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U.S. could cripple Syria’s air defenses with secret cyber weapons

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The U.S. military could blind Syria's air defenses -- as it would need to do to establish a 'no-fly' zone over rebel held areas -- without firing a shot, using new and highly secret cyberattack capabilities, according to USA Today.

"One of the reasons the Air Force has paid so much attention to cyberwarfare is ... for beating enemy air defenses," James Lewis, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies told the paper.

The ability to defeat Syria's Russian-built electronic air defenses would be central to any effort to intervene in the country's two-year old civil war. U.S. and allied forces would need air supremacy for a no-fly zone, but would need it even more acutely if ground forces were being committed.

Electronic methods to disable enemy air defense systems include the injection of malicious software packages known as malware into the air-defense computer network or by electronic warfare aircraft capable of jamming radar.

Radar are, in some ways, like wireless transmitters and receivers, and jamming equipment can get false information or even destructive data, like malware, into the network via the radar itself, said Shlomo Narkolayev, an analyst who has worked on cyber issues for the Israeli military's cyberwarfare unit.

"It sounds like science fiction. It's not," Narkolayev old the paper. "It's not hard to do this," he said.


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About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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