Leadership: America Legalizes Cyber War


The U.S. Congress approved a new law on December 14th that allows the Department of Defense to conduct offensive Cyber War operations in response to Cyber War attacks on the United States. That is, the U.S. military is now authorized to make war via the Internet. The new law stipulates that all the rules that apply to conventional war, also apply to Cyber War. This includes the international law of armed conflict (meant to prevent war crimes and horrid behavior in general) and the U.S. War Powers Resolution (which requires a U.S. president to get permission from Congress within 90 days of entering into a war).

The U.S. Department of Defense has long advocated going on the offensive against criminal gangs and foreign governments that seek (and often succeed) to penetrate U.S. government and military Internet security, and steal information, or sabotage operations. Over the past year, and without much fanfare, the Department of Defense has been making preparations to do just that.

Since the military cannot afford to pay enough to recruit qualified software and Internet engineers for this sort of work, it has turned to commercial firms. There are already some out there, companies that are technically network security operations, but will also carry out offensive missions (often of questionable legality, but that has always been an aspect of the corporate security business.)

Some of these firms have quietly withdrawn from the Internet security business, gone dark, and apparently turned their efforts to the more lucrative task of creating Cyber War weapons for the Pentagon. It may have been one of these firms that created, or helped create, the Stuxnet worm.

Leadership: America Legalizes Cyber War


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