Pentagon 'Prepared To Take Military Action' Against Cyber Attacks
November 17, 2011

Pentagon ‘Prepared To Take Military Action’ Against Cyber Attacks

Pentagon officials have warned that the U.S. is prepared to retaliate with military force if it came under cyber attack.

The officials said that they reserved the right to use "all necessary means to defend our allies, our partners and our interest."

"When warranted, we will respond to hostile attacks in cyberspace as we would to any other threat to our country," the 12-page report to Congress said.

The report said that hostile acts could include "significant cyber attacks directed against the U.S. economy, government or military" and the response could use electronic means or more conventional military options.

The report also said that at least two U.S. environment-monitoring satellites were interfered with four or more times in 2007 and 2008 through a ground station in Norway.

China's military is prime suspect, but the report did say that the events in question had not actually been traced to China.

The commission said that the techniques "appear consistent with authoritative Chinese military writings" that have advocated disabling an enemy's satellite control facilities on the ground in a conflict.

The report said an attacker could use access to a satellite's controls to damage or destroy spacecraft with more sensitive functions.

China's embassy in Washington said in response to the report that it was "obvious that the commission is entrusted with the mission of vilifying China's image and spreading China threat theory by patching up unwarranted allegations against China."

"We urge the commission to stop issuing such reports for the good of increasing mutual trust between our two countries while China will continue to play a responsible role in both the realistic and the virtual worlds," Wang Baodong, the embassy spokesman, said by email.

The report accused Beijing of responsibility for mounting malicious cyber attacks, including to facilitate industrial espionage and to compromise U.S. and foreign government computer systems.


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