Cyber Command plans offensive actions

Monday - 11/8/2010, 6:13pm EST

The Pentagon's new Cyber Command became fully operational last week and now is trying to expand its role globally by launching offensive actions.

The offensive actions might include shutting down part of an opponent's computer network to preempt a cyberattack against a U.S. target. They could also include changing a line of code in an adversary's computer to render malicious software harmless. These are seen as operations that can destroy, disrupt or degrade targeted computers or networks.

But the Washington Post reports that the request is drawing harsh objections from the White House and the CIA.

The White House is worried about legal implications of the offensive action, and the CIA argues that covert operations are the responsibility of the CIA and the State Department and could have significant diplomatic backlash from the attacks.

The Cyber Command agreed to release an updated cyber strategy by the end of the year that aims to address some of these concerns.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily Cybersecurity Update brought to you by Tripwire. For more cybersecurity news, click here.