U.S. starts dropping "cyberbombs" on ISIS
The United States has opened a new line of combat against the Islamic State, directing the military’s six-year-old Cyber Command for the first time to mount computer-network attacks that are now being used alongside more traditional weapons, according to The New York Times.
The National Security Agency, which specializes in electronic surveillance, has for years listened intensely to the militants of the Islamic State, and those reports are often part of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. But the NSA’s military counterpart, Cyber Command, was focused largely on Russia, China, Iran and North Korea — where cyberattacks on the United States most frequently originate — and had run virtually no operations against what has become the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world, NYT reports.
The effort reflects President Obama’s desire to bring many of the secret American cyberweapons that have been aimed elsewhere, notably at Iran, into the fight against the Islamic State — which has proved effective in using modern communications and encryption to recruit and carry out operations.
Read alsoISIS plotting tourist massacre at European resorts – mediaA review of what should be done to confront the Islamic State is on Mr. Obama’s agenda on Monday, when he is scheduled to attend a conference in Hanover, Germany, with the leaders of Britain, France, Italy and Germany.
The goal of the new campaign is to disrupt the ability of the Islamic State to spread its message, attract new adherents, circulate orders from commanders and carry out day-to-day functions, like paying its fighters.
“We are dropping cyberbombs,” Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said. “We have never done that before.”
Read alsoGerman spy chief warns ISIS wants to attackThe sources have told the newspaper that the effort has begun with a series of “implants” in the militants’ networks to learn the online habits of commanders. Now, the plan is to imitate them or to alter their messages, with the aim of redirecting militants to areas more vulnerable to attack by American drones or local ground forces.