U.S. and China negotiate "arms deal" for cyberspace

The headquarters of China's Ministry of State Security (MSS), tasked with most cyberattack operations

The U.S. and China are secretly negotiating a digital "arms deal," in what could become the world's first strictly digital arms control accord.

The deal is designed so that neither country can cripple the infrastructure of the other via hacking or any other cyberspace-based attack - at least during peacetime.

According to David Sanger of the New York Times, the deal would address attacks on critical physical infrastructure, such as power plants, cell phone networks, and hospitals, but would not - at least in its current iteration - address attacks that China has been previously accused of carrying out, like intellectual property theft and the theft of government employees' sensitive personal information.

As the threat of cyberattacks heats up, particularly against private enterprise in the United States, both countries are rushing to secure this agreement to prevent any future hostile actions.

Despite this, the agreement would not address many critical cybersecurity issues. North Korea's recent attack on Sony, for example, would not be prohibited under the agreement. Nor would any attacks on private enterprise, like Sony, which aren't considered part of the United States' "critical infrastructure."

Microsoft recently signed a cybersecurity agreement with NATO to provide member governments with protection against digital threats by offering crucial Microsoft products and services. And while the United States' agreement with China may limit future cyberattacks, private enterprise is gearing up for a changing world where the threat of digital attacks are more pronounced.

Source: The Seattle Times

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