Online Attack Would Be Act of War, Pentagon Says
CREDIT: U.S. Army
The United States can respond to cyberattacks launched by foreign countries with traditional military force, the Pentagon says in its first formal formulation of cyberstrategy.
The Pentagon strategy is scheduled to be released this month, the Wall Street Journal reported. The strategy "represents an early attempt to grapple with a changing world in which a hacker could pose as significant a threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country's military," the newspaper wrote.
President Barack Obama released an "International Strategy for Cyberspace" May 16 that stated America reserves the right to "respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would to any other threat to our country."
A military official speaking to the Wall Street Journal put it more bluntly: "If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks."
There has been recent cause for the government to consider its position on cybersecurity.
On May 22, unknown cyberattackers hacked into the computer networks of major defense contractor Lockheed Martin using cloned security authentication keyfobs. The information used to clone them came from a March attack on the security firm RSA.The same exploit was reportedly used in April to access sensitive networks at the defense contractor L-3 Communications.
It is likely, however, that government officials would be even more concerned by an attack like Stuxnet, which targeted Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant and Natanz uranium-refining facility (an attack that some critics suspect came from Israel with U.S. help), and the Night Dragon and Aurora attacks launched against the global energy industry and high-profile companies like Google and DuPont by cybercriminals believed to be in China.
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