Why the U.S. is struggling with the digital war on ISIS

To Inform is to Influence


The U.S. military’s reported inability to effectively “drop cyber bombs”on the Islamic State is raising new questions about the military’s existing “cyberweapons arsenal,” a loosely defined collage of digital warfare capabilities shrouded in secrecy.

Computer network attacks have been conducted by operators within the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, the military’s top cyberwarfare unit, under the order of Joint Task Force Ares. While the two organizations are inherently aligned, the NSA and Cyber Command follow different missions and employ different capabilities.

Very little is publicly known about either the intelligence community or U.S. military’s ability to conduct offensive cyber-operations; the subject matter is generally considered classified if not highly sensitive.

A leaked CIA document published by WikiLeaks in March and identified by CyberScoop provides a rare window into how analysts conduct cyberwarfare operations; describing one instance in…

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