Pentagon Cyberweapons ‘Disappointing’ Against ISIS

An anonymous reader quotes the New York Times:
It has been more than a year since the Pentagon announced that it was opening a new line of combat against the Islamic State, directing Cyber Command, then six years old, to mount computer-network attacks… “In general, there was some sense of disappointment in the overall ability for cyberoperations to land a major blow against ISIS,” or the Islamic State, said Joshua Geltzer, who was the senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council until March. “This is just much harder in practice than people think…”

Even one of the rare successes against the Islamic State belongs at least in part to Israel, which was America’s partner in the attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Top Israeli cyberoperators penetrated a small cell of extremist bombmakers in Syria months ago, the officials said. That was how the United States learned that the terrorist group was working to make explosives that fooled airport X-ray machines and other screening by looking exactly like batteries for laptop computers… The information helped prompt a ban in March on large electronic devices in carry-on luggage on flights from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries to the United States and Britain.

Citing military officials, the Times also reports that “locking Islamic State propaganda specialists out of their accounts — or using the coordinates of their phones and computers to target them for a drone attack — is now standard operating procedure.”


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