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Expert: ‘China has both the playbook and the capacity to interfere’ in US elections

China has the resources and ability to interfere with US elections but chooses not to, according to cybersecurity expert and author Adam Segal. Unlike Russia, which seems keen to heighten political divisions, China prefers to cultivate long-term relationships with powerful personas in the States.

“China has both the playbook and the capacity to interfere,” said Segal, who is also as expert on Chinese technology policy.

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In a piece for The New York Times, Segal asserts that the threat of China disrupting American elections is real – it just hasn’t done it, historically.

“Chinese entities operating with the assent of the government in Beijing already have mounted long-running cyber-espionage campaigns against United States government agencies, the defense industry and American private companies,” he writes.

“Russian operations tend to heighten political divisions to drive a wedge in the target society. Chinese operations aim instead to cultivate common interests with powerful actors,” Segal notes.

A key reason for this restraint could be the ongoing trade war between the US and China.

“Chinese intelligence officers historically have pursued their country’s foreign policy objectives by cultivating long-term relationships rather than through disinformation,” Segal notes.

But China’s restraint is “not guaranteed” in the future. The country sits on troves of AI and big data that could boost its ability to manipulate information in the future, he said.

Last week, we reported that the US Cyber Command – which shares headquarters with the NSA – has resorted to sending direct messages to individual Russian operatives, insisting that the Kremlin stop its disinformation campaign targeting the 2018 midterms and political matters in general.

Russia’s efforts in this regard, primarily targeted at sowing dissent in the United States, have been “increasingly elaborate and sophisticated” in recent times, the command said. However, Cyber Command’s approach to the issue is described as non-aggressive. The reason? To avoid full blown cyber warfare between the countries.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Bitdefender Labs authored by Filip Truta. Read the original post at: https://labs.bitdefender.com/2018/10/expert-china-has-both-the-playbook-and-the-capacity-to-interfere-in-us-elections/