The Pentagon made a 12 page report to the Congress in a report which was made public on Tuesday stating that The United States reserves the right to use military force against cyber-attacks. This report was mandated by the 2011 Defence Authorization Act, establishing that the US government is serious about tackling the threat of cyber-attacks on its assets using any means possible.
The report read that When warranted, we will respond to hostile attacks in cyberspace as we would to any other threat to our country, the report said. We reserve the right to use all necessary means – diplomatic, informational, military and economic – to defend our nation, our allies, our partners and our interests.
The area of cyberspace is of particular concern for the pentagon. Defence Department employees operate more than 15,000 computer networks with 7 million computers at hundreds of locations around the world. Their networks are infiltrated millions of times a day and penetrations have caused the loss of thousands of files.
The report said the Defence Department was attempting to deter aggression in cyberspace by developing effective defences that prevent adversaries from achieving their objectives and by finding ways to make attackers pay a price for their actions.
Key to a military response is being able to quickly identify the source of an attack. In an effort to crack that problem, the Pentagon is supporting research focusing on tracing the physical source of an attack and using behaviour-based algorithms to assess the identity of an attacker.
Attacks on US computer networks over the years have cost defence industries an estimated $1 trillion in lost intellectual property, competitiveness and damage. One defence company lost some 24,000 files in an intrusion in March.
Before moving to offensive action, the United States would exhaust all other options, weigh the risk of action against the cost of inaction and act in a way that reflects our values and strengthens our legitimacy, seeking broad international support wherever possible, the report said.
Report by Adhir Roy Chowdury