US cyberbombs ISIS in renewed tech warfare

ISIS has been able to gain notoriety not only because of the atrocities committed, but through incredibly careful and calculated use of technology in general and the internet specifically.

The likes of Twitter and Facebook have been embroiled in an on-going battle against terrorist social media accounts, and now the US military is taking the fight online as well.

Cyber Command is waging cyber war on Islamic State, trying to cyberbomb the terrorist organisation into submission and prevent it from recruiting or spreading propaganda online. Using information gathered from the NSA, Cyber Command has turned its attention away from its usual targets such as Russia and China to focus instead on ISIS.

The aim is to use cyberattacks to interfere with the day-to-day operations of ISIS, reports the New York Times - everything from running payroll to issuing commands. Speaking in Germany, President Obama announced that he wants to send more troops to Syria to fight ISIS from the air, but the cyber angle is also an important one. The cyberattacks take a number of forms, including not only intercepting and blocking communication, but also altering messages that are sent.

US officials have been surprisingly open in talking about the use of cyberweapons, perhaps an acknowledgement that support for further physical war is on the wane. It also serves as a way for the government to highlight value of surveillance campaigns such as those run by the NSA.

If data gathered in this way can be seen to be used against a high-profile target such as ISIS, it will act as quite the PR boost at a time when people are more concerned about privacy than ever before.

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