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US may use preemptive cyber strikes: Report

Published on Feb 5, 2013 6:05 AM
 
A secret legal review has concluded the US president has the power to order preemptive cyber strikes if credible evidence suggests a major digital attack is imminent from abroad, a report said on Monday. -- NP PHOTO : ARIFFIN JAMAR

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A secret legal review has concluded the US president has the power to order preemptive cyber strikes if credible evidence suggests a major digital attack is imminent from abroad, a report said on Monday.

The New York Times, citing unnamed officials, said the finding will shape new rules on how military and intelligence agencies can defend US network infrastructure and mine foreign computer systems to detect attacks.

The report comes amid new concern about the power of cyberwarfare, and its potential to take out defense networks, major technological infrastructure, and facilities like power plants or financial systems.

One senior US official quoted by the Times said those behind the review had determined that cyberweapons were so powerful that - like nuclear weapons - they should be unleashed only on the direct orders of the commander-in-chief.

 
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