Today, the New York Times cited David Rothkopf saying that the United States has a deficit of deterrence in regards to our current cyber security abilities. As more countries like Russia, China, and Iran turn to cyber attacks and cyberespionage efforts, it is increasingly difficult for the US to find ways to combat and deter these threats. Due to the somewhat anonymous nature of these intrusions, it is difficult to track any of these attacks back to the state from which they’re sent. In addition, responses from the US towards cyber attacks often seem weak. President Obama issued an order following the Sony attack from North Korea which enables him to issue sanctions against states involved in such activities against the US, but has yet to use them. The US has taken a stand against China by indicted the five PLC officers involved in hacking US companies, but those officers are likely to never enter any courts within our country. The US government has yet to formulate a useful method for deterring cyber attacks, and will likely continue to be the target of such efforts until it develops one.
Meng Jianzhu, a high-level envoy from the Communist Party in China recently visited DC to discuss how the two countries should act in response to these internet actions. While he did express a willingness for the Chinese government to deal with criminal hackers from its country, Meng went quiet on how they would deal with government supported hackers.
President Obama has claimed that the US is currently preparing sanctions against China in response to its cyber actions, but there is little agreement as to when these sanctions should go into action. If the US chose to invoke sanctions too early, they risk a negative response from China that could disrupt Xi’s upcoming visit.