China learned much earlier than the United States of the importance that the Internet and cybertechnology will play and is playing in global power politics. For years hackers originating from China have been able to infiltrate many of our government and corporate servers and steal information from them. Now, the security firm McAfee has reported
the largest cyber-spying ring in history, and has indicated that it is not a single group behind it but a state actor. 72 corporations, governments, and inter-governmental organizations have been infiltrated, from the Associated Press to the United Nations to the International Olympic Committee to various U.S. defense firms. The intruders were after data on sensitive U.S. military systems, satellite technology, natural gas companies, electronics, and more. Associated Press reporters covering China received emails with malicious links that compromised their entire systems. McAfee called it "a massive transfer of wealth in intellectual property that is unprecedented in history."
While McAfee would not confirm who was behind the spying, most analysts agree
that it was China. They are really the only non-Western nation, outside of Russia, that has the ability to pull off these attacks-- and the information they were going after was not the type of information that Russia usually bothers with insofar as it was mostly corporate and technological secrets that they wanted, and targets included a lot of entities that China is unhappy with, namely Taiwan and the press. The United States and the United Kingdom might have the ability to perform such infiltrations, but it is unlikely that we would be spying on ourselves. We obviously have tremendous computer talent here in the West, much of which is unfortunately targeted at the United States right now-- perhaps it would be good to figure out a way to turn their sights to the East, and try to regain some ground in the realm of cyberwarfare, a realm where we are surely being outmatched by the Chinese.