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From Nuclear War to Net War: Analogizing Cyber Attacks in International Law

On April 27, 2007, Estonia suffered a crippling cyber attack launched from outside its borders. It is still unclear what legal rights a state has as a victim of a cyber attack. For example, even if Estonia could conclusively prove that Russia was behind the March 2007 attack there is no clear consensus on how Estonia could legally respond, whether with armed force, its own cyber attack, or some other measure. The scholarly literature dealing with these questions, as well as the ethical, humanitarian, and human rights implications of information warfare (IW) on national and international security is scarce. Treatments of IW outside the orthodox international humanitarian law (IHL) framework are nearly non-existent. This underscores the tension between classifying cyber attacks as merely criminal, or as a matter of state survival calling for the same responses as conventional threats to national security.
Indiana University, Kelley School of Business
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Internet & Cyberspace
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