These anti-ISIS cyberattacks risked hindering U.S. intelligence collection
And ISIS may be able to mount cyberattacks of its own on the U.S.
A top Pentagon official said Tuesday that the U.S. is hitting ISIS with “cyber bombs” as part of its new arsenal of tactics being deployed against the terrorist group.
“We are dropping cyber bombs. We have never done that before,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work told reporters traveling with him. “Just like we have an air campaign, I want to have a cyber campaign. I want to use all the space capabilities I have.”
He said that the entire counter-ISIS campaign was putting “enormous pressure” on the organization, also known as ISIL.
He added, “Right now it sucks to be ISIL.”
“Every time we have gone after one of their defended positions in the last 10 months, we have defeated them,” he said.
In February, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that the cyber effort was focused primarily on ISIS terrorists in Syria and that the campaign’s goal was to “overload their network so that they can’t function” and “interrupt their ability to command and control forces there, control the population and the economy.”
Responding to a question from CNN in February, Carter acknowledged that by disrupting ISIS’ communications, these cyberattacks risked hindering U.S. intelligence collection. But he said that such “trade-offs” did not detract from the need to disrupt ISIS’ networks.
“We have to attack their command-and-control,” Carter said.
Carter added that Cyber Command “was devised specifically to make the United States proficient and powerful in this tool of war.”
But the head of Cyber Command warned last week that ISIS may be able to mount cyberattacks of its own on the U.S.
Adm. Michael Rogers told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ISIS had “harnessed the power of the information arena” to propagate its ideology, recruit, move money and coordinate activity and that it “would not be difficult” for ISIS to conduct future cyberattacks on the U.S. should they seek to develop that capability.