Washington: Washington is struggling to fight against 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 cyber defences.
According to Politico, 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.
Republican Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said that the latest attack was just another reminder of how relentless and sweeping China’s cyber attacks are.
He added that 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.
He said that ‘foreign cyber attackers 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.’
According to the report, the renewed Beltway interest in cyber security follows after the 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.
The high-profile attacks, however, are only the latest in a series of similar cyber attacks that have been pegged to China.
According to the report, both the Times and the Journal signalled this week that they, too, are working with federal authorities to determine the cause and extent of the breaches.
Asked about the incident, White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined comment on the specific attacks, but she did say the United States “has substantial and growing concerns about the threats to U.S. economic and national security posed by cyber intrusions, including the theft of commercial information.”
It’s widely believed the Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an inquiry into the matter, but a spokeswoman told POLITICO that the agency could neither confirm nor deny the speculation.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman at the State Department emphasized that the agency has ‘been clear with the government of China that we need to continue to talk about this’, the report added.
First Published: Sunday, February 03, 2013, 19:23