US may use pre-emptive cyberstrikes

2013-02-04 22:04
Cybercrime (Picture: Supplied)

Cybercrime (Picture: Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - A secret legal review has concluded the US president has the power to order pre-emptive cyberstrikes if credible evidence suggests a major digital attack is imminent from abroad, a report said on Monday.

The New York Times, citing unnamed officials, said the finding will shape new rules on how military and intelligence agencies can defend US network infrastructure and mine foreign computer systems to detect attacks.

The report comes amid new concern about the power of cyberwarfare, and its potential to take out defence networks, major technological infrastructure, and facilities like power plants or financial systems.

One senior US official quoted by the Times said those behind the review had determined that cyberweapons were so powerful that - like nuclear weapons - they should be unleashed only on the direct orders of the commander-in-chief.

The White House would not confirm the details of the report, but President Barack Obama has warned that cyberwarfare is "one of the most serious economic and national security challenges" faced by the United States.

An official said Obama had established principles for governing cyber operations by the US government consistent with the US Constitution and US and international law.

"The United States will act in accordance with its inherent right of self-defense in cyberspace as recognised in international law to prevent the imminent loss of life or significant damage," the official said.

The policy review came as the US department of defense approved a five-fold expansion of its cybersecurity force over the coming years in a bid to increase its ability to defend critical computer networks.

The Washington Post has reported that the department's cyber command, which currently has a staff of about 900, will expand to about 4 900 troops and civilians.

The seriousness of the threat has been underscored by a string of sabotage attacks, including one in which a virus was used to wipe data from more than 30 000 computers at a Saudi Arabian state oil company last summer.

According to the Times, Obama's top counter-terror official John Brennan, who has been nominated to run the Central Intelligence Agency, played a central role in developing the administration's policies regarding cyberwarfare.

Obama is known to have approved the use of cyberweapons only once, when he ordered an escalating series of cyberattacks against Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities, the Times said.

The attacks on Iran, under the codename of Olympic Games, illustrated that a nation's infrastructure can be destroyed without bombing it or sending in saboteurs, the report said.

Under the new guidelines, the Pentagon would not be involved in defending against ordinary cyberattacks on American companies or individuals, the Times said.

That responsibility falls to the department of homeland security.

But the military would become involved in cases of a major cyberattack within the United States, the paper noted.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  john brennan  |  us  |  cybercrime
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.