US Cyberweapons Are a Growing Disappointment Against ISIS

Cyber-Warfare Increasingly Common Tactic for the US Abroad

In recent years, the US government has become increasingly willing to deploy cyber-weapons abroad, repeatedly attacking Iran’s civilian nuclear program, and regularly trying to throw wrenches into North Korea’s missile development program with malware and sabotage.

Cyber Command has been throwing the best of their arsenal at ISIS too, with officials in both the Obama and Trump Administrations making clear that stopping ISIS’ Internet campaign is a top priority. The Pentagon publicly announced an offensive cyber campaign against ISIS a little over a year ago. So far, it’s not accomplishing much.

Despite US Cyber Command being heavily funded and officials often bragging about their advanced capabilities, officials say that they’ve seen the campaign as a significant disappointment, saying successful attacks are proving a lot harder in practice than they were in theory, and they’re not seeing any “major” blows.

Indeed, the best they’ve ever managed to accomplish were to get a few ISIS administrators’ passwords, bringing a collection of videos down off the Internet temporarily, only to see the same content restored on a different server not long after. Keeping ISIS off the Internet remains their goal, but an elusive one.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.