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U.S. considers new cybersecurity rules

March 28, 2012 at 8:42 AM

WASHINGTON, March 28 (UPI) -- The head of U.S. cybersecurity says presidential authorization should be required, in some cases, before the U.S. military can attack enemy computer systems.

Gen. Keith Alexander, head of U.S. Cyber Command, has said he wants greater legal authority to protect private-sector computer networks against cyberattacks but told the Senate Armed Forces Committee Tuesday there are instances when presidential authority may be needed, The Washington Post reported.

"It really comes down to, so what are those reactions that make sense that we can do defensively, analogous to the missile shoot-down?" Alexander said. "But if you are to go after a computer in foreign space or some other thing, that might be a response option that would now take, I think, the president and the [defense] secretary to step in and start making decisions, versus us taking that on."

The Post said senators are concerned that growing threats from foreign governments, criminals and hackers may also one day include terrorists.

Alexander said staff members are working with other agencies to determine how the rules of engagement for cyberattacks should be revised to reflect current technology and capabilities, the newspaper said.

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