With thousands of ISIS Twitter accounts popping up every day, the cyber warfare between Ukraine and the pro-Russian rebels in the eastern part of that country, the viruses designed especially to destroy a nuclear power plant’s turbines, hackings and cyber warfare have long ago become an integral part of any (armed) conflict.
But today, for the first time ever, US military has publicly included cyber warfare as an option in conflicts with enemies.
The Associated Press has gotten its hands on a 33-page Pentagon cybersecurity strategy which says the Defence Department "should be able to use cyber operations to disrupt an adversary's command and control networks, military-related critical infrastructure and weapons capabilities."
The new document takes a more open approach in part because officials said the Pentagon wants more transparency in its cyber mission - and because it could provide some deterrence to adversaries.
"I think it will be useful to us for the world to know that, first of all, we're going to protect ourselves, we're going to defend ourselves," Defence Secretary Ash Carter told reporters travelling with him to California. He added that the new strategy is "more clear and more specific about everything, including (U.S.) offense."
The strategy also talks about the continued cybersecurity espionage conducted by China against US companies and agencies. It says the US will continue to work with China to bring greater understanding and transparency of each nation's cyber missions to "reduce the risks of misperception and miscalculation."
Carter is currently in Silicon Valley, where he’s trying to get help from high-tech companies in countering the ever-growing cybersecurity threat.