Pentagon: 'Cyber Attacks are Acts of War'
Pentagon Vows to Respond to Cyber Attacks with Military Force
The Pentagon has declared that it will treat cyber attacks as acts of war, and will reserve the option to retaliate with military force.
This comes on the heels of the attack on Lockheed-Martin, a major US military contractor. Said an unnamed Pentagon official, "If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks," glossing over what would happen if the Pentagon gets it wrong and attacks an innocent country. If you thought the WMD fiasco was bad, try parsing data on a computer-based attack.
A policy like this won't fail gracefully, and the premise that an effective hack requires government resources must be met with .
The report will also spark a debate over a range of sensitive issues the Pentagon left unaddressed, including whether the U.S. can ever be certain about an attack's origin, and how to define when computer sabotage is serious enough to constitute an act of war. These questions have already been a topic of dispute within the military.
Of course, the possibility remains that the US itself was behind the stuxnet attack on Iran, and the Pentagon has not denied involvement. You see what a slippery slope this is: meeting 0's and 1's with bombs can go both ways.
The unclassified portion of the Pentagon document on cyber warfare (which constitutes 12 out of 30 pages) will be made public later in June.