Pentagon looks to ramp up cyber war on ISIS

Pentagon looks to ramp up cyber war on ISIS
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The Pentagon is considering stepping up its cyber warfare against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Los Angeles Times reported.

Government hackers have created a slate of tools that could be deployed to sabotage the extremist group’s online recruitment efforts, several unnamed U.S. officials told the Times.


Some FBI and intelligence officials, however, are warning that the plan could actually make it harder to track militants. Restricting the Internet, social media and cellphone service in Iraq and Syria could cut off vital surveillance capabilities, they caution.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter will meet with top cybersecurity officials this week to discuss the potential options, including computer viruses and jamming capabilities, according to the newspaper.

The decision to explore a bolstered cyber campaign came after investigators looking into the San Bernardino, Calif., attack reportedly discovered that the shooters — Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook — pledged loyalty to ISIS on Facebook.

One official described the situation as still in the exploratory phase.

Those in the White House, the official said, “want to see options.”

“That doesn't mean they are all in play,” the official added. “It just means they want to look at what ways we can pressure.”

The issue of how to combat potential terrorists online has become a hot topic on the 2016 campaign trail, putting more pressure on the Obama administration to take action.

Republican presidential candidates have pressed major tech players like Facebook, Twitter and Google to work more closely with the government to track and report suspicious activity.

GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE has suggested he would also support “closing that Internet up in some way.”

"I would certainly be open to closing areas where we are at war with somebody," he said at last GOP debate. “I sure as hell don't want to let people who want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet.”