U.S. says can use force to respond to cyber-attacks

SINGAPORE Sat Jun 4, 2011 9:41am IST

A couple cycle past the logo of Google in front of its former headquarters in Beijing June 2, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A couple cycle past the logo of Google in front of its former headquarters in Beijing June 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

Related Topics

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - U.S. defence systems are constantly under attack in cyberspace and the Pentagon is working to identify hackers who will be responded to in kind or with traditional offensive action, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said on Saturday.

Gates was speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an Asian security meeting, days after Google said it had disrupted a campaign aimed at stealing passwords of hundreds of Google email account holders, including senior U.S. government officials, Chinese activists and journalists.

It was the latest in a series of cyber attacks that have also targeted defence contractor Lockheed Martin and Sony Corp. Google said the latest breach appeared to originate in China but neither the company nor the U.S. government has said the Chinese government was responsible.

But the U.S. State Department has asked Beijing to investigate.

"We take the cyber threat very seriously and we see it from a variety of sources, not just one or another country," Gates said.

"One of the problems of cyber attacks is that attributability is a problem at some times. It's hard to know or takes a lot of time to figure out where an attack came from."

Gates said the Pentagon was examining threats from cyber-space in the context of defence responsibilities.

"There is no question that our defence systems are under attack all the time," he said.

"What does constitute an offensive act by a government? What would constitute an act of war by cyber that would require some kind of response, either in kind or kinetically?" he said.

"We could avoid some serious international tensions in the future if we could establish some rules of the road as early as possible to let people know what kinds of attacks are acceptable, what kinds of acts are not and what kinds of acts may in fact be acts of war."

(Reporting by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Top News

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Sarita's Suspension

Sarita's Suspension

India hope to get boxer Sarita Devi's suspension reversed.  Full Article 

Fighting IS

Fighting IS

U.S.-led air strikes killed 553 fighters, 32 civilians in Syria - monitor.  Full Article 

'Zero Hunger' Goal

'Zero Hunger' Goal

India sees Brazil as a "role model" in beating hunger.  Full Article 

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Bilawal, scion of Pakistan's Bhutto dynasty, throws down gauntlet to PM.  Full Article 

Modi's Reforms

Modi's Reforms

Modi takes first bite at coal to end India's power mess  Full Article 

Champions League

Champions League

Ronaldo leads rout as Real outclass Liverpool.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Official WHO Ebola toll near 5,000 with true number nearer 15,000.  Full Article 

New Google Mail

New Google Mail

Google launches new email service dubbed "Inbox"  Full Article 

What's Next?

What's Next?

Fears for tough penalties grow as India cleans up business.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage