Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The new cybersecurity strategy unveiled last month by the Department of Defense emphasizes agility, strength, and the ability to disrupt cyberattacks by hacking the attackers. In the coming months, we'll start to learn whether that makes the U.S. more secure, the world more chaotic, or both.

The big picture: The new strategy undoes Obama-era rules that required intra-agency discussions before cyber interventions and lowers the threshold for what warrants a response from U.S. hackers.

Proponents of the strategy believe that the United States needs to raise the cost for foreign hackers to strike American targets, and the current toolkit lacks a military option less extreme than war. In part, the idea is to show U.S. cyber power in an attempt to bolster security.

The risks:

  • Responding to cyberattacks can escalate conflicts. Nations may feel like they have to respond to a challenge or may interpret what the U.S. considers a defensive move as part of a larger attack.
  • For the U.S. to respond to attacks nimbly, it will have to develop footholds in enemy networks in advance, and that risks exposure.

Sign up for my bi-weekly cybersecurity newsletter Axios Codebookhere.

Go deeper

Updated 51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 33,867,247 — Total deaths: 1,012,341 — Total recoveries: 23,537,059Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 7,229,319 — Total deaths: 206,887 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: The coronavirus' alarming impact on the body.
  5. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  6. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.
Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Facebook removes Trump ads tying refugees to COVID-19

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook said Wednesday that it was removing a series of ads from President Trump's campaign that linked American acceptance of refugees with increased coronavirus risk, a connection Facebook says is without merit.

Why it matters: The ads were pulled after they received thousands of impressions and are a sign that the Trump campaign continues to test the limits of social media rules on false information.

Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Tuesday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.