This is a sign of the increasingly digital world we live in: the Pentagon is set to make it official U.S. policy to consider cyber attacks “acts of war,” and respond to them with real-world force, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The strategy, which becomes public next month, will both provide guidance to our country’s armed forces, as well as make a statement to our enemies.
Cyber terrorism is certainly a big issue for officials, as increasing portions of our country’s infrastructure are “online.”
This announcement comes just a few days after Lockheed Martin, a major US defense contractor, was the subject of a “significant and tenacious (cyber) attack.” The company has stressed that no sensitive information was exposed during the attack.
According to The Journal, military officials are still in disagreement about how cyber attacks should be handled, specifically, when and when not a real-life military response is warranted. The Journal says officials seem to be settling on the “eye for an eye” concept, which means that the military would be able to respond to a cyber attack that causes physical damage, injury, or death.
Very few virtual attacks are capable of causing this kind of harm, however. If this position is used, many cyber attacks will not constitute brute-force retaliation. That’s not to say military-employed hackers won’t have the right to go in and take down an enemy’s computer system in response, though.