Sanctions may be Obama's best idea yet to battle cyberattacks

[Commentary] Sanctions are a much-needed step to vilify stealing commercial secrets, so that it is seen on par as payment by companies to corrupt officials, something that used to be widespread but is increasingly subject to strong negative norms. Hopefully, the sanctions will include noneconomic penalties such as denying visas to executives who support the theft of commercial secrets, as well as to their spouses and children who want to study in US universities. Such targeted penalties affect those most responsible for the worst excesses without painting China guilty as an entire nation. This new order from President Barack Obama will be seen correctly as a response to China’s commercial spying, however it is meant to help deter other attacks, too.

This new policy on sanctions is the most innovative, and perhaps is the only truly new idea to combat cyberattacks during the entire Obama presidency. It could easily be the most successful, so long as the Chinese (or Brazilians or Europeans) don’t sanction companies known to have helped the National Security Agency spy on them.

[Healey is the director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Atlantic Council]


Sanctions may be Obama's best idea yet to battle cyberattacks