Pentagon: Let’s threaten nuke strike against hackers

Report insists on keeping nuclear arsenal ready for Internet retaliation

By Sam Biddle

Most of us are content keeping hackers away with a firewall and decent password. But the Pentagon isn't nearly content, and in a new report, insists we should keep our nuclear arsenal ready for Internet retaliation. What could go wrong?

The report, "Resilient Military Systems and the Advanced Cyber Threat," was prepared by the Department of Defense's Defense Science Board, and over the course of 138 pages makes one very clear point: if China ever hacks us, "Protect the Nuclear Strike as a Deterrent."

The phrase is repeated again and again—the word "nuclear" appears 113 times in a report ostensibly dealing with computer warfare. The entire thing is riddled with jargon, euphemism, and rosy military metaphor—climbing the ladder of deterrence!—but the notion that American nukes could (and should!) be part of the "cyber war" equation (and insulted against any electronic disruption) is unequivocal.

Read more: Pentagon: Let’s Threaten Nuke Strike Against Hackers