It seems like the US government has been hacking for years.
The White House, for example, has been developing its own cyberweapons program for the last two decades.
Now, the US Department of Defense is reportedly testing a new, homegrown cyberwarfare tool.
It’s called the cyberweapon, and it’s meant to be a little different from the ones the US is already using.
It will target “cyberthreats” in the US, and could include foreign nations that have been hacking US government networks, like China and Russia.
The Pentagon has been working on this tool since last year, and now it has a name: the Cyberweapon Development and Demonstration Program (CDEP).
According to a report from Reuters, the Pentagon is testing the new cyberweapon against “cyberspace-related threats” and will begin deploying it to US troops in the next few weeks.
It also plans to test the weapon against “non-cyber threats” in a “limited and controlled environment.”
The Pentagon’s cyberweapon program has been underway for the past two years, and was originally codenamed “Cyber Pearl Harbor,” but the name has been changed to the Cyber Weapon Development and Demo Program (DPDP) to distinguish it from the other new cyberwar tools the US Army has been testing.
The weapon could theoretically target any nation on the planet that has access to the internet.
The DOD says the program is “focused on cyberweapons and other threats that are impacting the military, national security, or commercial sector in the United States.”
What does that mean exactly?
Well, according to the US military, “cybertargeting” is the term the US uses to describe a specific group of foreign nations who are hacking into US networks.
“The US military does not target a specific nation in the cyberwar against cyberthreats,” the DOD says in its Cyberweapon Program Strategy.
“We do not target an individual nation or entity.”
The DPDP aims to “ensure the continued and rapid development of the military’s ability to defeat and defend against cyber threats.”
The program is also designed to make it easier for the US to conduct “cybereffective” cyberattacks on foreign targets, meaning that it would allow the US Government to retaliate against an attack or a targeted group of hackers who have penetrated the US network.
In other words, it could help the US Military target foreign governments that it considers hostile to the United State.
“This is a tool to be used for both offensive and defensive purposes,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Brian Tribus told Reuters.
The DSPDP, as the name suggests, is designed to be able to target foreign nations and cyberthreat groups “with the capability to inflict severe disruption, compromise, or damage to critical infrastructure or other systems, in addition to disrupting the nation’s ability, infrastructure, or operations.”
The new cyberweapons could be useful to the military because it would provide the US with “a new tool for attacking foreign adversaries that the United Kingdom has deployed in cyberspace.”
The US Department is also working on “the first cyberwar weapon” that will be used to attack Russia.
“If you have a cyberweapon in the hands of the United Nations or any other foreign country, that’s a threat to us,” a Pentagon spokesperson told Reuters in December.
That threat has to do with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s use of cyberweapons against US interests in the years following the 2016 US election.
At the time, Putin accused the US of launching a “cyberespionage campaign” to steal US data and political information.
The Russian leader’s attacks were reportedly carried out using malware from the Russian intelligence agency, the GRU.
According to Reuters, some of the malware targeted the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and South Korea, but the most widespread attack was directed at the US.
The US retaliated by conducting cyberattacks against the Russian government, and the Russian leadership was forced to respond.
The United States retaliated and then blamed Russia for launching a cyberattack against it, which it called an “act of war.”
In response, Russia launched a cyberwar of its own, claiming that the US was responsible for cyberattacks launched against it.
The cyberattack was claimed to have affected the Democratic National Committee, the Office of Personnel Management, the National Security Agency, and a number of other US government organizations.
The DNC was not affected by the attack, but other organizations were.
The attacks led to the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and led to a massive hack of the Democratic Party’s computer systems.
The Trump administration is also said to be trying to use cyberattacks to influence the US elections.
“Cyberspace is our adversary,” a US military spokesperson told the Associated Press.
“It is not something that can be manipulated.”