It has been nearly six months since the Trump administration issued an order granting the military more authority to launch offensive cyber operations against American enemies. Sixty percent of cybersecurity experts approve of the decision, a new Washington Post study indicates.
Researchers polled The Network, a group of 100-plus government, business, and academic leaders who weigh in on security topics. Most applauded the government’s decision to let the defense secretary authorize offensive hacking. Several arguments supported the move, which was called “common sense” and “long overdue” among supporters. When used in combination with other military tactics, cyber operations can level the playing field, said one respondent.
Still, even those who back the government’s plan are wary of giving the military power to deploy offensive measures without communicating with other government agencies. The 40% of respondents who disagreed with the decision voiced the same worries. Acting solo, the military could launch operations that cause harm to US businesses or intelligence operations.
Collaboration is imperative if the military is going to launch attacks against foreign enemies, disapprovers said. Operations should first be vetted to ensure it doesn’t interfere with foreign policies, law enforcement, and the United States’ alliances and long-term interests. Many also fear if the US launches offensive attacks, its targets could respond with threats of their own.
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