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Cyber WarLaw and Ethics for Virtual Conflicts$
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Jens David Ohlin, Kevin Govern, and Claire Finkelstein

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717492

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717492.001.0001

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Cyberwar versus Cyber Attack

Cyberwar versus Cyber Attack

The Role of Rhetoric in the Application of Law to Activities in Cyberspace

Chapter:
(p.76) 5 Cyberwar versus Cyber Attack
Source:
Cyber War
Author(s):

Laurie R Blank

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717492.003.0006

The interplay between law and rhetoric forms an important backdrop for analyzing international legal norms governing state response to cyber threats. First, the term “cyberwar” or “cyberwarfare” is used to connote a wide range of actual and potential cyber activities or threats across a broad spectrum of activity. This chapter highlights the consequences of “war” rhetoric in the cyber realm, with specific reference to lessons from the past decade of counterterrorism. It then analyzes the consequences of the term “cyber attack,” focusing on both the jus ad bellum concept of “armed attack” and the law of armed conflict definition of “attack,” particularly with regard to blurring the notion of “attack” into one unspecified and extensive term conflating two or more legal concepts. Each of these results has significant ramifications for the application of international law, the preservation of the international system, and the protection of persons during times of conflict.

Keywords:   cyber, cyber attack, cyberwar, cyberwarfare, law of armed conflict, international humanitarian law, jus ad bellum, self-defense, armed attack, international law

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