Washington talks cybersecurity after Chinese attacks
Washington is grappling again with the prying eyes of Chinese hackers.
A string of computer breaches at The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and other media organizations has drawn a frustrated response from the White House and galvanized lawmakers who have failed for years to improve the country’s cyberdefenses.
There isn’t much the Obama administration or Congress could have done in advance to stave off the latest series of attacks. But the incidents illuminate the threats emanating from abroad, not to mention the lagging Washington work to protect tech companies, power plants, big banks and now major newspapers from them.
“This is just another reminder of how relentless and sweeping China’s cyberattacks are,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “The attacks on the U.S. banking industry and now major media outlets who dared publish stories critical of the Chinese government prove this is not a theoretical threat.
“Foreign cyberattackers are targeting every aspect of the American economy every day and Congress needs to act with urgency to protect our national security and our economy.”
The renewed Beltway interest in cybersecurity follows the Wednesday revelation that the Times had fallen prey to a four-month attack thought to have originated in China. The trouble began shortly after the newspaper published a critical story about the country’s prime minister.
In the days to come, though, it became apparent that the Times wasn’t alone: The Wall Street Journal also said it battled back Chinese hackers who spied on reporters covering issues related to the country. Sources told the Times that Bloomberg News once experienced similar difficulties. And The Washington Post acknowledged on Saturday its own run-in with digital spies thought to be operating in China. Authorities in Beijing reportedly have rejected any connection to the incidents.