CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

Posts by Author

Showing posts for "Adam Segal"

Obama, Xi, and Cyberspace

by Adam Segal
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on February 14, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on February 14, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

In the run up to the “shirt-sleeves” summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama, which will take place at the Sunnylands estate in California on June 7-8, one of the questions has been how would Obama raise the cyber espionage issue. An approach that directly calls out the seriousness of the attacks but indirectly hints at the possible sanctions seems the most likely. This would be a “good cop, bad cop” approach. Obama would stress that Chinese attacks, especially on the private sector, needed to be dialed back, but that Washington also wanted to continue working with Beijing on a range of issues, including Iran, North Korea denuclearization, and climate change. Obama would also hint that there is a great deal of legislation being considered that might lead to sanctions on Chinese companies and travel restrictions on individuals, and that China should work with him to prevent that from happening. Read more »

Three Thoughts on Cyber and the Defense Department’s Report on the Chinese Military

by Adam Segal
U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey (R) and Chief of the general staff of China's People's Liberation Army Fang Fenghui salute after inspecting a guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony at the Bayi Building in Beijing on April 22, 2013. (Andy Wong/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey (R) and Chief of the general staff of China's People's Liberation Army Fang Fenghui salute after inspecting a guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony at the Bayi Building in Beijing on April 22, 2013. (Andy Wong/Courtesy Reuters)

The Defense Department released its annual report to Congress on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2013. Besides being delivered relatively early compared to past editions and being almost twice as long as the 2012 version, this year’s version has at least three interesting points about Chinese cyber activities.

First, as many have noted, the sharpest break from the past is that the report directly ascribes blame for cyberattacks to the Chinese government and military, saying, “numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military.” Read more »

What To Do About Chinese Cyber Espionage?

by Adam Segal
The facade of the New York Times building is seen in New York, on November 29, 2010. The facade of the New York Times building is seen in New York, on November 29, 2010. (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters)

A few days after the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post all admitted that their computer networks had been attacked, apparently by China-based hackers, it seems fair to say that both sides agree the “naming and shaming” approach to the problem is not working. The United States can call China out, but it has no real affect on behavior. Read more »

Presidential Inbox: The Constant Irrititant of Cybersecurity in Asia

by Adam Segal
U.S. President Barack Obama recites his oath of office as first lady Michelle Obama looks on during swearing-in ceremonies on the West front of the U.S Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama recites his oath of office as first lady Michelle Obama looks on during swearing-in ceremonies on the West front of the U.S Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2013. (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters)

Mr. President, as you look toward Asia in your second term, cybersecurity will be a grain of sand in the eye, a major irritant but not one that blocks the larger vision of what you hope to accomplish in the region. That grain, namely Chinese cyber espionage, is not going away any time soon, but there are things you can do to make it slightly less annoying. Moreover, many of the policies to mitigate the situation will overlap with other efforts to re-energize the U.S. presence and boost ties to allies and friends in the region. Read more »

Five Trends to Watch for in Chinese Cybersecurity in 2013

by Adam Segal
A man smokes as he uses a computer at an internet cafe in Hefei, Anhui province, A man smokes as he uses a computer at an internet cafe in Hefei, Anhui province, (Jianan Yu/Courtesy Reuters)

With 2012 coming to an end, here are some of the larger trends to watch in Chinese cybersecurity in the upcoming year.

New institutions/bureaucratic reform. There are rumors that there will be another round of bureaucratic reforms in the spring. Chinese analysts have pointed out that one of the great weaknesses in their defenses is that institutional oversight of cybersecurity is fragmented and ineffective, and there is a low degree of information sharing between the government and industry. There have also been complaints that China lacks adequate strategic planning for information security. In the past, efforts at ministerial reform have been underwhelming, resulting in little more than shuffling around of titles. This CCID report, however, does make the interesting suggestion that China should set up an “information security agency” to better coordinate cyber strategy. Read more »

The 18th Party Congress and Chinese Cyberpower

by Adam Segal
Chinese President Hu Jintao delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 11, 2012. Chinese President Hu Jintao delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 11, 2012. (Jason Lee/Courtesy Reuters)

China will announce its new leadership slate this week and the rest of the world will start scrambling, trying to figure out what the lineup means for the prospects of economic and political reform as well as the direction of Chinese foreign policy.

