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1/21/2010
03:43 PM
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Secretary Clinton: Countries, Individuals Who Wage Cyberattacks Should 'Face Consequences And International Condemnation'

U.S. Secretary of State again calls on China to investigate attacks on Google, others

It was a speech mostly promoting Internet freedom around the world, but U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today also called out China in light of allegations by Google that a wave of targeted attacks on Google and other companies originated from that country.

"The most recent situation involving Google has attracted a great deal of interest. And we look to the Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough review of the cyberintrusions that led Google to make its announcement. And we also look for that investigation and its results to be transparent," Clinton said today in a speech at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Google has threatened to pull out its operations in China in light of the attacks, which resulted in the loss of source code from the search engine giant. In order to do business there, Google had to make censorship concessions with the Chinese government.

Earlier in the speech, Clinton had remarked that an attack on one nation's network can constitute an attack on all nations in the Internet-connected world. She also warned that nations need to unite against these attacks: "Countries or individuals that engage in cyberattacks should face consequences and international condemnation," Clinton said.

Clinton maintained that governments and their people should be able to rely on safe and "resilient" networks running their national security and economic interests. "Now this is about more than petty hackers who deface Websites. Our ability to bank online, use electronic commerce, and safeguard billions of dollars in intellectual property are all at stake if we cannot rely on the security of our information networks," she said. "Disruptions in these systems demand a coordinated response by all governments, the private sector, and the international community. We need more tools to help law enforcement agencies cooperate across jurisdictions when criminal hackers and organized crime syndicates attack networks for financial gain."

Tom Kellermann, vice president of security awareness for Core Security, says Clinton's remarks missed the mark given the recent events, demonstrating the lack of a cohesive cyberstrategy within the Obama administration: "The focus [in her speech] was more on open access to communications within China. It should be more focused on determining the Chinese cyber-threat by the government or the tens of thousands of proxies hacking away at corporate America and government agencies," Kellermann says.

Clinton called for coordinated efforts among governments, the private sector, and the international community: "We need more tools to help law enforcement agencies cooperate across jurisdictions when criminal hackers and organized crime syndicates attack networks for financial gain," she said, and that this includes fighting "social ills," such as child pornography and the exploitation of trafficked women and girls online.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. 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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