Saturday, December 11, 2021

CRS Reports – Use of Force in Cyberspace

This week the Congressional Research Service published a report on “Use of Force in Cyberspace”. The author notes:

“There are no internationally accepted criteria yet for determining whether a nation state cyberattack is a use of force equivalent to an armed attack, which could trigger a military response. Likewise, no international, legally binding instruments have yet been drafted explicitly to regulate inter-state relations in cyberspace. Self-defense and countermeasures for armed attacks are permitted in international law when a belligerent violates international law during peacetime, or violates the law of armed conflict during wartime.”

This is an interesting discussion about what the limits of what actions in the cyber realm might be considered to be the legal equivalent to the use of force or an attack in the international realm. What is missing from the discussion is how the problem of attribution affects application of potential retaliation measures.


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