China’s Cyberattacks Reveal Its Military Interests

China is often criticized for the opaque nature of its military interests. China’s unclear motives impact everything from its territorial disputes with surrounding nations, to regulations forbidding NASA to work with Chinese nationals due to China’s silent push for space warfare technology.

Chinese military doctrine only feeds concerns. It speaks of pre-emptive strikes, hiding a military’s true capabilities, and using means to fight wars without engaging in conventional battles.

An infamous 1999 Chinese military book from two senior colonels titled “Unrestricted Warfare,” states, “As we see it, a single man-made stock-market crash, a single computer virus invasion, or a single rumor or scandal that results in a fluctuation in the enemy country’s exchange rates or exposes the leaders of an enemy country on the Internet, all can be included in the ranks of new-concept weapons.”

But the world is changing. From businesses to governments, cybersecurity is now at the front line of security, and sophisticated cyberattacks are being traced back to China on an almost weekly basis.

With this shift, the shroud of secrecy that drew China’s interest to cyberwar is gradually being pulled aside.

National Fingerprints

“All this conflict we hear about in cyberspace, and everything else, is just a reflection of what was happening in the world we knew before the Internet,” said Dr. Kenneth Geers and author of “Strategic Cyber Security.”

Geers has a unique occupation. When advanced and ongoing cyberattacks are discovered, he checks the fingerprints and tries to find the culprit.

The attacks being used by state-sponsored hackers aren’t going to say “code written in China,” said Geers. “But we can look at international negotiations or events at the border, or a leadership summit, and we might very well be able to tie it back to a certain country.”

“Context gives you the likely candidate,” he said.

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