The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

draws a U.S. line in the sand to for­eign en­ti­ties try­ing to steal commercial se­crets, said Shawn Henry, for­mer ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of the FBI’s Crim­i­nal, Cy­ber, Re­sponse and Ser­vices Branch, where he over­saw all of the bureau’s crim­i­nal and cy­ber pro­grams and in­ves­ti­ga­tions world­wide.

“It’s a good first step,” said Mr. Henry, who is now the pres­i­dent of CrowdStrike Ser­vices, a cy­ber­se­cu­rity de­tec­tion and preven­tion firm.

He has long ad­vo­cated that be­cause the U.S. govern­ment’s pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity is the pro­tec­tion, safety and se­cu­rity of its cit­i­zens, it should ac­tively be de­fend­ing cy­berspace with the same red lines, diplo­matic ges­tures, mil­i­tary moves and le­gal ram­i­fi­ca­tions as it does when lines or borders are crossed in the phys­i­cal world.

“The U.S. govern­ment can have some pretty candid con­ver­sa­tions with heads of state and other gov­ern­ments about what’s ac­cept­able and what’s not ac­cept­able and what the red lines are,” said Mr. Henry. “If you launch a cy­ber­at­tack into our space, this is what the re­sults are go­ing to be.”

The Chi­nese at­tempted to steal se­crets from six en­ti­ties in the steel and en­ergy seg­ments: U.S. Steel Corp., Al­coa Inc., Al­legheny Tech­nolo­gies Inc., West­ing­house Elec­tric Corp., the United Steel­work­ers union, and So­larWorld AG.

The scheme is thought to have be­gun in 2006.

The in­dict­ment ac­cuses five people, named Wang Dong, Sun Kail­iang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu and Gu Chun­hui, with con­spir­acy to com­mit com­puter fraud and abuse. The in­dict­ment was handed up by a grand jury in Pitts­burgh, close to many of the firms tar­geted.

U.S. govern­ment of­fi­cials have long said that China is ag­gres­sive in pur­su­ing cy­beres­pi­onage — try­ing to gather trade se­crets and in­tel­lec­tual property from U.S. com­pa­nies. China has de­nied this charge.

De­spite the tense rhetoric on both sides, there ap­peared to be po­ten­tial for pos­i­tive di­a­logue on cy­ber­se­cu­rity is­sues af­ter the high-level Strate­gic and Eco­nomic Di­a­logue in which U.S. and Chi­nese of­fi­cials en­gaged last year.

Af­ter the July talks, the State Depart­ment cir­cu­lated a fact sheet out­lin­ing how both sides agreed to “pro­mote an open, co­op­er­a­tive, se­cure, and re­li­able cy­ber space.”

Head­ing into the talks, the State Depart­ment doc­u­ment said, U.S. and Chi­nese of­fi­cials “held the first meet­ing of the civil­ian-mil­i­tary Cy­ber Work­ing Group, where the two sides com­mit­ted to work to­gether on co­op­er­a­tive ac­tiv­i­ties and fur­ther dis­cus­sions on in­ter­na­tional norms of state be­hav­ior in cy­berspace.”

“Both sides com­mented pos­i­tively on the candid, in-depth di­a­logue,” the depart­ment said.

Such op­ti­mism ap­peared to dis­solve with Mon­day’s in­dict­ments. The Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry as­serted that it is China, not the U.S., that is “a vic­tim of se­vere U.S. cy­ber theft, wire­tap­ping and sur­veil­lance ac­tiv­i­ties.”

“Given the lack of sin­cer­ity on the part of the U.S. to solve is­sues re­lated to cy­ber se­cu­rity through di­a­logue and co­op­er­a­tion, China has de­cided to sus­pend ac­tiv­i­ties of the China-U.S. Cy­ber Work­ing Group,” Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Qin Gang said in a state­ment posted on the min­istry’s web­site. “China will re­act fur­ther to the US ‘in­dict­ment’ as the sit­u­a­tion evolves.”

In Wash­ing­ton, State Depart­ment spokes­woman Jennifer Psaki said U.S. of­fi­cials re­gret­ted the Chi­nese an­nounce­ment and “con­tinue to be­lieve that di­a­logue is an es­sen­tial part of re­solv­ing these and other cy­ber­se­cu­rity con­cerns.”

Pressed to re­spond to the Chi­nese ac­cu­sa­tion that the Wash­ing­ton is en­gaged in its own spy­ing on China, Ms. Psaki re­sponded: “Well, our in­tel­li­gence ac­tiv­i­ties are fo­cused on the na­tional se­cu­rity in­ter­ests of the United States.”

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