Pentagon: Computer Sabotage is an Act of War
The Pentagon has decided that any country caught hacking into US computer systems can be attacked with physical force, in a precedent-setting attempt to deal with changing infrastructure. According to the Wall Street Journal, the decision is meant partly as a warning to recent attacks on Pentagon computers, and is fairly consistent with NATO policy. Certain unclassified information will hit the public later this month. Part of the reasoning behind the decision:
Pentagon officials believe the most-sophisticated computer attacks require the resources of a government. For instance, the weapons used in a major technological assault, such as taking down a power grid, would likely have been developed with state support, Pentagon officials say.
The move to formalize the Pentagon's thinking was borne of the military's realization the U.S. has been slow to build up defenses against these kinds of attacks, even as civilian and military infrastructure has grown more dependent on the Internet. The military established a new command last year, headed by the director of the National Security Agency, to consolidate military network security and attack efforts.
The Pentagon itself was rattled by the 2008 attack, a breach significant enough that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs briefed then-President George W. Bush. At the time, Pentagon officials said they believed the attack originated in Russia, although didn't say whether they believed the attacks were connected to the government. Russia has denied involvement.