The US revealed its “International Strategy for Cyberspace” (PDF) yesterday. It’s mostly blather about how terrific “cyberspace” is, but it gets more specific on a few key issues like national defense. Could our next war start because of a hack? The government says it’s possible.
“States have an inherent right to self-defense that may be triggered by certain aggressive acts in cyberspace,” says the policy. Indeed, such aggressive acts might compel a country like the US to act even when the hacking is targeted at an allied country.
“Certain hostile acts conducted through cyberspace could compel actions under the commitments we have with our military treaty partners,” says the document. “When warranted, the United States will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would any other threat to our country.”