Role of Counterterrorism Law in Shaping 'ad Bellum' Norms for Cyber Warfare   [open pdf - 481KB]

"The prospect of cyber war has evolved from science fiction and over-the-top doomsday depictions on television, films and in novels to reality and front-page news. The revelations that the Stuxnet attack on the computers that run Iran's nuclear enrichment program was part of a larger 'Olympic Games' campaign of cyber war begun in 2006 during the George W. Bush administration by the United States, and perhaps Israel, opened our eyes to the practical reality that the United States is engaged in some kind of cyber war against Iran. The United States' use of cyber weapons to attack a State's infrastructure became the first known use of computer code to effect physical destruction of equipment--in this case Iranian centrifuges--instead of disabling computers or stealing data. […] Whether large or small, cyber attacks are proliferating, at least in part because the means are becoming cheaper and easier to acquire and use. Particularly when targeted at powerful adversaries like the United States, cyber intrusions offer a model application of asymmetric warfare, where adversaries much weaker in conventional terms exploit vulnerabilities in the stronger foe. The asymmetric attackers are further advantaged by the fact that they may mask their identity and location at least temporarily and avoid immediate attribution and response to the attacks. As such, cyber attacks share core characteristics with other terrorist attack modes. As the means to affect cyber attacks become easier to acquire and use, terrorists may wage cyber war against their adversaries, either directly attacking government systems or going after infrastructure in the private sector."

2013 Naval War College International Law Studies. Posted here with permission. Documents are for personal use only and not for commercial profit.
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U.S. Naval War College: http://www.usnwc.edu/
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Naval War College International Law Studies (2013), v. 89, p. 157-197
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