We've known for a long time that the Chinese government sponsors hackers that attack American companies and government agencies. Apart from better cybersecurity, though, there aren't many great options for a strong response. Now the White House is considering one response that has its fair share of opponents and supporters.
President Obama signed an executive order in April allowing him to impose sanctions on anyone or any entity that engages in cyberattacks against the U.S. Now, the administration is working on economic sanctions to be used against Chinese individuals and companies for stealing trade secrets.
In place, those sanctions could ruin a company by freezing its assets and banning it from commerce. But sanctions like that could invite countersanctions against U.S. companies who do business in China.
According to Naked Security and the Washington Post, no one knows yet if or when the administration will institute the new sanctions package. China's President Xi Jinping is visiting Washington, D.C., in October, and, in the wake of a June hack on the Office of Personnel Management suspected to have originated in China, President Obama is sure to bring up cybersecurity in their talks.