A number of US companies as well as government-related organizations have been targeted through cyber attacks and sensitive data has been either stolen or leaked to the web. So far, the role of Pentagon has been fairly limited when it came to cyber warfare. But now, this may change as Pentagon contemplates new rules of engagement about the cyber game.
The head of Cyber Command recently said that Pentagon was considering new rules of engagement for cyber threats. While commenting that China has been involved in a lot data-related theft, General Keith Alexander further said that with the new rules of engagement, Pentagon intends to enhance the role of Department of Defense in case of a cyber attack.
So what will these new rules of engagement change? According to the new proposed rules, if an attack is launched domestically, Department of Homeland Security will work to protect the domestic networks, in collaboration with private companies. However, if it is being discovered that the attack originated from a foreign source, then Department of Defense will take the charge.
Pentagon has been forced to propose these changes since the targets of cyber attacks are essentially non-military most of the times, but the data from these targets can prove critical for the armed sources all the same. So, DoD now plans to combat any attacks which may target major companies, so as to wield off the attempts at data theft.
When commenting on the current model of warding off cyber threats, the head of FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch was of the view, ‘It’s an unsustainable model. Unsustainable in that you never get ahead, never become secure, never have a reasonable expectation of privacy or security.” He further states that hackers can go on stealing data for months before companies finally realize and this is not going to work any more. Companies have to adopt other solutions, such as taking data away from online networks altogether.
While these are still Pentagon’s proposals, it remains to be seen if they are actually improved and admitted as the official policy of US.
Image courtesy Jason.