Barbarians at the Digital Gate
Its cyberattacks show the world the nature of the Chinese regime.
On a visit to our offices last year, a U.S. lawmaker with knowledge of intelligence affairs explained that, when it comes to cyber-espionage, there are only two kinds of American companies these days: Those that have been hacked, and those that don't know they've been hacked.
The Journal's evidence is that the cyber-espionage goes well beyond specific stories to a general interest in sources and coverage. As companies from Google GOOG -0.86% to Nortel to BAE Systems have discovered, hacking—both for purposes of monitoring and to steal commercial intellectual property or government secrets—has become the Chinese way.
That was also the conclusion of a bipartisan report last fall from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The committee, led by Republican Mike Rogers and Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger, investigated claims by Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE that they were clean companies whose expansion efforts in the U.S. would pose no risk of cyber-espionage or other threats to critical infrastructure.
Meantime, we read that the FBI is investigating China's media hacking and treating it as a national security issue. It's also a plain-old crime, undertaken by a government that fancies itself the world's next superpower but acts like a giant thievery corporation.
The Middle Kingdom might once have been the center of human civilization. But in the digital world, the Chinese are the barbarians at the gate. Whatever they think they've learned about us by sneaking around our inboxes, the world has learned a great deal more about them.