You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

editorial

Chinese hackers pose a growing threat

The Pentagon this week issued its most direct acknowledgment to date of the serious threat that Chinese hackers pose to American security and industry. The new report details the systematic thievery of trade and technology secrets and even hints that the Chinese government and its People’s Liberation Army are behind most cyber attacks on US interests. And it lays bare what is truly at stake: America’s capacity to innovate and, in turn, its economic competitive advantage. A coordinated effort both to put pressure on China to end cyber espionage and protect US networks must be pursued.

Chinese officials have denied any state policy of industrial espionage, suggesting they are as much victims as the United States. The Obama administration has rightfully pushed back against such claims, and officials have traveled to Beijing to press the message that the White House is running out of patience.

Continue reading below

The time to discuss more punitive actions is here. The American military can’t ask China to stop developing cyber weaponry because it is quietly racing to build similar capacity itself; but it can keep beefing up its defense. Stealing American intellectual property is another matter. The Justice Department has signaled it will step up the investigation and prosecution of cyber thefts. There is also talk of denying visas to anyone found to be stealing trade secrets. Both should be done immediately.

If problems persist, the United States should consider trade restrictions and, in the worst case scenario, offensive action by the military Cyber Command. Meanwhile, the House and Senate must find middle ground to address the languishing cyber security bill. Yes, a compromise that adequately respects online privacy is important, but easing the ability of government agencies to share classified cyber-threat information with vulnerable corporations is long overdue. Economic piracy needn’t be tolerated as the cost of doing business with China.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.