The US Pentagon has decided computer sabotage falls under the category of acts of war, opening the door for US response in the form of military retaliation, a move seen as essential in the government’s attempt to keep pace with cyber attacks.
Recent computer attacks across the globe have helped the US government realize a formal cyber policy, much of it classified, with portions expected to be made public next month. The new policy reveals Department of Defense dependence on information technology and the necessity of forging new alliances with other nations in order to protect infrastructure and private industries.
A military official has been quoted as saying: “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Pentagon’s new strategy is based in part on the Laws of Armed Conflict, used as a guide in conducting war, and is as applicable in cyber warfare as in conventional warfare, so suggest three officials privy to the classified material, WSJ notes.
Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest defense contractors, recently announced it suffered a cyber attack, discovering the incident “almost immediately.” Although specifics of the attack were not revealed, the company said “our systems remainn secure; no customer, program or employee personal data has been compromised,” Huffington Post reports.