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China and the West: keyboard conflicts?

This video's ITN/Reuters copyrighted library material licensed by NATO can only be used in a new production with copyright holder consent.

Both the West and China have highlighted the importance of the Web - in different ways. Here we look at how it is becoming centre stage in cyber attacks between the two and the efforts both sides are making to beef up their defences.

 Subtitles: On / Off

The Internet is at the heart

of our new globalised world.

It provides many

positive opportunities,

but is also seen

as a source of new threats.

Concern about these threats has

been expressed at the highest levels.

It’s clear this cyber threat

is a very serious economic

and national security challenge

for our nation.

And we’re not as prepared

as we should be.

And cyber attacks is

an excellent example

because you can cause

devastating effects

to economy

and structures of a country

without one single soldier

crossing the border.

Without firing one single shot.

The West and China

accuse each other

of being the source of cyber attacks,

and claim to have been victims

of these attacks.

Are we in the middle

of a new cyber Cold War?

A Cold War...

I’m a bit cautious to say that,

but there is definitely an awful lot

of distrust between both sides.

China has made planning and

investing in cyber capacity a priority.

China has a lot of plans

to further develop

a kind of independent cyber capacity

and somehow setting it apart

from American servers.

Although attacks so far have focused

on financial or political targets,

it’s the links with the military

that causes concern.

Our technological advantage is a key

to America’s military dominance.

But our networks are

under constant attack.

In today’s world

acts of terror could come

not only from extremists

in suicide vests,

but from a few keystrokes

on the computer:

a weapon of mass disruption.

Militarily and in terms of security

issues, it is an important element.

Each side has indicated

that it is concerned,

that it is involved in self-protection

in defence of their own networks,

their own technology infrastructure,

their own information infrastructure.

Each side has hundreds of thousands

of civil servants, military personnel,

involved in this.

Cyber war, yes definitely

this features very prominently

in China’s military thinking: you need

to catch the enemy in his weak spot.

IT and Informatica are

definitely one of these soft spots,

soft underbellies,

of the American armed forces.

Both sides are acquiring

the most advanced equipment

and recruiting

the most skilled personnel.

Even in the US I know

one of the leading

information technology

security experts

is a self-confessed former hacker.

The Chinese have invested

massively in cyber warfare units,

in new software and hardware,

and I think they really have made

more progress than we expected.

Unsurprisingly China's view

of what’s happening on the Internet

differs from Western standpoints.

Xinghui Zhang is

the Brussels Bureau Chief

of the China Youth Daily Newspaper.

The Chinese government,

I remember, clearly announced

it opposed any form of cyber attack.

It is already a law,

if somebody do the cyber attack

it will be punished by the law.

And China views its own

Internet growth far more openly

than is seen in the West.

I think the Chinese government

always welcome and encourage

the Internet industry

development in China.

We also welcome

a more open Internet.

We also welcome

more access to the information.

A recent and high-profile cases

which focused

on the Internet in China

came following Google’s threat to quit

the country after Gmail accounts

of human rights activists

were reportedly hacked into.

For the Google case,

it is a specific case.

The question is that Google

cannot make money in China.

It is... close, close to a failure

during the competition

with the Chinese competitors.

In China more people intend

to view it as a business strategy

to make it widely known in China.

After it announced

its possible exit strategy in China,

even in some rural places,

they never knew what Google is.

They tried to find the information

on a website, what Google is,

why it is doing so?

So maybe this is a big

or a good business campaign

for Google in China.

But despite denials from the Chinese,

watchers find it difficult

to comprehend

that some of the attacks happen

without involvement

of the government.

I really do not tend

to buy into this kind of argument

that the Chinese government

is not involved.

The border between government

and the corporate world,

or even the civil world,

is always very murky.

A lot of the protagonists

and main players are located

within universities,

within private companies,

with some links

with governmental bodies.

For China the West is too quick

to point out not just cyber threats,

but also how China permits

its own people to access the Internet.

The Western countries have the views

on the Chinese government,

if they do something, even regulation,

or guide something for the Internet,

they always say:

Oh, this is censorship.

I think this is

a big disagreement between China

and the Western countries.

But from the Chinese view,

we have to do some regulation work.

For example, we have

to stop all those sex websites

because it has

a negative influence on the kids.

And we also stop the websites

that try

to organise the terrorist actions.

Although the Internet benefits

all of us on an everyday basis,

a key gap is that there is

still no international agreement

for how it can be used.

It may have reached the point

for all concerned to put that right.

Maybe one international group

can focus on,

set up some regulations,

universally accepted,

for the Internet information flow.

I think the time is ripe

to start addressing this

as a high-priority defence

and security issue by all sides.

And that means also addressing it as

almost a traditional

arms control issue.

