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Senate Bill Aims to Define ‘Acts of War’ in Cyberspace

cyberSen. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) has authored a bill that seeks to encourage the executive branch to identify what cyberspace operations constitute acts of war.

The Cyber Act of War Act of 2016 calls on the federal government to “consider the ways in which the effects of a cyberattack may be equivalent to the effects of an attack using conventional weapons, as well as the intangible effects of significant scope, intensity or duration,” Rounds wrote in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal published Sunday.

He noted the U.S. has policies that guide the Defense Department on how it should respond to a cyber attack against military assets but does not have a formal policy that can help DoD address a similar attack on critical civilian infrastructure.

Rounds added he believes having a clear definition of cyber acts of war will allow the government to determine the appropriate time to initiate offensive cyber missions against adversaries.

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