Our military is finally striking back at the jihadists online.
The U.S. military is quietly expanding capabilities to attack terrorist computer networks, including websites that glorify insurgent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, military officials and experts say.
The move comes as al-Qaeda and other groups fighting in Iraq and elsewhere have expanded their activities on the Internet and increased the sophistication and volume of their videos and messages. Much of the material is designed to raise money and recruit fighters for Iraq.
“You should not let them operate uncontested” on the Internet and elsewhere in cyberspace, said Marine Brig. Gen. John Davis, who heads a military command located at the National Security Agency. The command was established to develop ways to attack computer networks.
“Our opponents do a heck of a lot more than just watch us in cyberspace,” Davis said. “They are acting in cyberspace. We need to develop options so that we can … dominate cyberspace.”
Cyberattacks can take different forms, including eliminating terrorist websites and creating doubts among insurgents about their networks’ security, said Arquilla, who favors an offensive approach he calls a “virtual scorched-earth policy.”