Cyber Attacks, Self-Defence and the Problem of Attribution

Journal of Conflict & Security Law (2012), Vol. 17 No. 2, 229–244

16 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2014

See all articles by Nicholas Tsagourias

Nicholas Tsagourias

University of Sheffield - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 24, 2012

Abstract

This article examines the conditions under which a cyber attack can trigger a State’s right to self-defense and argues that the current international law standards for attributing attacks to a State can cover the case of cyber attacks. More specifically, the victim State can use force by way of self-defense against another State if the attack has been committed by the latter’s organs or agents or has been committed by non-State actors tolerated by that State. When no State is implicated in the cyber attack, the victim State can take direct self-defense action against the non-State actor. It is however noted that future State practice may amplify further the attribution standards or introduce new standards.

Keywords: Cyber attack, self-defence, attribution, use of force, attribution standards

Suggested Citation

Tsagourias, Nicholas, Cyber Attacks, Self-Defence and the Problem of Attribution (July 24, 2012). Journal of Conflict & Security Law (2012), Vol. 17 No. 2, 229–244, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2538271

Nicholas Tsagourias (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - Faculty of Law ( email )

Crookesmoor Building, Conduit Road
Sheffield S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.shef.ac.uk/law/staff/academic/ntsagourias

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