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Network technology use and cyberspace exploitation for intelligence and attack have become a normal part of military activity. Questions persist as to the appropriate framework for considering this new mode of conflict, but to a degree, these questions result from weak data, imprecise terminology, and a certain reluctance to abandon the notion that cyberconflict is unique, rather than just another mode of attack. This article reviews cyberattack in armed conflicts, thresholds for considering cyberexploits as the use of force, existing armed conflict laws' applicability to cyberattack, and the political implications of cyberexploits' strategic versus tactical applications.

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... The recent cyber feud between the US and Russia, in which the former openly accused the latter of deliberate and orchestrated hacking activities to undermine the integrity of the just-concluded US presidential election, did not come as a surprise. As we witness traditional activities increasingly shifting to this new domain, cyberspace is becoming a focal point not only for beneficial innovations, enterprises and social networking, but also a site for criminality and warfare Lewis, 2011). These latter features are reshaping and redefining the digital space as an environment not only for progress and prosperity, but also for cyber threats. ...
... The wars that rage in the cyberspace domain are likely to be very difficult to contain, due to several fluid factors. The factors that interplay and create the vulnerability landscape, which could be exploited by any invader against a target, are inherently unpredictable, increasing in severity as advancements are made in the technology arena (Lewis, 2011). A characteristic of cyber warfare is the minimal risk, and relatively low-cost weapons, required by an attacker to inflict significant impact on a target (Applegate, 2011). ...
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This thematic report sets out the case for why studies in cyber security and cyber conflict need to be prominent in the African digital transformation research agenda.
... According to the classic Clauswitzian perception, war is "nothing but a continuation of political intercourse, with a mixture of other means," and "an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will." [13] The use of violence, or the threat of violence, requires the use of force, which in turn involves inflicting physical harm or exercising coercion [35]. International law addresses the concept of "act of war" in terms of a "threat or use of force," in accordance with the wording of the United Nations (UN) Charter [63]. ...
... • Even though the laws of war are unclear concerning cyberspace, attacks that are linked back to the initiating nation-state could be politically devastating. Escalation may also lead to retaliation through conventional means [35]. ...
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The growing importance of cyberspace to modern society, and its increasing use as an arena for dispute, is becoming a national security concern for governments and armed forces globally. The special characteristics of cyberspace, such as its asymmetric nature, the lack of attribution, the low cost of entry, the legal ambiguity, and its role as an efficient medium for protest, crime, espionage and military aggression, makes it an attractive domain for nation-states as well as non-state actors in cyber conflict. This paper studies the various non-state actors who coexist in cyberspace, examines their motives and incitements, and analyzes how and when their objectives coincide with those of nation-states. Literature suggests that many nations are currently pursuing cyberwarfare capabilities, oftentimes by leveraging criminal organizations and irregular forces. Employment of such non-state actors as hacktivists, patriot hackers, and cybermilitia in state-on-state cyberspace operations has also proved to be a usable model for conducting cyberattacks. The paper concludes that cyberspace is emerging as a new tool for state power that will likely reshape future warfare. However, due to the lack of concrete cyberwarfare experience, and the limited encounters of legitimate cyberattacks, it is hard to precisely assess future effects, risks and potentials.
... first, what is the threshold for considering a cyber-event an act of war or comparable to the use of force? Second (which will not be addressed in this article), what is the threshold between tactical and strategic applications of cyberattacks [2]? ...
... Traditionally, violence has been viewed as a necessary correlate of a cyberattack, placing cyberwar within the context of an armed conflict. The focus was the equivalence of the effects of a cyberattack to the effects of an armed attack using physical means [2]. This approach to cyberwar has been adapted by those who view cyberattacks in military campaigns as a motive to target an opponent's communications, intelligence, as well as other Internet or networkbased logistic operations [4]. ...
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Cyberwar is insidious, invisible to most, and is fought out of sight. It takes place in cyberspace, a location that cannot be seen, touched, nor felt. Cyberspace has been defined as the fifth domain of war. We can see the physical instruments, such as computers, routers, cables, however these instruments interact in a virtual and unseen realm. This facilitates a reach that can extend from one part of the world to attacks on public or private sector entities in another part of the world, while the perpetrator remains unknown in a legally provable sense. The term cyberwar has been used in a variety of different contexts. Since war itself is generally considered as a military enterprise, cyberwar has often been linked to a conceptual framework associated with traditional notions of warfare. In this work, we examine the challenges this definition presents in a 21st century cyber-connected and cyber-dependent world, and we propose an expanded conceptual framework for cyberwar.
... Other authors opt for a broader definition of cyberwar. Lewis (2011), for example, defines cyberwar as the use of cyber techniques to cause damage, destruction, or casualties for political effects by states or political groups. If a cyberwar is defined in such a way, understanding the role of cyberweapons requires asking the same questions as for any other weapons system: what are the range, destructiveness, cost, effect, and political implications of its use? ...
This book explores topical issues in military ethics by according peace a central role within an interdisciplinary framework. Whilst war and peace have traditionally been viewed through the lens of philosophical enquiry, political issues and theological ideas - as well as common sense - have also influenced people’s understanding of armed conflicts with regards to both the moral issues they raise and the policies and actions they require. Comprised of fourteen essays on the role and application of peace, the book places emphasis on it’s philosophical, moral, theological, technological, and practical implications. Starting with an overview of Kantian perspectives on peace, it moves to discussions of the Just War debates, religious conceptualizations of peace, and the role of peace in modern war technology and cyber-security. Finally concluding with discussions of the psychological and medical impacts of war and peace on both the individual and the larger society, this collection offers a contribution to the field and will be of interest to a wide audience. Chapters 4, 6 and 10 of this book are available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at
... This study is normative legal research, which examines the basic authority for the government to shut down negative content in cyberspace [5][6][7]. A broad range of malicious actions in cyberspace is routinely described as cyberwar. ...
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The Act Number 19 of 2016 concerning the amendment of The Act Number 11 of 2008 concerning Information and Electronic Transactions governing the authority of government in clearing hateful and Hostilities electronic information based on tribe, religion, race and intergroup. On the one hand, the government authority aims to protect the public interest and the integrity of the nation, but on the other hand, termination of access to information would restrict the right to freedom of opinion and the right to privacy of Internet users. This study was a normative legal research, which examined the basic authority for the government to shut down negative content in cyberspace. Legal materials were collected through library research. The analysis was conducted qualitatively. This study examined three issues, namely; spreading hatred and hostility in cyberspace, legality government to close the spreading hatred and hostility and electronic evidence in spreading hatred and hostility. Spreading hatred and hostility were criminal acts that used the Internet as facilities. Internet was used by extremists to disseminate his teachings, even being used to commit acts of terrorism (cyber terrorism). In maintaining the unity and integrity, then the government had the authority to shut down access to the unlawful electronic system. The closure should be accompanied by proof of electronic information that contains hatred and hostility based on tribe, religion, race and intergroup.
... Some of the answers to these questions largely depend on resolving the ambiguity surrounding the issue of acyberconflict threshold. 19 According to international law, the use of force triggers the right of self-defense. This makes the determination of a cyberattack threshold central to justify the use of force as a self-defense measure. ...
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Cyberinterventions such as attacks and exploitations could have a severe impact on people's everyday activities. In this context, we must understand the dimensions and scope of attacks in cyberspace and assess measures to enhance the security of cybersystems. A global scenario should be considered given that entities could involve individuals, organizations, and state-sponsored actors.
... Clausewitz understreket også krigens voldsaspekt og fysiske ødeleggelse. I sin definisjon av cyberkrig har Lewis (2011) i så måte lagt seg på en clausewitzisk linje. Han definerer cyberkrig som «bruk av cyberteknikker i den hensikt å forårsake skade, materiell ødeleggelse eller tap av menneskeliv for å oppnå politiske mål utført av stater eller politiske grupper». ...
This paper investigates the increasing use of cyber coercion by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) among its core interests: Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea. It argues that the PRC’s deployment of sophisticated attacks in the form of cyber coercion continues to be part of its geostrategic playbook to exert its influence and prosecute its wider interests as a rising power in the Indo-Pacific region. However, it observes that cyber coercion will be employed by the PRC in concert with all the other tools — diplomatic, economic, and the political — across the spectrum. The paper has two broad goals: first to unpack the trends or patterns in the PRC-sponsored cyber coercion by accentuating contextual and operational dimensions using Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea as analytical case studies; second, to highlight the opportunities and limitations of using cyber coercion as an asymmetrical capability in the changing threat landscape. The paper concludes that the PRC’s cyber coercion is characterized by blurring the distinction on what constitutes compellence and deterrence. The boundaries are not clear cut, and to a certain degree both are even mutually reinforcing. The in-depth analysis of the case studies reveals the growing prominence of disinformation campaigns in close coordination with cyber operations (malware, phishing, and DDoS attack). This emboldens the PRC with a myriad of coercive strategies in shaping its external environment and realizing its ambition of national rejuvenation across Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea.
In the debate on what constitutes acts of war in the cyber environment, some authors proposed to focus on the concept of cyberpeace. Christen and Bangerter question the attempts of defining cyberwar in terms of certain types of attacks. Instead, they suggest focusing on the transgressive nature of both digitalization and war, namely that they tend to infect all spheres of human life. In that sense, peace is a state where immoral acts have limited effects—and cyberpeace is a system property of cyberspace such that the effects of malicious activities can be contained. Cyberpeace thus consists in a sufficient level of cybersecurity in all domains of the digital society. Such a level requires limiting the complexity of information and communication technology (ICT) systems as well as counteracting (to some degree) the interoperability of devices and systems, in particular in likely targets of cyberattacks such as the critical infrastructure.
Writing about war, I often mistype the word “casualties,” leaving me to wonder what is casual or causal about the harm befalling combatants and noncombatants. Similarly, as a student of armed conl ict, I often wonder what is civil about civilians or civil war. Casual suggests the chance or accidental nature of wartime injuries and deaths. Causal, on the other hand, directs our attention away from chance and toward a discernible sequence of events that result in injury or death. Civil connotes a measure of respect for normative behavior and, therefore, responsibility on the part of all participants, including soldiers, civilians, and bystanders, for the goings on in wartime.
Public policy discourse about cyber security in the United States is dominated by a metaphor of war and analogies to the Cold War. This essay critically evaluates the contradictory tendency within U.S. cyber war discourse to see cyber conflict as simultaneously revolutionary and unprecedented, but also amenable to the tenets of Cold War nuclear deterrence. This contradiction points to an ongoing crisis of effectively identifying and understanding what is old and new, the same and different about cyber conflict. The first tendency overemphasizes the new/different aspects of cyber conflict while the second simultaneously overemphasizes the old/same aspects. This essay argues that current contradictory tendencies are unproductive and even potentially dangerous. It argues that the war metaphor and nuclear deterrence analogy are neither natural nor inevitable and that abandoning them would open up new possibilities for thinking more productively about the full spectrum of cyber security challenges, including the as-yet unrealized possibility of cyber war.
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Mouse Click Could Plunge City into Darkness, Experts Say CNN, 27 Sept
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