Rethinking the Prohibition on the Use of Force in the Light of Economic Cyber Warfare: Towards a Broader Scope of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter
Journal of Law and Cyber Warfare, 2015
35 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2016
Date Written: December 31, 2015
Cyber-attacks that cause physical consequences are considered to be in violation of the use of force prohibition should the effects reach a certain severity threshold. That premise does not extend to cyber-attacks that cause economic harm due to a dated distinction between kinetic and other effects. This article presents the argument that Article 2(4) of the UN Charter on the prohibition on the threat or use of force ought to apply to economic cyber-attacks. As a result, the right of self-defense could be triggered by the gravest of economic cyber-attacks, as well as the UN Security Council authority under Chapter VII in response to an economic cyber-attack. The underlying assumption is that the effects of economic cyber-attacks can be just as severe and threatening as the effects of kinetic cyber-attacks, and therefore, there is a need to reformulate the boundaries of the use of force paradigm to encompass the additional range of harmful cyber activities. This article proposes a framework consisting of a set of factors to assess economic cyber-attacks under the use of force paradigm.
Keywords: cyber warfare, use of force, UN charter, cyber attacks, self defense, economic cyber attacks
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation