US reportedly planning to scare off China's hackers, somehow

So how will the US government respond to a recent spate of attacks by hackers, including one that extracted an unprecedented amount of data on government employees from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)? The LA Times and New York Times suggest the Obama administration has decided it must retaliate against China, which is believed to be behind the attacks, but is still working out how to do it. Comments from government officials like Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have highlighted "deterrence" as an ideal outcome, but how?

NSA director and military Cyber Command...commander Admiral Michael Rogers has mentioned "creating a cost" for hackers like the ones that hit Sony Pictures, and NYT sources suggest that as an alternative to economic sanctions or lawsuits by the Justice Department, retaliatory attacks may be on the table. One idea is apparently to pierce the "Great Firewall" China uses to restrict information. If any of this is even possible, just leaking it out to the media might actually be creating the desired effect, but none of that even matters until the government and potential business targets secure their own data -- exactly the point of the White House's recent "30 day cybersecurity sprint."