China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain

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China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain
by Edited by Jon R. Lindsay, Tai Ming Cheung, and Derek S. Reveron
Oxford University Press, 2015
398 pp.
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This book’s contributors argue that China is not the electronic supervillain it is often thought to be. Despite the regime’s hefty investment in digital espionage and cyberwar capabilities, its networks are less secure than those in the United States, the Chinese agencies that make cybersecurity policy are more fragmented than their U.S. counter-parts, and the country suffers losses worth close to $1 billion a year because of weak policing of online theft and fraud. China conducts a great deal of industrial espionage, but its enterprises have a hard time filtering and applying the vast amount of data their hackers steal. Looking only at the Chinese side of the relationship, the book does not detail the digital threats that the United States poses to China. But Chinese thinkers believe they are significant, and given China’s strategic doctrine of striking first and massively, this creates the risk that in a crisis, Beijing might launch a preemptive cyberattack. The fact that Chinese and Western experts cooperated in this pathbreaking book shows that there is a potential for working together. But there are many obstacles, including the inherent secrecy of the field.