Cyberwarfare and the Use of Force Giving Rise to the Right of Self-Defense

Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 32, p. 439, 2009

16 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2010  

Matthew Hoisington

United Nations, Office of Legal Affairs

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Cyberwarfare represents a novel weapon that has the potential to alter the way state and non-state actors conduct modern war. The unique nature of the threat and the ability for cyberwar practioners to inflict injury, death, and physical destruction via cyberspace strains traditional definitions of the use of force. In order to clearly delineate the rights of the parties involved, including the right to self-defense, the international community must come to some consensus on the meaning of cyber-warfare within the existing jus ad bellum paradigm. After examining the shortcomings inherent in classifying cyber-attacks according to classical notions of kinetic warfare, this Comment argues that international law should afford protection for states who initiate a good-faith response to a cyber-attack, especially when the attack targets critical national infrastructure.

Keywords: International law, cyberwarfare, cyber attack, self-defense, law of war, jus ad bellum

Suggested Citation

Hoisington, Matthew, Cyberwarfare and the Use of Force Giving Rise to the Right of Self-Defense (2009). Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 32, p. 439, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1542223 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1542223

Matthew Hoisington (Contact Author)

United Nations, Office of Legal Affairs ( email )

New York, NY 10017
United States

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