When transition planning gets underway in earnest this fall, one of the hardest memos to write will be the outbrief from the current National Security Council (NSC) team on what to do about China’s ongoing campaign of cyber espionage targeting the intellectual property of U.S. companies. While long a focus of both the president’s cyber and China teams, there is little chance that in the coming months the issue is going to be brought to any type of resolution. Instead, the next president will inherit a partially implemented plan that has produced positive results in the short term, but its long-term sustainability remains uncertain. He or she would be wise to follow the playbook left by the Obama administration, with a redoubled focus on the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime.
Our democracy is under attack by Russia, but almost no one is treating the situation with the gravity it deserves. President Obama is loathe to retaliate. Would-be president Donald Trump denies that any attack is happening. And the media are acting as enablers for the attackers.
On June 10, 2003, the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly passed a resolution to development a strategy to combat threats to cybersecurity. Built on efforts of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, Inter-American Telecommunication Commission, and REMJA Governmental Experts Group on Cybercrime, this strategy provides a framework for American states to collaborate in "protecting networks and information systems that constitute the Internet, and for responding to and recovering from incidents."
To assist generations of U.S. policymakers to navigate the complexities of cyber and other technological threats, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has launched the Ira A. Lipman Chair in Emerging Technologies and National Security, named for longtime CFR member Ira A. Lipman, the founder and chairman emeritus of Guardsmark, LLC—one of the world’s largest security services companies.
Earlier this month, the Washington Post revealed that Russian hacker groups known as Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear reportedly breached the networks of the Clinton and Trump campaigns as well as theDemocratic National Committee, White House, State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Authors: Ari Schwartz and Robert K. Knake Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs John F. Kennedy School of Government Harvard University
In this June 2016 discussion paper, Knake and his coauthor examine the Obama administration’s Vulnerability Equities Process guidelines. They argue that the administration ought to formalize and publicize these guidelines and offer policy recommendations to improve the VEP while maintaining a bias toward public disclosure of zero day vulnerabilities.
In spite of significant differences in views, Beijing and Washington appear committed to not letting cyber issues derail the U.S.-China relationship or interfere with cooperation on other high-profile issues. Among the wide range of issues raised at their recent meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping reiterated their commitment to last September’s breakthrough cybersecurity agreement.
Authors: Adam Segal and Tang Lan The National Bureau of Asian Research
While there continue to be significant differences between the perspectives of the U.S. and Chinese governments on issues in cyberspace, recent progress to overcome these challenges suggests a path forward, writes Adam Segal. Substantive cooperation on cybersecurity, cybercrime, and Internet governance can help both countries avoid a conflict over cyberspace.
Since the 1990s, U.S. law enforcement has expressed concern about “going dark,” roughly defined as an inability to access encrypted communications or data even with a court order. Silicon Valley companies are rolling out encrypted products that allow users alone to access their data, and in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attacks, law enforcement officials argue that their fears are being realized.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »