US: if you hack us, we may use military action

By on May 19, 2011, 10:00 AM

The US this week revealed its "International Strategy for Cyberspace" with the subtitle of "Prosperity, Security, and Openness in a Networked World" (via Ars Technica). The 30-page PDF document praises cyberspace and generally says nothing too exciting. It does, however, mention how the US government could respond to cyber-attacks, especially if someone were to pull off a serious cyberspace hack against the US, its allies, its partners, or in a way to threaten its interests.

In fact, the document says that military force is now an option. It's thus possible that the US will one day start a war in response to corporate or governmental computer systems being breached. If that sounds scary to you, that's because it is, especially if a hack isn't attributed to the correct party. Here's a relevant excerpt:

When warranted, the United States will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would to any other threat to our country. All states possess an inherent right to self-defense, and we recognize that certain hostile acts conducted through cyberspace could compel actions under the commitments we have with our military treaty partners.

That being said, this is a last resort, and other policies will be attempted before such an attack is even considered. These alternative means include diplomatic, informational, and economic. The US makes three more related declarations: it will exhaust all options before military force whenever it can, it will carefully weigh the costs and risks of action against the costs of inaction, and it will act in a way that reflects its values and strengthens the country's legitimacy, seeking broad international support whenever possible.

It's also worth noting that the US is focusing on dissuading hackers from their motives. In other words, the cyberspace security strategy is more based on defense rather than offense. That's great to hear, because in this case we don't think the best defense is a good offense.




User Comments: 32

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Guest said:

Hackers will eventually force the Internet to be tightly regulated.

When freedom becomes license, repression is not far behind.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

US: if you hack us, we may use military action

...The hack sack...I like it.

maybe a way for nerds to get some exercise... The 600 yard ,bowel evacuating, daisy cutter dash.

I would like to see the satellite footage of the nerds scurrying out from mom's basement after the black helicopters call them out for unleashing millions of "here's your drink-holder" faux viruses.

Guest said:

My bunker isn't daisy cutter proof just yet, so I won't say anything negative about this.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This has always been the government's mentality. As a matter of fact, if you change "if you hack us, we may use military action" for "if you look at us, we may use military action", it would pretty much still apply.

This is just them making it publicly official.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

They didn't say anything about downloading porn, I hope?

Guest said:

The text is incomplete, it is this way: "US: if you hack us, we may use military action, only if you are a small country with no stronge militar force".

Maybe if the attack concecuences are really to bad they could have the right to attack, but, what if it is another oil country?.

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Riddle me this; Who was behind the Stuxnet virus again?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The text is incomplete, it is this way: "US: if you hack us, we may use military action, only if you are a small country with no stronge militar force".

Maybe if the attack concecuences are really to bad they could have the right to attack, but, what if it is another oil country?.

Well, they'll probably bomb whoever they choose, and leave Hillary Clinton to clean up the mess..

Other than that, if they go with US soil, downtown Camden NJ would be great place to start this "urban renewal project".

However, if they start bombing in the US, all the "MADD", (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), chapters, will morph into, "MAAS" *, (Mothers Against Air Strikes), and you don't want to piss them off. I envision signs springing up all over the country saying, ":This is a Hack Free, Bomb Free, Zone".....

* ( "MAAS", pronouced as in, "Ma's really pissed" .

Riddle me this; Who was behind the Stuxnet virus again?
So what's up with this? You're too lazy to go out and look for the crater?

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Yeah, because you know...our country is so incredibly rich that we can afford to go trifling off to yet another war...It's not like we're in debt or anything :/

It is comfortable to know, though, that they will not just get on that "let's go blow some shit up" horse and instead will try to find other outlets first...but you have to wonder what they mean by "try". I just trust them about as much as I trust a lion not to bite my head off if I put my head in his mouth and slammed a mallet on his foot.

Guest said:

^ no one read the entire article.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well, by according to what's coming out of the US itself....When's the China invasion again?

SalaSSin said:

@Benny26: Somewhere in the second half of this century, but it definitely ends in 2077.

You should really check up on your classics....Get a Steam account or sth ; -)

r3dark said:

lol after the artical got posted i bet the us got hacked... =P

hitech0101 said:

r3dark said:

lol after the artical got posted i bet the us got hacked... =P

I think they got hacked that's why they posted the message.

Guest said:

The Government's Pentagon Communications network is hacked every day by good hackers in the US.

There not hack proof unless they go offline. So in a sense yes the gov put this up after they got hacked. But they've been getting hacked everyday already so this wasn't started from just one incident.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Guest said:

^ no one read the entire article.

You clearly didn't read all the way through my comment. I was the only one to point out the fact that it's not really "hack n sack" as another commenter stated. That there are other options they have planned. So, you can't say "no one" when clearly at least one did :P

Win7Dev said:

The government isn't that stupid. This basically stops any small country from stealing critical information. If they can't be the US in a real war, they shouldn't try starting a hacking war. Wasn't there an article saying that the US was building a new supercomputing center like a month ago?

Guest said:

Even if someone hacked them and stolen information, it will most likely be disinfo.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Yeah, because you know...our country is so incredibly rich that we can afford to go trifling off to yet another war...It's not like we're in debt or anything :/

I think you're getting upset over nothing. I doubt they're planning another, "shock and awe" invasion. Just a simple, well placed, "one kilo-nerd warhead" on your run of the mill Tomahawk Cruise Missle".

One Tomahawk Missle, a cool half million.

"I don't understand what went wrong with the guidance system", zero dolars.

Plausible deniability, priceless...!

Zen Zen, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This kind of sounds like that old classic line from that Kevin Costner movie "Field of Dreams"!

The movie..........."if you build it, they will come"!

The Government................"if you hack us, we will come"!

So between building and hacking one things for certain, someone will come!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

This kind of sounds like that old classic line from that Kevin Costner movie "Field of Dreams"!

The movie..........."if you build it, they will come"!

The Government................"if you hack us, we will come"!

So between building and hacking one things for certain, someone will come!

Well, with all this coming going, I hope neither the hackers or the government comes prematurely!

Do you think they'll develop "one kilo-nerd warheads" in suppository form?

krayzie said:

did george bush write this... why do you guys always ahve to flex your military muscle??

dont forget roman army fell too!

Guest said:

Alledgedly state sponsored hacks are initiated against British and American networks by China and Russia (and probably vice-versa) on a daily basis; this is probably not a wise policy to implement in these case.

I worked as a cleaner (lol student days) at a British government agency, one of the friendlier lawyers there said that prosecutions against certain targets (particularily in Russia but China as well) would come up against stiffer resistance at all stages of proceedings, in some cases with extradition hearings effectively vetoed by the state. I am not making this up, things could become quite interesting as a result of this.

Mantrhax Mantrhax said:

this will lead us to a private internet without government control.... i like the ideia !

treetops treetops said:

I hope they send a missile at whoever infected my first computer causing it to eventually overheat and die.

Guest said:

I am sure the US government will hack as well. There are ways to trace these things as well as my message. I expect a call shortly.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I am sure the US government will hack as well. There are ways to trace these things as well as my message. I expect a call shortly.
Well, I wouldn't sit and wait by the phone. I seriously doubt you're as important as you think you are.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

it has B.E.G.U.N !!!! ....

i said so, now let's see others join then laws be modified & ISPs giving a helping hand ....

there is no anonymity on the net ! & i know what i mean ...

cheers!

Guest said:

The original document seems near pointless to me and this article is just trying to grab attention with a catchy/controversial title...typical politics and media...

Title of article- US: if you hack us, we may use military action

Reality- US: .."insert anything", we may use military action ...gotta love this country..

Guest said:

Another way to put it is: if we launch an attack on ourselves we blame a country such as Pakistan or Iran and go bomb them. Anything is possible to advance the Anglo-American world empire.

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