US Advised to Hack China, Days after World Leaders’ Pact against Commercial Hacking

A congressional advisory body is advising the United States to hack China back as a solution to recover stolen data breached from U.S-based companies from alleged Chinese hackers. The recommendation comes merely days after the world’s richest nations agreed not hack each other for commercial aims during the recent G-20 summit.

The United States is ill-equipped and doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure to safeguard itself from China’s intrusive cyberespionage operations, according to a new report submitted to the United States Congress by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

The complete report is available for download here.

China’s repeated breaches have reportedly cost the U.S. government and the country’s private company sector tens of billions of dollars, the report points out. The Review Commission, sanctioned and created by U.S. Congress in 2000 was set up as an advisory committee to focus on the national security infrastructure of the two superpowers of the world.

The report is damning in its criticism of Beijing’s actions just as much as noting the inadequacies of the U.S. response.

In no uncertain terms, an excerpt from the report read:

The United States is ill-prepared to defend itself from cyber espionage when its adversary is determined, centrally coordinated, and technically sophisticated, as is the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and China’s government.

OPMHacked has reported plenty of incidents in the past involving cyberespionage incidents related to China and the United States. In what is essentially a game of high stakes cat-and-mouse, Chinese hackers have reportedly breached every major U.S. corporation, according to one intelligence expert. The high-profile OPM breach of tens of millions of federal employees’ data has also been attributed to hackers from China. In the immediate aftermath of the comprehensive breach, the CIA reportedly pulled employees from Beijing. Investigators looking into the Anthem breach — the single largest healthcare hack in U.S. history — also point to Chinese hackers.

The United States has also been revealed to target and hack Chinese universities and mobile phones, according to Edward Snowden.


Cybersecurity – a Strain on Diplomacy

The United States recently held back proposed sanctions against China during the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first stateside visit earlier this year, a move to foster good diplomatic relations. Cybersecurity remains a cause for strained relations between the two countries and things came to a head during bi-lateral talks during President Jinping’s visit. The subsequent talks resulted in an agreement between China and the United States where both countries agreed not to engage in commercial hacking. Despite the agreement, a cybersecurity claim representing multiple U.S. companies claimed that Chinese hackers were still active and targeting U.S. firms, days after the cyber-pact.

Another excerpt from the report, as reported by the Associated Press read:

The Chinese government appears to believe that it has more to gain than to lose from its cyber espionage and attack campaign. So far, it has acquired valuable technology, trade secrets, and intelligence. The costs imposed have been minimal compared to the perceived benefit. The campaign is likely to continue and may well escalate.

China has strenuously denied claims of state-sponsored hacking and has often cited that it too, is the victim of cyberattacks.

A No-Hack Pact among the Biggest Economies of the WorldG20 countries

For the first time ever, the leaders of the most powerful nations in the world pledged not to hack each other for commercial interests this week at the G-20 summit in Turkey. The pact is a significant move by the countries to establish the rules of global cyberespionage.

As reported by the Washington Post, the agreement read:

… no country should conduct or support [cyber]-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors.

The pact is a common agreement among the likes of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Images from Shutterstock.

Samburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.