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Cyberspace attacks could provoke military response, says Defense Department

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The US Department of Defense takes a hard-line stance against cyber attacks directed at national interests.

DoD: cyber attacks may provoke military response
DoD: cyber attacks may provoke military response

While the Department of Justice focuses on maintaining truthiness on the internet, the Defense Department is making its stance on cyber attacks clear. In no uncertain terms, the Pentagon has declared that when other alternatives prove ineffective, the United States reserves the right to respond to cyber attacks with the force of its military. As part of a report made public on Tuesday, Washington states that internet-based attacks upon the US government, economy, or military will receive the same treatment as more traditional, tangible threats against the country.

"We reserve the right to use all necessary means ― diplomatic, informational, military and economic ― to defend our nation, our allies, our partners and our interests," the report said. Of course, the best offense is a great defense, and the Department of Defense is continually working on that front, aiming to shield its 15,000+ networks from malicious intrusion and sharpening its methods of tracing the origins of any attack. Still, the report reinforces that there can be very real consequences for those that wield a mouse and keyboard as weapons against the US. "If directed by the President, DoD will conduct offensive cyber operations in a manner consistent with the policy principles and legal regimes that the department follows for kinetic capabilities, including the law of armed conflict," it states.

While the firm stance should come as welcome news to those in government, it seemingly leaves Google and a growing list of other private companies to fend for themselves in the face of constant cyber assault. Though in the grand scheme of things, we suppose having our search history compromised wouldn't be quite as bad as vital national secrets falling into the wrong hands. Priorities, people.