According to The New York Times, the United States is now launching cyberattacks against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. The newspaper reported, “The goal of the new campaign is to disrupt the ability of the Islamic State to spread its message, attract new adherents, circulate orders from commanders and carry out day-to-day functions, like paying its fighters. A benefit of the administration’s exceedingly rare public discussion of the campaign, officials said, is to rattle the Islamic State’s commanders, who have begun to realize that sophisticated hacking efforts are manipulating their data. Potential recruits may also be deterred if they come to worry about the security of their communications with the militant group.”
Deputy secretary of defense Robert O. Work explained, “We are dropping cyberbombs. We have never done that before.”
The effort relies on small teams of cyberattackers that are “loosely modeled” on Special Forces units. They have reportedly intercepted ISIS leaders’ communications and are now altering messages to cause confusion, as well as interrupting or diverting electronic money transfers.