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Cyber Espionage - China and the United States

In: Business and Management

Submitted By mpdresser
Words 774
Pages 4
Cyber Espionage

Topics in Global Strategy

Mike Dresser

MGT 536

March 11, 2013

Cyber espionage is quickly becoming one of the most feared tactics around the world, but most recently, the computer spy game between China and the United States has been elevated to new levels. Just within the last few days, The New York Times broke a story pin pointing Coca Cola as one of the main targets of a Chinese sponsored cyber attack. Many believe this was largely due to discussions that Coca Cola had with China Huiyuan Juice Company regarding a potential acquisition. If it had gone through, this would have been the largest acquisition of a Chinese company by a foreign corporation. However, due to an elaborate Chinese cyber spy operation, they attempted to hack into Coke’s files to find information about Coca Cola’s negotiating strategy, and the deal was ultimately terminated because of deceptive practices. This is only the tip of the iceberg as cyber spy attacks are becoming more and more prevalent across the globe with no signs of slowing down. Mandiant, a cyber security company, also made front page news this past week when they published a full detailed report that traced a series of cyber attacks on a variety of U.S. companies, as well as many of our government agencies, such as the Department of Defense, NASA, and the Department of Commerce. Mandiant specifically identified a Shanghai based operation known as the People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398 and their exact location in a non-descript building of Shanghai’s Pudong financial district. Mandiant stated that this organization had stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from over 141 diverse U.S. and other global corporations since 2006, with 40% of the victims being Fortune 500 companies. Mandiant was asked if it was a wise decision to publish this information. Their spokesman stated that they felt compelled to report this find because so many organizations were showing signs of extreme frustration and very little tolerance with the situation. One CEO stated that “we are sitting on a time bomb, and someone has to go public with this information.” China’s Minister of Defense has flatly denied these accusations, but it has set the stage for a more intense cyber battle. For the time being, this exposure has embarrassed China, and may slow down cyber attack initiatives for a short period of time, but will, by no means, stop their intent entirely. Most nations are taking preventative measures to guard against these types of attacks, relative to government agencies, but many large corporations are not taking enough precautions to prevent this aggressive behavior. Cyber weapons such as malware is often utilized to create havoc within corporate or government agencies, acting as a host to obtain secret critical information about how companies operate and strategize. Much of this can be accomplished by the simple use of a thumb drive that is strategically placed in an office setting, instantly infecting the company’s system. China is clearly not the only country perpetrating these cyber attacks, as many other nations also engage in this type of warfare, such as Russia and Iran. Even the U.S. has engaged in an effort to slow down Iran’s nuclear program through its Stuxnet computer worm operation. But from a global economic standpoint, it may be increasingly difficult to embrace nations that covertly practice this type of deception in an effort to steal proprietary information. So how do we engage in future business transactions when we know that cyber espionage is getting worse? Industrial spy games have been around forever, but have recently reached a frightening new plateau of deception. In order to stay ahead of the threat and continue to grow as a global business, companies will have to be more guarded about confidential information. As Americans, we want to expand our businesses globally and embrace other nations relative to investment and new product development, but cyber espionage is making this more complicated. Extreme diligence will be required at every corner of the international business community in order to secure our most precious assets as we grow into the future. In conclusion, espionage is a very serious issue and needs to be taken with the utmost caution, but many companies remain vulnerable, as they have not invested the time, technology, or personnel to address this issue. This is not just conjecture! These cyber spies are trying to create “chaos,” and attacks are continuously being planned. If we drop our guard, they will be successful and this country could suffer a potentially catastrophic event where our businesses, government, power grids, infrastructure, and national security are critically compromised.

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