Sign up for our newsletter
Technology / Cybersecurity

Cyber-attacks would be considered as acts of war, says Pentagon

The Pentagon has said that it would consider all options if the US were hit by a cyber-attack, including a military response.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said, "A response to a cyber incident or attack on the US would not necessarily be a cyber-response."

"All appropriate options would be on the table if we were attacked, be it cyber."

White papers from our partners

Lapan added that a new cyber defence strategy being developed by the Pentagon would be ready in two to three weeks.

The Wall Street Journal, citing officials who claim they had seen the document, reported that the strategy is to classify major cyber-attacks as acts of war.

The report said that the US intends the strategy to act as a warning to enemies that may try to target critical supply networks such as the US 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.

Last month, on the 16th, the White House had unveiled an international strategy statement on cyber-security which said the US "will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would to any other threat to our country."

"We reserve the right to use all necessary means — diplomatic, informational, military, and economic — as appropriate and consistent with applicable international law, in order to defend our nation, our allies, our partners and our interests," the strategy statement said.

A similar development has been taking place in the UK as well. A few days ago, armed forces minister Nick Harvey acknowledged that the country is working on a cyber-weapons programme with offensive capabilities.

According to the Guardian, the cyber-weapons programme is aimed to make a shift from cyber defences to cyber offences so that the government can tackle increasing threats to national security from cyber attacks.

Harvey told the Guardian that "action in cyberspace will form part of the future battlefield."

Harvey added that the cyber-weapons programme will be "an integral part of the country’s armoury."

"We need a toolbox of capabilities and that’s what we are currently developing," he said.

This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.

CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.