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

By Matthew Hoisington


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 cyberwarfare within the existing jus ad bellum paradigm. After examining the shortcomings inherent in classifying cyberattacks according to classical notions of kinetic warfare, this Note argues that international law should afford protection for states who initiate a good-faith response to a cyberattack, especially when the attack targets critical national infrastructure

Topics: International Law, Military, War, and Peace
Publisher: Digital Commons @ Boston College Law School
Year: 2009
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