Search GSSD

Solving the Dilemma of State Responses to Cyberattacks

Countries that are highly computerized can reap economic benefits, but they also open themselves up to cyber attacks from both state and non-state actors. Not only states can conduct cyber attacks, but anyone with a laptop can attack a foreign country—this is a new development that the law of war must address.Types of attacks include malicious software, denial of service (DOS), and distributed denial of service (DDOS). Must protect critical national infrastructure (CNI). There exists an attribution problem when a state is being attacked through cyber space. It's very difficult for a state to trace an attack to a particular person or actor, and countries cannot respond with force until the attack has been attributed to a state or its agents. Because of this uncertainty of whether the attack comes from the state or uncontrolled actors within it, responding to a cyber attack can be a crisis. No comprehensive treaty exists in international law to address this problem adequately, so states must treat a cyber-attack as a traditional armed attack by a state or a criminal activity by a non-state actor.
Lieutenant Commander Matthew J. Sklerov
Military Law Review
Industry Focus: 
Legal & Financial