The U.S. and China have agreed to high-level diplomatic talks in which they'll discuss the ongoing problem of military and commercial hacking. The topic will likely come up at a special summit being held Friday in Rancho Mirage, California with Barack Obama and China's new leader, Xi Jinping, The Guardian reports.
Cyberespionage has become a serious concern for the U.S. as hackers believed to be based in Beijing and Shanghai have broken into some of the country's most sensitive weapons systems, even tampering with products developed by leading American businesses.
Though China has vehemently denied any involvement--"I think this hacking issue has been exaggerated by the U.S. side," Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Beijiing's Global Times, a publication owned by the communist party, told CBS--U.S. authorities aren't convinced.
According to The Guardian, last week The Washington Post obtained confidential portions of a report for the Pentagon by the Defense Science Board warning officials Chinese hackers had cracked into weapons systems, including one for Navy-operated ballistic missiles. Additionally, a unit of the People's Liberation was blamed for attacks on U.S. newspapers including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as political think tanks and firms.
China has voiced its wishes for the U.S. to scale back its military presence in the region, but The Guardian doesn't expect Obama to raise the issue directly on Friday, given the tension between the two superpowers.
What recourse do you have if you're company is hacked? Support has been growing to let cybertheft victims "hack back," or retaliate against intruders, according to The Wall Street Journal. While for now such a step is probably illegal, in coming weeks an influential legal group will release a report about gray areas where a legal "active defense" may exist.