Rules of engagement for cyberwarfare

A think tank has released a manual aimed at legal staff advising governments on how international law applies to cyberwarfare, according to a story in Network World.

In the past 150 years, the world’s military has produced numerous “innovations” for killing people: mustard gas in World War I, the atomic bomb in World War II, more recently the suicide bomber in the Middle East. International law has become increasingly unable to deal with the new modes of warfare.

(Cyberwar image from Shutterstock)

At least in those example, combatants are aware that a state of warfare exists. Not necessarily so with cyberwarfare. When an attack like Stuxnet unfolds, it’s difficult to determine if it’s a national interest or a group of “bad actors” (who may be working at the behest of national interests).

One country’s cybercounterattack is another country’s act of undeclared war.

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.

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