The Obama administration has determined that it must retaliate against China for the theft of the personal information of more than 20 million Americans from the databases of the Office of Personnel Management, but it is still struggling to decide what it can do without prompting an escalating cyberconflict.
The decision came after the administration concluded that the hacking attack was so vast in scope and ambition that the usual practices for dealing with traditional espionage cases did not apply.
But in a series of classified meetings, officials have struggled to choose among options that range from largely symbolic responses — for example, diplomatic protests or the ouster of known Chinese agents in the United States — to more significant actions that some officials fear could lead to an escalation of the hacking conflict between the two countries.
Obviously, we have to inflict serious lasting damage on them. While not revealing the extent of what we can do in wartime.
Although for a lot of cyber-weapons, I imagine their lifespan is limited as criminals or computer security peoplebidentify holes and they are patched. So some might be "use 'em or lose 'em" weapons, no?
I personally think one of the best targets would be to pole holes in the Great Firewall of China, which was mentioned in the article, to let information leak into China. Could we carry out an ongoing campaign until the Chinese agree to stop hacking our systems? And erase all the OPM data they stole?
Of course, in wartime we shouldn't be so caught up in cyber-warfare that we forget that hackers live in the real world.
Which can be blown up.