Jon Lindsay recently published an interesting article in the Winter 2014/2015 edition of the journal International Security. The article provides an in-depth and balanced assessment of the issues surrounding China and its activities involving the internet and cybersecurity. Lindsay correctly points out that there is significant rhetoric from both sides that make it difficult to assess the true activities and vulnerabilities of China and the United States.
Lindsay examines four threat narratives: political, espionage, military, and institutional. This discussion highlights the complexity of the international cybersecurity debate. Cyber is an element of all the traditional elements of national power: diplomacy, information, military and economic (DIME) and the more recently added financial, intelligence and law enforcement (DIMEFIL). The linkages between trade, security, and technology serve to add friction to the diplomatic debates.
Lindsay also points out the different interpretations of the language used by both sides. The West sees more danger in the technical threats of cyber activity whereas China and some others view the intellectual content as more worrisome.
The article is definitely worth the time to read and contemplate.
Lindsay, Jon R. (2015). The impact of China on cybersecurity: Fiction and fact. International Security 39 (3), 7-47. doi: 10.1162/ISEC_a_00189