Obama to Beef Up Cyber Defenses Following China Hack

Barack Obama
The Associated Press

The United States is committed to a more comprehensive strategy to maintain vigilance in the face of continuing cyber threats to the nation, President Barack Obama said this week, vowing to ramp up the U.S. cyber defense apparatus. 

While Obama did not directly mention China, U.S. officials believe that Beijing was responsible for a recent massive hack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that compromised the information of around four million government employees.

The unnamed U.S. officials said China may have stolen personal information to find potential recruits worthy of becoming spies for Beijing. Then, the Chinese could use its newfound resources to access extremely sensitive, classified information, such as weapons systems plans and trade secrets.

“We have to be as nimble, as aggressive and as well-resourced as those who are trying to break into these systems,” Obama said during the G7 summit in Germany, Reuters reports. 

But China has continued to target U.S. interests undeterred, some have noted.

China is employing all its resources to carry out its cyber spy operations, said former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Nutanix .NEXT conference in Miami Wednesday.

“China wanted Huawei to be a big, dominant telco player. The problem is nobody trusts Huawei because of cyber-security issues,” Rice said.

“You will get investment because you are a huge market. But there are rules of the game: you don’t use your cyber-power to spy on other people. You don’t use your national champions to take other people’s IP,” she added. 

China’s Ambassador to Washington, Wu Xi, has likened the accusations that his country hacked into government databases as “microphone diplomacy.”

“Resorting to microphone diplomacy, or pointing fingers at each other, will not solve any problems,” said Wu. “The right choice is to recognize our differences, respect each other and engage in real dialogue. The choice we make today will decide the future of our two great nations, as well as the entire world,” she added.