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U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency declares war on enemy malware

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August 15, 2017

The United States' Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has electronically 'declared war' on enemy malware.

The DIA has confirmed it will study it carefully and then turn the malware on their own creators, giving them a touch of their own medicine.

Speaking at the U.S. Department of Defense Intelligence Information Systems (DoDIIS) conference in Missouri yesterday, the head of the agency Lieutenant Vincent Stewart told attendees that the United States was tired of just taking hits from outside players and that was planning to strike back.

"Once we've isolated some malware, I want to reengineer it and prepare to use it against the same adversary group who sought to use it against us in the first place," he said."

Speaking in front of a clumsy-looking world map of simulated cyber-attacks, drawn by defunct security firm Norse, Stewart asserted that the traditional position of the U.S. has been defensive-- intrusions would be detected, and infections would be cleaned up.

But this would soon change, he added. There are still a few concerns that spring to mind-- one is that miscreants, whether state-backed hackers or independent crews, typically use networks and other infrastructure shared with innocent folks from email to web hosts to ISPs.

Malware commandeered by the U.S. and launched back at the bad guys could knock out important civilian systems, so care is needed.

Additionally, some attribution can be a bit difficult at the best of times. In other words, it can be tricky in making sure who exactly is behind a truly sophisticated attack, so the malware may be flung in the face of a party that had nothing to do with the original assault.

A Trojan made by a teenager in a Sao Paulo bedroom could be incorrectly pinned on Iranian or Russian government spies, leading to all sorts of political fallouts.

And while the DIA employs very high standards, sending repurposed malware at enemies is still a high-risk maneuver at the best of times.

The chances of a server getting fried because some other state-sponsored hacker was using it to attack America are very high.

This is also somewhat outside of the DIA's mandate, and something that needs to be carefully looked at, nevertheless. Online warfare is best handled by the NSA and the U.S. Cyber Command, which really do have the best hackers.

Source: The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.

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