The US has started hitting the ISIS with “cyber bombs” as part of its new arsenal of tactics against the dreaded terror group, a top Pentagon official said.
“We are dropping cyber bombs. We have never done that before,” Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert Work said. “Just like we have an air campaign, I want to have a cyber campaign. I want to use all the space capabilities I have,” Work said.
He said that the entire counter-ISIS campaign was putting “enormous pressure” on the organisation. “Right now it sucks to be ISIL,” Work was quoted as saying by CNN. “Every time we have gone after one of their defended positions in the last 10 months, we have defeated them,” he claimed.
Earlier, Defence Secretary Ash Carter had said that the cyber effort was focused primarily on ISIS terrorists in Syria and that the campaign’s goal was to “overload their network so that they can’t function” and “interrupt their ability to command and control forces there, control the population and the economy.”
Carter has said that by disrupting ISIS’ communications, these cyberattacks risked hindering US intelligence collection. But he said that such “trade-offs” did not detract from the need to disrupt ISIS’ networks.
“We have to attack their command-and-control,” Carter said in February. Carter added that Cyber Command “was devised specifically to make the US proficient and powerful in this tool of war.” But the head of Cyber Command warned last week that ISIS may be able to mount cyberattacks of its own on the US.
Meanwhile, Admiral Michael Rogers, Commander of the US Cyber Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ISIS had “harnessed the power of the information arena” to propagate its ideology, recruit, move money and coordinate activity and that it “would not be difficult” for ISIS to conduct future cyberattacks on the US should they seek to develop that capability.
ISIS is an al-Qaeda splinter group which has captured a large swaths of Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate led by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
The Islamic State militants, known for their brutality, have executed a number of Westerners. The group also publishes a sleek monthly online English-language magazine, Dabiq, with religious lessons, plus news about its activities.