Congressional Committee Debates What Should Be a Cyber Act of War

Some believe it’s high time for the U.S. government to let the world know what it will not tolerate in cyberspace, given the accelerating pace of intrusions.

As the pace of cyber attacks quickens on U.S. retailers, banks, political parties and the government itself, legislators worry over what looms ahead and wrestle with when to elevate a crippling cyber attack to an actof war.

Parallel bills in the House and Senate, titled “Cyber Act of War Act of 2016,” would require the president to outline how a cyber attack might rise to the level of an attack with conventional weapons.

But debate about the subject only underscores the complexities of tracing attacks to their perpetrators, calculating what to reveal about U.S. capabilities, and weighing how to respond if an attack causes major economic damage but little or no loss of life.

“Do we hack the hackers or do we respond with physical force?” Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill, asked at a hearing this week on “digital acts of war.”

Cyberspace has already become “a digital battleground,” the nation’s former top cyber warrior, retired Gen. Keith B. Alexander, told two House panels meeting jointly. He cited an urgent need for a robust strategy and doctrine.

Some believe it is high time for the U.S. government to let the world know what it will not tolerate in cyberspace, given the accelerating pace of intrusions. They suggest a display of offensive capabilities might have a salutary effect.

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Source: Congressional committee debates what should be a cyber act of war | McClatchy DC