According to Ars Technica, the US has announced a cyberwar against ‘Islamic State’. The involvement of computers in military offensives isn’t a new thing – it has been happening for years and longer still in the realm of science fiction – but I don’t think it has very often been announced as part of an overt military strategy. IS makes significant use of information technology, particularly given its many pre-medieval values so it can be seen as an essential part of the overall strategy.
I can see a couple of extra dimensions to this. One is that the US doesn’t necessarily have to mount an attack or a successful attack to contribute to its overall success. If IS mobilises to defend its networks – a drain on resources – that could be leaving other flanks less defended. On the other hand, cyberwar is going to be an easy weapon to use indiscriminantly in terrorist hands too. Recently Ukraine suffered problems with its power grid because of cyber attacks and, with increasing reliance on commuications technology, more and more of our infrastructure has potential vulnerabilities.
Best get your backups checked and spend some time on your offline skills, in case there is blowback from this one.