It is hard to know what, if any, impact the political succession will have on Chinese cyberspace policy. Read more »

Huawei, Cybersecurity, and U.S. Foreign Policy

by Adam Segal
Reps. Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger hold a news conference on Huawei and ZTE in Washington House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) (L) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) hold a news conference to release a report on "national security threats posed by Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE" on Capitol Hill in Washington October 8, 2012. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters)

Most of the attention generated by the report by Chairman Mike Rogers and Ranking Member C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger of the House Select Committee on Intelligence (HSCI) has focused on the issues of trade, trust, and Huawei’s and ZTE’s future access to the U.S. market. The report, however, should also be seen as another step in the effort to construct a coherent foreign policy response to cyber espionage.

The domestic agenda has revolved around three debates: the government’s role in setting security standards for the private sector; how the government and private sector should share threat information; and the respective roles of DHS and NSA in defending the private sector. Read more »

China, International Law, and Cyberspace

by Adam Segal
Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of State, speaking at a press conference at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. (Eric Bridiers/Courtesy U.S. Mission to the UN) Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of State, speaking at a press conference at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. (Eric Bridiers/Courtesy U.S. Mission to the UN)

In a speech two weeks ago, Harold Koh stated that the United States government believes that cyberattacks can amount to armed attacks and are subject to international law. “International law principles do apply in cyberspace,” said Koh. “Cyber activities that proximately result in death, injury, or significant destruction would likely be viewed as a use of force.” Self-defense, proportionality, neutrality, and distinction should all apply in cyberspace, though there remain questions and ambiguities about defining the use of force, distinguishing between military and civilian-use networks, and the continuing problem of attribution. Read more »

The Dog That Didn’t Bark: Why No China-Japan Hacking War Over Diaoyutai/Senkaku (Yet)?

by Adam Segal
Activists from the Hong Kong-based Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands shout slogans and wave the Chinese flag on a vessel, which will sail to a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea, in Hong Kong October 22, 2006. The banner written in Chinese reads "Japan get out of the Diaoyu Islands". (Paul Yeung / Courtesy Reuters) Activists from the Hong Kong-based Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands shout slogans and wave the Chinese flag on a vessel, which will sail to a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea, in Hong Kong October 22, 2006. The banner written in Chinese reads "Japan get out of the Diaoyu Islands". (Paul Yeung / Courtesy Reuters)

Website defacement played a large part of the standoff between China and the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island. From April 20 until May 18 hackers on both sides traded blows, posting messages claiming sovereignty over the disputed islands and taunting the other side. Chinese hackers attacked the websites of the Department of Budget and Management and the University of Philippines, and posted the Chinese flag on the Philippines News Agency site; Filipino hackers responded with attacks on government sites and the message: “You may continue bullying our country’s waters but we will not tolerate you from intimidating our own cyber shores.” After three Chinese surveillance ships cut the exploration cables belonging to a Vietnamese ship on May 26, Chinese and Vietnamese hackers defaced and brought down thousands of websites. Read more »

Legendary Female Cyber Cop: What Do New ‘Model Workers’ Tell Us About Chinese Cyber Policy?

by Adam Segal
Sina Weibo Homepage of Gao Yuan, "The Legendary Female Cyber Cop." (Courtesy Sina Weibo) Sina Weibo Homepage of Gao Yuan, "The Legendary Female Cyber Cop." (Courtesy Sina Weibo)

There is a long tradition of the Chinese Communist Party acknowledging and honoring “model workers,” selfless citizens who contribute to the building of modern China. While in the early years after the revolution these individuals were usually peasants or ordinary workers like Zhang Binggui who worked at a candy counter and could “count out prices and change in his head,” the category has expanded to encompass almost all professions including the astronaut Yang Liwei and NBA-great Yao Ming.

Read more »