Why not engage

in trying to develop a dialogue

and develop a code of conduct

or a treaty to disarm,

to control this element

which I think

is a high-risk element to all sides.

The Internet is at the heart

of our new globalised world.

It provides many

positive opportunities,

but is also seen

as a source of new threats.

Concern about these threats has

been expressed at the highest levels.

It’s clear this cyber threat

is a very serious economic

and national security challenge

for our nation.

And we’re not as prepared

as we should be.

And cyber attacks is

an excellent example

because you can cause

devastating effects

to economy

and structures of a country

without one single soldier

crossing the border.

Without firing one single shot.

The West and China

accuse each other

of being the source of cyber attacks,

and claim to have been victims

of these attacks.

Are we in the middle

of a new cyber Cold War?

A Cold War...

I’m a bit cautious to say that,

but there is definitely an awful lot

of distrust between both sides.

China has made planning and

investing in cyber capacity a priority.

China has a lot of plans

to further develop

a kind of independent cyber capacity

and somehow setting it apart

from American servers.

Although attacks so far have focused

on financial or political targets,

it’s the links with the military

that causes concern.

Our technological advantage is a key

to America’s military dominance.

But our networks are

under constant attack.

In today’s world

acts of terror could come

not only from extremists

in suicide vests,

but from a few keystrokes

on the computer:

a weapon of mass disruption.

Militarily and in terms of security

issues, it is an important element.

Each side has indicated

that it is concerned,

that it is involved in self-protection

in defence of their own networks,

their own technology infrastructure,

their own information infrastructure.

Each side has hundreds of thousands

of civil servants, military personnel,

involved in this.

Cyber war, yes definitely

this features very prominently

in China’s military thinking: you need

to catch the enemy in his weak spot.

IT and Informatica are

definitely one of these soft spots,

soft underbellies,

of the American armed forces.

Both sides are acquiring

the most advanced equipment

and recruiting

the most skilled personnel.

Even in the US I know

one of the leading

information technology

security experts

is a self-confessed former hacker.

The Chinese have invested

massively in cyber warfare units,

in new software and hardware,

and I think they really have made

more progress than we expected.

Unsurprisingly China's view

of what’s happening on the Internet

differs from Western standpoints.

Xinghui Zhang is

the Brussels Bureau Chief

of the China Youth Daily Newspaper.

The Chinese government,

I remember, clearly announced

it opposed any form of cyber attack.

It is already a law,

if somebody do the cyber attack

it will be punished by the law.

And China views its own

Internet growth far more openly

than is seen in the West.

I think the Chinese government

always welcome and encourage

the Internet industry

development in China.

We also welcome

a more open Internet.

We also welcome

more access to the information.

A recent and high-profile cases

which focused

on the Internet in China

came following Google’s threat to quit

the country after Gmail accounts

of human rights activists

were reportedly hacked into.

For the Google case,

it is a specific case.

The question is that Google

cannot make money in China.

It is... close, close to a failure

during the competition

with the Chinese competitors.

In China more people intend

to view it as a business strategy

to make it widely known in China.

After it announced

its possible exit strategy in China,

even in some rural places,

they never knew what Google is.

They tried to find the information

on a website, what Google is,

why it is doing so?

So maybe this is a big

or a good business campaign

for Google in China.

But despite denials from the Chinese,

watchers find it difficult

to comprehend

that some of the attacks happen

without involvement

of the government.

I really do not tend

to buy into this kind of argument

that the Chinese government

is not involved.

The border between government

and the corporate world,

or even the civil world,

is always very murky.

A lot of the protagonists

and main players are located

within universities,

within private companies,

with some links

with governmental bodies.

For China the West is too quick

to point out not just cyber threats,

but also how China permits

its own people to access the Internet.

The Western countries have the views

on the Chinese government,

if they do something, even regulation,

or guide something for the Internet,

they always say:

Oh, this is censorship.

I think this is

a big disagreement between China

and the Western countries.

But from the Chinese view,

we have to do some regulation work.

For example, we have

to stop all those sex websites

because it has

a negative influence on the kids.

And we also stop the websites

that try

to organise the terrorist actions.

Although the Internet benefits

all of us on an everyday basis,

a key gap is that there is

still no international agreement

for how it can be used.

It may have reached the point

for all concerned to put that right.

Maybe one international group

can focus on,

set up some regulations,

universally accepted,

for the Internet information flow.

I think the time is ripe

to start addressing this

as a high-priority defence

and security issue by all sides.

And that means also addressing it as

almost a traditional

arms control issue.

Why not engage

in trying to develop a dialogue

and develop a code of conduct

or a treaty to disarm,

to control this element

which I think

is a high-risk element to all sides.

Read more: China, Asia, cyber attacks
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