Today if a foreign government hacks into a US computer system and causes issues, nothing much happens. Just look back at the hubbub with the hacks on Google and other major tech firms that were allegedly backed by the Chinese government and see that nothing other than name calling really happened. The Pentagon is setting the stage for a major change in policy with regards to cyber attacks.
The WSJ reports that the Pentagon has now concluded that computer sabotage that originates from another country can constitute and act of war. That means if a foreign government sponsors a hacker that breaks into a US electrical plant and cause problems; the Pentagon can order the USAF to bomb targets in the country responsible for the attack. This will be the first formal strategy for cyber war from the Pentagon and the unclassified portions of the strategy will be unveiled next month.
A military official told the WSJ, “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks.” The plan naturally has some issues that need to be resolved. Those issues are things like how to be sure the attack originated from a specific country and how to decide when the attack is serious enough to be considered an act of war. Do you think this will have any effect on hackers trying to cause harm to the US?