Friday, December 3, 2010

The Cyber Arms Race

In the wake of the latest storm of classified information released by Wikileaks reports are emerging that the Chinese military plans to reconfigure itself to deal with the possibility of cyberwarfare. As China continues to expand and modernize computer hacking is becoming more and more prevalent there. On Thursday authorities arrested large numbers of hackers and shut down several websites that provided information on how to hack computers.

Amongst the information contained in the latest Wikileaks were allegations that state backed hackers from China had interfered with computers from Google and various western governments. Google has had various problems with governments around the world and after conflicts with China over censorship issues and alleged cyberattacks the company has scaled back its presence in the Asian nation.

This week an article in the "People's Liberation Army Daily," sort of the Chinese equivalent of "Stars & Stripes," stated that "military commanders must seriously consider how to deal with the threat of cyberwarfare."

China are pulling ahead in a wide number of fields across the board, having only recently engineered the fastest computer on Earth. With some 420 million users, China also has the largest online population in the world. As both China and the U.S. gear up to launch and defend against computer based attacks it seems more and more as if we are entering into a kind of "cyber arms race." According to cyber-security expert Kevin G. Coleman, China has recently "hardened" key cyber-defenses and "this action has made our offensive capabilities ineffective against them."

While at first blush a cyber arms race may seem preferable to an actual arms race it's important to note that cyberwarfare is serious business. Among other things, a well orchestrated cyber-attack could cause our entire banking system to collapse. . .oh wait that already happened didn't it? Well, you get my drift anyway.

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