Pentagon boosts cyber war against Islamic State

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon is expanding its cyberattacks against the Islamic State group’s computer networks, senior defence officials said on Monday as they claimed to have seized the momentum in the 18-month-old fight against the militants.

Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and the US military’s top officer, General Joe Dunford, told reporters the United States was determined to accelerate the anti-IS campaign and indicated cyber warfare is playing an increasingly important role in doing so.

“The US-led coalition is working to disrupt IS’s command chain to cause them to lose confidence in their networks,” Carter said. He did not offer technical specifics on how the coalition was doing this but said the tactic was to overload their network so that they can’t function, and do all of these things that will interrupt their ability to command and control forces there, control the population and the economy.

The US-led coalition started bombing IS positions in Iraq and Syria in late August 2014 but the campaign has expanded to include the training and equipping of local anti-IS forces, principally by Western commandos. While the IS group maintains a firm grip on vast areas of Iraq and Syria, the militants have suffered some serious setbacks.

In Iraq in December, coalition-supported Iraqi forces recaptured Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, west of Baghdad.

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