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Military: Virtual Attacks Met With Real Force

The military must move from defending against major cyber-attacks to deterring assaults by letting enemies know the U.S. is willing to retaliate with its own virtual weapons or military force, says a top general.

The Pentagon's new strategy to deal with hackers is to strengthen its computer systems and those of its military contractors. But Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that policy is just a start. He said that over the next decade the military would move beyond building better firewalls and make clear to adversaries that they will pay a price for serious cyber-attacks. "There is no penalty to attacking us now. We have to figure out a way to change that," Gen. Cartwright said.

The cost of cyber-attacks is massive: It has meant the theft of thousands of files from the U.S. government, allies and private industry. Each year, a volume of intellectual property exceeding the size of the Library of Congress is stolen from U.S. government and private-sector networks, the Pentagon says.

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