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U.S. encouraged to allow firms to retaliate against hackers

Posting in Government

Throwing money at creating cyberpolice forces and technology to keep up with digital threats may not be the only tactics the U.S. will employ in the future.

As a meeting between President Obama and the new president of China, Xi Jinping, draws near, former senior officials in the Obama Administration will recommend a series of steps to deter hackers from the country from stealing U.S. industrial secrets.

Dennis C. Blair and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., leaders of the private Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, suggest that if less forceful measures to deter hackers fail, then companies should be granted the right to protect their systems on their own terms.

The right to retaliate against cyberattackers is detailed in the commission's report, due for release today.

China and the United States have constantly clashed over the prevalence of cyberattacks. A recent report issued by the U.S. Department of Defense laid the blame for widespread cyber espionage campaigns against U.S. targets squarely at the Chinese government and military's feet.

China denies these claims, and has said that accusations are "groundless."

If hacking counterattacks are made legal, the report argues, then "there are many techniques that companies could employ that would cause severe damage to the capability" as long as law enforcement agencies are aware of what's going on. However, if attacking becomes the best defense, then some government officials fear that the cyberwar between nations will quickly escalate and could end up out of control.

As a last resort, the report says that tariffs or restrictions could be placed on the import of Chinese products, a measure that Senators have already considered. This month, a new bill was proposed that would block the import of products which contain U.S. technology stolen through cybercrime.

Read More | Originally appeared on: ZDNet

— By on May 21, 2013, 10:35 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure