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Tim Culpan

The U.S. Opens a Risky New Front in Cyberdefense

Conducting secret incursions into corporate networks to stop attacks is a powerful move, but overly aggressive tactics could backfire.

Aggressive tactics.

Aggressive tactics.

Photographer: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images

A U.S. operation to secretly remove malware from networks at home and overseas highlights the new front Washington is opening in its approach to global cyberdefense. It’s a much-needed strategy, but one that ought to be handle delicately if the U.S. is to maintain the cooperation necessary to keep pulling off such sneaky maneuvers.

The U.S. and its allies found malicious code developed and planted by Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, in thousands of devices worldwide, Attorney General Merrick Garland revealed Wednesday. The U.S. and other nations have been on the alert for the possibility that Russia would conduct cyberattacks on businesses or critical infrastructure to retaliate against sanctions over the war in Ukraine.