Following up on the post of two weeks ago about Estonia under cyberattack from Russia: according to a Pentagon report to the US Congress - downloadable here (PDF 6 Mb) -- China has developed first-strike cyberwarfare capabilities. The People's Liberation Army "has established information warfare units to develop viruses to
attack enemy computer systems and networks, and tactics and measures to
protect friendly computer systems and networks. In 2005, the PLA began
to incorporate offensive CNO into its
exercises, primarily in first strikes against enemy networks". CNO stands for "Computer network operations". The Foreign Policy blog, from which I got this information, underscores that this signals a shift in the Chinese cyberwar thinking, which was so far focused defensively. Tensions with Taiwan might explain the change -- taking down the Taiwanese electronic infrastructure would be a key target in a possible military campaign. Says the report: "A limited military campaign could include computer network attacks
against Taiwan’s political, military, and economic infrastructure to
undermine the Taiwan population’s confidence in its leadership".
I'll come back to this in a few days, as I'm reading Guy-Philippe Goldstein's fabulous book "Babel minute zéro" (in French), which deals exactly with this issue.