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10/14/2015
12:15 PM
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Mandia: US-China No-Hack Pact Could Be Game Changer

Mandiant founder Kevin Mandia says change is coming in the wake of Xi and Obama's pledge not to conduct cyberespionage for economic gain if China holds up its end of the deal.

FIREEYE CYBER DEFENSE SUMMIT -- Washington, D.C. -- Kevin Mandia, founder of Mandiant and president of FireEye, says the historic agreement last month between President Obama and China's president Xi Jinping not to conduct cyberspying attacks for economic gain could signal a new chapter.

"With two heads of state recognizing that they can control the direction it goes in-- things are definitely going to change," Mandia said here today in an interview with Dark Reading. "I can't see how it gets worse after their conversation."

The pact specifically applies to the theft of trade secrets and stops short of banning traditional espionage via hacking. Cyberespionage has been a notoriously prolific US strategy for China, with the US among its top targets, although Chinese officials deny such hacking activity. Obama has threatened sanctions for foreign or other hackers who break into US interests for economic gain and for stealing intellectual property. Meanwhile, the US publicly has remained mostly mum about China's cyberespionage for traditional intel-gathering purposes.

China reportedly arrested a "handful" of hackers in that nation last month at the request of US officials, possibly as a show of good faith that China indeed intends to tighten the screws on cyberattacks aimed at pilfering intellectual property.

FireEye's Mandia envisions the US-China no-hack pledge playing out in one of three ways: worst-case, China pays lip service only and continues stealing US IP; China scales back that type of hacking; or China curtails that activity altogether. In the end, he thinks it will lead to the two national powers teaming up against cybercrime overall in the name of a global economy.

"The companies that have high capabilities in determining attribution and other nations with the capability to pierce anonymity will be able to work together against cybercrime," Mandia says. So nations without that ability will become more abused for trafficking cybercrime, he says.

"I think that means over time, the US and China, if they become high attribution states, they will have to work together" against cybercrime, he says.

Overall, the pact is better than no pact at all, Mandia says.

Mandia says he expects the US to begin fining Chinese companies for cyber theft.

"The OPM [Office of Personnel Management] breach in my opinion, the [attackers] have been doing it for a long time, in China and they get paid to do it," Mandia said in a keynote address here yesterday. "They were either ignored or abated by the Chinese government."

Mandia says nations such as the US and China may "agree to lighten up once in while" on attacks. "There will be more unwritten norms," he says.

 

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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XavierA893
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XavierA893,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/30/2015 | 12:53:19 PM
Mandia: US-China No-Hack Pact Could Be Game Changer
Cyberspace has become a structural facility and a modus operandi for China.

Considering the continuous investment made by China into its cyberspace critical infrastructures, the relevant PLA Units, the mighty Cyberspace Administration of China and the volume of cyberattacks reportedly from Peking as a pipeline of inputs for its civil and military industry, I can't see how China could stop conducting its policy of cyberattacks against the cornucopia of highly sensitive sectorial innovations and global market shares represented by America (and its Western partners). 

As a sort of provisional memorandum of agreement, Chinese cyberspying networks might go dormant during a while and would then resurface within a few months because the economic gain is too high as a matter of survival for the hyperpower that China has now become in its partner-competitor relationship with USA, the other hyperpower.

The ThreatConnect-DGI report about the trade in the South China Sea and the deep interest of the Naikon Group in close connection with the region via its intrusion intothe Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal provides the reader with some elements of a lucid analysis with regard to current diplomatic, military and economic topics.

Best regards,

Xavier Alfonsi

Analyst in naval and naval aviation affairs and in cyberdefense in Asia-Pacific from original sources in Chinese
Kelly Jackson Higgins
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Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
10/15/2015 | 10:17:20 AM
Re: US-CHINA No hack pact
Agreed, @TejGhandi1986. It's easy to dismiss it as a political move by both sides or at least by China. But the fact that they are having this conversation at this time has very real implications. Not sure how it will all play out, but if the US starts fining Chinese companies, something's gonna give.
TejGandhi1986
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TejGandhi1986,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/15/2015 | 6:41:53 AM
US-CHINA No hack pact
It is a decision in the correct direction but it will remain to be seen how well it is implemented.Considering Chinese hacking activities of Google in the past and cyber espionage events,even copying of designs of US military aircrafts.

This pact can be vital and  be a step in correct direction.

 

Thanks

Tej Gandhi

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/tej-gandhi/2b/a88/a10
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