ISIS has already been feeling the wrath of hacker collective Anonymous, and more recently, some Pentagon-backed hacking. But speaking to the New York Times, the Obama administration has declared it’s going to start “dropping cyberbombs.” Wait, what?
The Times piece is a wide-ranging look at how the Obama administration is trying to ramp up its use of covert weapons, particularly cyberwarfare, against ISIS. That the Pentagon is attacking ISIS online isn’t news—that much was already known—but there’s more details on the scale and scope of the attacks.
In particular, deputy secretary of defense Robert Work was more descriptive:
“We are dropping cyberbombs,” Work said. “We have never done that before.” The attacks are being carried out by small teams, operationally modelled on special forces.
The ultimate aim isn’t just to disrupt communications—although that’s a goal: it’s to imitate ISIS commanders, and in turn walk ISIS ground troops into a trap, where they’re vulnerable to air or ground attack. Messing with electronic systems to give a tactical advantage is absolutely nothing new; if successful, faking communications to give a tactical advantage is really just proof that “cyberwarfare” and conventional battle are becoming one and the same.