Watching Cybernorms Get Made

Wrote another short piece for TheCipherBrief on Obama’s expulsion of Russian intelligence officers.  Obama’s response did three things: contained the crisis in intelligence channels, gave the Russians a familiar path to limit the damage, and made a point about cyber norms.

Indeed, this is the third time he’s taken action or inaction to create norms for behavior in Cyberspace.

  1. First, by indicting Chinese hackers from Unit 61398 and then pressing Xi Jingping to accept that governments don’t hack for commercial advantage.
  2. Second, by expressing outrage but not retaliating when China broke into the poorly protected trove of data at the Office of Personnel Management, he established that espionage is OK.
  3. Third, by expelling military intelligence officers (behind the hackers called “FancyBear”) and civilian intelligence officers (behind the hackers known as “CozyBear”), he’s tried to establish another norm:  governments don’t hack for political advantage.

With elections next year in Germany and France, we’ll see if Obama’s third norm can stick.


For cut and pasters, the full article is at:

Staying ahead of China

Wrote a short column for TheCipherBrief on staying ahead of China. Examined implications of China starting with basic elements of what China is and is becoming.  We need to remember that China is:

1) Chinese
2) Communist
3) Dependent on value chains
4) At the end of their model
5) Big on almost every issue
6) most Asian countries’ top trading partner.

Bottom line: understand Chinese behavior, they looking for a place in the system. If we keep moving ahead on technology, trade, economy, China has to fit in. If we lag behind, China will pass us.

For cutting and pasting, the post is at: