The Pentagon is in the final stages of drafting its first cyber warfare strategy, which considers cyber attacks an act of war and allows the U.S. to respond with traditional military force, according to the Wall Street Journal. The strategy, parts of which will be made public next month, underscores the military’s realisation that it needs a framework for dealing with computer sabotage from another country. As military and civilian institutions grow more dependent on the Internet, these attacks pose an increasingly significant security threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subway systems and other essential infrastructure.
The cyber security plan is also intended to send a message to potential enemies about the consequences of launching an attack against U.S. computer systems.
The new strategy is likely to ignite debate over how the Pentagon should deal with computer attacks. Many in the Pentagon believe that retaliation should be triggered by the amount of actual or attempted damage caused by the attack.
The WSJ report comes just days after the U.S. defence contractor Lockheed Martin said its information systems network had been the target of a “significant and tenacious” computer attack. No sensitive data was compromised, the company said in a statement.
Similar incidents – including recent attacks on the Pentagon’s computer systems and the Stuxnet computer worm attack of Iran’s nuclear program – have demonstrated the urgency with which the U.S. needs to address its cyber security plan.
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