US Decides That If There's No Real Cyberwar, It Might Just Escalate Hack Attacks Into A Real War

from the frightening dept

We’ve discussed quite a few times how consultants, lobbyists, contractors and government agencies who stand to benefit have been overhyping the threats associated with digital infrastructure by calling it a “cyberwar.” The reality is that it’s much more about espionage, vandalism and creating significant nuisances, rather than something on the level of a “war.” Yet, with the White House’s latest “cyberspace” strategy report, it warns that if certain attacks via the internet are seen as hostile, we might just bomb you in response:

?Certain hostile acts conducted through cyberspace could compel actions under the commitments we have with our military treaty partners,? says the document. ?When warranted, the United States will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would any other threat to our country.?

In other words, there might not have been a war when this all started, but by the end of it, the US government will make damn sure that there’s a war going on in the traditional sense. Comforting.

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Comments on “US Decides That If There's No Real Cyberwar, It Might Just Escalate Hack Attacks Into A Real War”

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40 Comments
anymouse (profile) says:

War is what the government defines as war....

Haven’t we learned anything yet?

War can be declared against anything that opposes the government and their owners (corporations) persuit of ultimate power and control.

Thus the ‘War on Drugs’ even though the drugs aren’t fighting back, and are actually a large source of ‘black ops’ funding, which is the real reason for the war…. screw the people, the CIA is tired of competing with those ‘illegal pirates’ who are importing drugs and not giving the government their cut…

War on Intellectual Property is about the same thing, but it’s a little silly to call it that, so we’ll just call it a ‘Cyberwar’ since that sound better….

I’m not really serious… am i?

johnp says:

Re: Re:

No, only an aggressive action warrants an aggressive response. Hacking is a passive act, a probe for information. While we should do what we can to protect sensitive information, we must realize that we live in an age where secrecy is extremely difficult, and that’s a good thing. The most vile and evil acts perpetrated by governments have been done in secret.

Rikuo (profile) says:

?Certain hostile acts conducted through cyberspace could compel actions under the commitments we have with our military treaty partners,? says the document. ?When warranted, the United States will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would any other threat to our country.?

First…the US has military treaties with other nations that say, in the event of say, a hacking attempt from North Korea against South Korea, then the US is obligated to drop a few dozen nukes? Okay, obvious over-exaggeration, but what MILITARY treaty would even mention cyberspace?
Second…once the US says this is a threat, then they will spend years, trillions of dollars and thousands of lives destroying it? Obvious Iraq reference.

Michael Kohne says:

Ummm...obvious

I’m sorry, was it not obvious to everyone that if we were attacked in some way, we might choose to respond in a different way?

If someone managed to damage our infrastructure via cyber attack, AND we know who it was, then I don’t see why we might not choose to damage their infrastructure via explosive means.

I don’t think there’s much new here, other than someone saying it out loud.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ummm...obvious

So if someone robbed a bank, lets blow up their house.

No, we have a system in place to arrest them, put them on trail, etc…

Same here. Cyber attacks do not warrant blowing things up, heck, bank robberies justify blowing things up more than cyber attacks since bank robberies tend to be violent in nature. You don’t use destructive violence against non-violent crimes (unless those criminals respond to your non-violent attempts to suppress their criminal activity with violence, but then the retaliatory violence is targeted at their violent response, not their non-violent crimes).

HrilL says:

Re: Re: Ummm...obvious

Lets see. Country cyber attacks our power grid. Millions of people lose power. The act in and of itself is non-violent but this still lead to people dieing and a large economic impact.

It would be completely acceptable to attack the country behind the attack with bombs. Maybe we decide to take out their power, clean water, and communication networks for starters.

As for this whole thing being new news I somehow doubt it. This has always been our policy if its a large attack on our nation we would for sure defend ourselves with what ever means deemed necessary.

chuck says:

Re: Re: Re: Ummm...obvious

OK so I hack into the power grid from let’s say Trump Plaza.
Then its OK to bomb Atlantic City? (not that it would be a bad thing really)

What ever happened to “fight fire, with fire”?
Or better yet “Fight Fire, with Water”?
Since when did it all become fight everything by bombing?

johnp says:

Desparate

As the American people begin to see through the scare tactics that the government has employed since the Cold War, those in power are getting desperate. The continued expansion of the American Empire and the continued global presence of the American military require people to be afraid, for that’s the only way the American people can rationalize and accept the actions of an out-of-control executive, military, and secret service. The military industrial complex will continue to manufacture enemies to perpetuate that fear until we stop buying it. Will hackers be the new Muslims? Who knows. Hopefully, once and for all, people will open their eyes and realize that they have been deceived.

Shane Roach (profile) says:

It's the Economy

The internet is host to a lot of very important commerce. One cannot simply take that offline. A flagrant enough attack on important commercial activities could indeed warrant a physical response.

Techdirt is usually pretty good about admitting potential legitimate concerns. I hope that continues. I am not interested in subscribing to it if it is to become just another online clearing house for anti-government sentiments.

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