One of the paradoxes of the Islamic State is that while it's founding principles and practices are from the 7th Century, its methods of waging war are straight out of the 21st. ISIS has a sophisticated computer network that uses social media to recruit terrorists worldwide and to impart propaganda. The United States Cyber Command, the newly established cyber war unit located at Fort Meade, Maryland, has opened up a new front in the war against the terrorist caliphate with a goal of bringing that computer network down.

Cyber Command was created several years ago when the fact was acknowledged that the Internet, upon which civilization depends on so much, has become a venue for war fighting.

Enemies of the United States will use the vast computer network that binds the world as a way to ferret out American government and business secrets and as a way to damage the infrastructure of the West. In turn, American cyber soldiers will fend off such attacks and strike back at any enemy the United States in engaged in.

The military is, understandably, somewhat reticent about how it is taking the fight to the ISIS computer systems, controlled by something called CyberCaliphate. One can presume it is trying to hack into that computer system to ferret out any intelligence that might reside within it while, at the same time, bring it down, forcing the Islamic State terrorists to fall back on older methods to communicate. These methods are presumed to be easier to tap into.

Rumors about cyber war have already leaked to the media.

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The Chinese are said to have launched hacking attacks against American private companies and government agencies with a goal of conducting industrial espionage. The United States or Israel or both have introduced a worm into Iranian computer systems with the goal of slowing down Iran’s nuclear bomb program.

The nightmare scenario faced by American cyberwarriors is a kind of computer-based “Pearl Harbor” in which the opening shot of a war would not consist of bombing, but of a massive attack that would bring down American telecommunications and infrastructure. Such an attack would serve to cripple the American economy and its ability to defend itself.