IT specialists from the Pentagon have been engaged in a series of cyber war games with counterparts from China, as the countries look for ways to diffuse the growing online tensions between the two world powers.
According to The Guardian, officials from both countries participated in a pair of war games that simulated an attack by a highly-sophisticated computer virus, similar to the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iranian nuclear facilities.
In the second part of the war game, the officials had to devise a response when it became apparent that the attack had been launched by the other side.
The war games were organised through the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and a Beijing think tank, the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.
The war games were set-up amid mounting tension between the US government, businesses and those in China.
Incidents such as the infamous Aurora attacks have created a perception that much of the cyber threat currently originates from China.
In a recent cyber war debate organised by the CSIS, general James Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff and current CSIS defence policy employee said that the US government and businesses needed to tip the cyber security balance.
“Currently everything is in favour of the attacker,” he warned.
Cartwright said the US needed to find mechanisms that could convince attackers that the costs of launching cyber attacks was too high and the likelihood of success too low.