Venable partner Jamie Barnett was interviewed in an April 27, 2016 Network World article on the military using cyberattacks against ISIS with the goal of disrupting communications. Several options are available including DDoS and man-in-the-middle attacks, banking Trojans, and ransomware-type attacks that could irreversibly encrypt machines.
According to Barnett, knocking out an enemy's communications before a ground attack is standard military procedure and used to be done with air strikes. "That's just part of the preparation of the battlefield," he said. In addition to targeting communications, cyberattacks could be used to disrupt money transfers, gather intelligence, or target control systems that run water and power supplies. In return, ISIS has threatened to use cyberattacks but so far their efforts have amounted to nothing more than cyber vandalism.
Recently, US officials have been talking more openly about the use of cyberwar against ISIS either as a way reassure the public the threat is being treated seriously or a way of getting into the heads of ISIS leader. "They may be toying with them a little bit," said Barnett. Regardless, he added, "Cyber offense is critical to any type of military operation. It's inconceivable that we would not use it. It's conventional now. It's fully integrated now."