June 1, 2011

US Pentagon to treat cyber-attacks as 'acts of war'

In future, a US president could consider economic sanctions, cyber-retaliation or a military strike if key US computer systems were attacked, officials have said recently.

The planning was given added urgency by a cyber-attack last month on the defence contractor, Lockheed Martin.

A new report from the Pentagon is due out in a matter of weeks.

"A response to a cyber-incident or attack on the US would not necessarily be a cyber-response. All appropriate options would be on the table," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr Lapan confirmed the Pentagon was drawing up a cyber defence strategy, which would be ready in two to three weeks.

Cyber-attacks from foreign nations that threaten widespread US civilian casualties, like cutting off power supplies or shutting down emergency-responder networks, could be treated as an act of aggression under the new policy.


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