with his leaks. Being at the advanced end of the chain in expertise such as advanced fighter aircraft, having technology firms that are inherent to the internet framework gives U.S. a considerable leg up.