May 31, 2011

Pentagon: Major Cyber Attacks Considered Acts Of War

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the Pentagon has adopted a new strategy that will classify major cyber attacks as acts of war.

According to the report, the Pentagon plans to unveil its first-ever strategy regarding cyber warfare next month to warn enemies that may try to sabotage the country's electricity grid, subways or pipelines.

"If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks," it quoted a military official as saying.

"We reserve the right to use all necessary means "“ diplomatic, informational, military and economic "“ as appropriate," the report read.

The Journal said the strategy would maintain that the existing international rules of armed conflict would apply in cyberspace.

It said the Pentagon would decide whether to respond militarily to cyber attacks based on the notion of "equivalence".

A decision like this would depend on whether the precise source of the attack could be determined.

The decision to formalize the rules of cyber war comes after the Stuxnet attack ravaged Iran's nuclear program.  That attack was blamed on the U.S. and Israel, both of which denied being a part of.

Lockheed Martin said over the weekend that it was investigating the source of a "significant tenacious" cyber attack against its information network a week ago.


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