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MANDIANT OFFICIAL: REPORT ON CHINA MAY HELP DIPLOMATIC EFFORT
May 30,2013

MANDIANT OFFICIAL: REPORT ON CHINA MAY HELP DIPLOMATIC EFFORT

TRDaily - May 30, 2013

Copyright © 2013, Telecommunications Reports International, Inc.

 

The president of cybersecurity services provider Mandiant Corp. said today that U.S. efforts to combat cyber attacks emanating from China may be helped in part by the way Mandiant prepared its report earlier this year that tied the attacks to the Chinese government.

 

Travis Reese, Mandiant’s president and chief operating officer, said at an event sponsored by the Digital Government Institute that the timing of the release of the company’s report on Chinese cyber operations in February – which detailed links to attacks from one Chinese government group dubbed “APT1” - was done in coordination with U.S. government officials, and was timed to coincide with Chinese New Year “to catch them a little off guard.”

 

Mr. Reese said the February report gave the U.S. government third-party evidence it needed to more forcefully and publicly criticize China for its cyber activities, but also was written in such a way as to “let the Chinese save a little face.” That combination, he said, may be a good thing for U.S.-Chinese negotiations on the subject.

 

White House officials said earlier this month that cybersecurity will be one of several major issues that President Obama expects to discuss with Chinese President Xi Jinping when the two meet next week.

 

“Diplomatically, we have to apply a lot more pressure” to China to change their behavior, Mr. Reese asserted. But he counseled against any “rogue” attacks on Chinese networks by U.S. private sector interests, saying that those would pose a “diplomatic challenge.”

 

Of this week’s news reports that the U.S. government has concluded that Chinese government cyber attacks have resulted in information being stolen about major U.S. weapons programs, Mr. Reese indicated he was not surprised. “That’s not news, that’s spy versus spy,” he said.

 

“What nobody expects is for every part of private businesses to be hammered” by cyber theft from Chinese sources, he said, adding it’s even harder to fathom for Fortune 100 chief executive officers that do a lot of business in China. “They are stealing nearly everything,” Mr. Reese said of the Chinese government. “Why stop when it’s working.”

 

Mr. Reese recalled from recent Mandiant reports that most companies don’t know their systems have been hacked until many months after the fact, but praised federal government investigators for detecting the intrusions and informing targeted companies. “We would not have the success we are having [in combating intrusions] if the government was not doing victim notifications,” he said, adding, “those knocks on the door are working . . . the government has helped significantly.” He said that cyber threat data sharing between Mandiant and the federal government has been “pretty good” because many Mandiant employees used to work for the government.

 

He also said that there are no technologies that will stop cyber attacks, but that cyber defense requires “people, process, and technology” along with a mindset that assumes some attacks will succeed, but that catastrophic attacks can be thwarted. – John Curran, john.curran@wolterskluwer.com

 

 

TRDaily - May 30, 2013

 

Copyright © 2013, Telecommunications Reports International, Inc.










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