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China to rival US as cyber superpower

Can Washington and Tokyo counter Beijing's rapid rise?

A new study published by the IISS said that China is on a trajectory to reach parity with the U.S. as a “tier one” cyber power in about a decade.    © Reuters

Cyber capabilities are now a potent instrument of national power. This fact was dramatized last month when hackers shut down the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies almost half of the motor fuel consumed on the U.S. east coast, for five days. The hackers, according to U.S. officials, were from a Russian ransomware group named DarkSide, which successfully received payment from U.S. authorities.

The case represented one of the most visible recent examples of the mushrooming phenomenon of cybercrime. But it should also be recognized that state actors -- as well as crime syndicates -- are ramping up cyber capabilities to engage in gray zone warfare.

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