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Collateral cyber damage: The future of war

There is little doubt that future wars will include cyber theaters. The NYT story describes cyber attacks and the dangers of collateral damage.

Although the digital attack on Iraq’s financial system was not carried out, the American military and its partners in the intelligence agencies did receive approval to cripple Iraq’s military and government communications systems in the early hours of the war in 2003. And that attack did produce collateral damage.

Besides blowing up cellphone towers and communications grids, the offensive included electronic jamming and digital attacks against Iraq’s telephone networks. American officials also contacted international communications companies that provided satellite phone and cellphone coverage to Iraq to alert them to possible jamming and to ask their assistance in turning off certain channels.

Officials now acknowledge that the communications offensive temporarily disrupted telephone service in countries around Iraq that shared its cellphone and satellite telephone systems. That limited damage was deemed acceptable by the Bush administration.

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