Pentagon Unleashing First Mass Cyber Warfare Against ISIS
Islamic State utilizes the Internet to carry out a significant amount of their recruiting foreign fighters, disseminating propaganda as well as coordinating attacks. The United States is about to make that a much more arduous task for ISIS by launching massive cyber warfare attacks against the terrorist group.
During a Pentagon press briefing on Monday, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said they are aiming cyber attacks at disrupting ISIL’s military communications and operations.
The campaign will seek to “disrupt ISIL’s command and control, to cause them to lose confidence in their networks, to overload their network so that they can’t function, and do all of these things that will interrupt their ability to command and control forces there, control the population and the economy,” Carter told reporters at the Pentagon.
Dunford didn’t provide exact strategies on how they will tackle ISIS, but he did provide some insight:
“The secretary has talked a lot about physically isolating ISIL. In other words, isolating Raqqa, isolating Mosul, keeping the lines of communications between the two being separate, dividing Iraq and Syria up, making life difficult for the — for the — for ISIL. I think conceptually, that’s exactly the same thing we’re trying to do in the cyber world. In other words, we’re trying to both physically and virtually isolate ISIL, limit their ability to conduct command and control, limit their ability to communicate with each other, limit their ability to conduct operations locally and tactically.”
The hope is that the cyber attacks will hobble their digital communications so much so that it will force them to use more traditional voice/radio communications. The U.S. military can attack this form of communications through electronic warfare, and cause massive confusion and ineffectiveness.
“We don’t want them to have information that will allow them to adapt over time,” said Dunford, who is a four-star general. “We want them to be surprised when we conduct cyber operations, and frankly, they’re going to experience some friction that’s associated with us and some friction that’s just associated with the normal course of events in dealing in the information age.”