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September 15, 2011

US, Australia to add cyber space to ANZUS defence treaty

'Cyber is the battlefield of the future,' says US defence secretary

By CBR Staff Writer

The US and Australia are set to include the cyber space in a mutual defence treaty.

According to Reuters, defense and diplomatic chiefs from both countries are meeting in San Francisco to discuss the treaty.

Under the new terms, a cyber attack on one could lead to a response by both countries. The move comes around 60 years after the ANZUS military alliance was formed between Australia and the US, which mandates the countries to support each other if one is attacked.

New Zealand is aslo an inactive partner of the alliance since 1985.

According to the report, a senior US defence official said, "We will be releasing a joint statement saying that the ANZUS treaty applies to cyber space."

US defence secretary Leon Panetta said, "I think it’s in large measure a recognition of what I’ve been saying time and time again, which is that cyber is the battlefield of the future."

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Panetta said, "We’re all going to have to work very hard not only to defend against cyber attacks but to be aggressive with regards to cyber attacks as well.

"And the best way to accomplish that is not only on our own but by working with our partners."

Earlier this year, in a new strategy to defend military computer networks from cyber attacks, the US Defence Department had defined cyberspace as an "operational domain" — like air, land and sea — which specially trained US forces will defend.

As a part of the new strategy, the Pentagon would add new technology such as sensors, software and signatures as preventive measures as well, said the department.
The Pentagon had also said that it would categorise cyber attacks as acts of war in the defence strategy.

Deputy Defence Secretary William Lynn had said the Pentagon aims to deter hackers by fortifying its defences so that hackers do not get the benefit of the attack.

"Our strategy’s overriding emphasis is on denying the benefit of an attack," Lynn said.

"If an attack will not have its intended effect, those who wish us harm will have less reason to target us through cyberspace in the first place."

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