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Pentagon Defines Some Cyber Attacks as Acts of War, Finds Rules of Armed Conflict Apply

Posted May 31, 2011 7:41 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Pentagon is preparing a report that concludes cyber attacks by another country could constitute an act of war meriting a military response.

The report will conclude that the Laws of Armed Conflict apply in cyberspace as well as in traditional warfare, the Wall Street Journal reports. The newspaper’s sources are three defense officials who have read the document, expected to be released in an unclassified version next month.

Still unaddressed is the issue of how serious the computer attack must be to qualify as an act of war, the story says. One idea gaining ground at the Pentagon is that retaliation may be warranted if a cyber attack causes the same kind of death and destruction as a traditional military attack.

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