The fireworks weren’t only in the sky this past Fourth of July but were seemingly in the Intertubes, too, when U.S. and South Korean government websites were struck by a series of cyber sorties that knocked a few sites off line and left some people seeing red — as in the crimson Communist hue.
Anonymous South Korean intelligence agents blamed North Korea for the attacks — despite presenting no evidence to back the claim. U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan) even called on the administration to retaliate with a “show of force” against the Communist regime.
The congressman’s extreme reaction to a minor web attack is a stark reminder that we’ve entered the age of the cyber wars. It’s also a reminder that there are numerous questions — ethical, legal and even bureaucratic — that need to be sorted out about the rules of engagement before the U.S. launches any cyber volleys in retaliation for an attack or otherwise. The most basic being, what constitutes an attack, how do we identify its source and what’s an acceptable response?