There has been lots in the news recently about Chinese attacks on Western government ministries.
Just before President Bush and Hu Jintao were due to meet at the 2007 APEC meeting in Sydney, news wires carried reports that the Chinese PLA had carried out its "most successful cyber attack" against the Pentagon. Similarly, recent reports have also centred around successful attacks against the Brits, Germans and Canadians (see link below in update).
Around about the time of the purported Chinese hack of the Pentagon, the Pentagon, in an Annual Report on the PLA, described efforts by the Chinese to hone a first-strike capability in any cyberwar. Perhaps, more startling, is that this report canvases a long-term attack where the focus is not disabling critical infrastructure, but stealing intellectual property. Indeed, I had recently read a report (again no link) that compared Chinese hacking not to a targeted quick-in-and-out burglary but to a vacuum-cleaner approach: sucking up as much information as possible. One such high-profile hack attack was Titan Rain.
Should the West be concerned about this? Is this unusual activity for a foreign government? Well, recently, the University of New Hampshire unveiled a Cyber Threat Calculator which determined that China (and Russia) are the two greatest cyber threats to the U.S. because "they have the intent and technological capabilities to do so".
Well, China certainly has the capability to do so. And China clearly has the intent (commercial at the very least). While many in the world ponder the threat a Chinese deep-blue capable navy may have, often ignored is the crippling threat that its cyber warfare capabilities may have in even shorter time.
Update: Add Australia and New Zealand. Recent discussions between Australia and the U.S. could result in Australia being the recipient of highly classified U.S. weapons technology.