A senior State Department official has said cybersecurity is now a diplomatic priority for the United States with Washington looking to strengthen partnerships to fight data theft and reduce the risk of conflict, Reuters reports.
Christopher Painter, coordinator for cyber issues for the State Department, said the nation faces various potential cyber threats from “freelance hackers to militants and potentially rival states.” Diplomacy and policy are just beginning to catch up with technology, he told Reuters, and cybersecurity is now “a policy imperative.”
“It goes across governance issues, economic issues, military issues,” he said. ” The best course of action is to engage with countries that have a free and frank discussion. We’re just at the beginning of this.”
The U.S. has determined the way to respond to cyber attacks include economic measures and “perhaps also military measures,” Painter said. However, the most important thing is to build international consensus and engage with nations, he said, not just with China but with every country.
Painter would not discuss recent security breaches nor speculate who were responsible for them. But it was clear issues needed to be addressed, he said.