460 Boris Kondoch
Cyberspace has become a national security concern since the last twenty years.
While some commentators view the current debate on cyber war as exaggerated
and as hype,
others including US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are warning
that a cyber version of 9-11 or Pearl Harbour could take place in the near future.
Many States including China, Russia and the United States consider ‘cyberspace’
as a future battleground. They have responded to the threat from cyberspace by
formulating cyber strategies and incorporating cyber units into their armed forces.
Although cyber war has not yet occurred, there have been frequent reports about
so-called cyber attacks.
Cyber attacks may be defined as any harmful activity in
cyberspace including inter alia those operations with “the aim to degrade, disrupt,
deny or destroy information resident in computers, or to compromise the computers
Typical examples of cyber attacks are distributed denial of service
attacks, planting inaccurate information, and infiltration of secure computer
networks. Many cyber attacks are still carried out by private individuals (hackers,
organized criminal networks, industrial spies) rather than government-sponsored
International lawyers started to show an interest in the legal regulation of cyber
warfare during the late 1990s.
The academic debate continued after September 11
because of the potential threat of computer network attacks conducted by terrorist
3 For details, see D. ReveRon, CybeRspaCe and national seCuRity, thReats, oppoRtunities, and poweR in a viRtual
4 See, e.g., T. Rid, Cyber War Will Not Take Place, 35 J. stRategiC stud. 5-32 (2011); T. Rid, Think Again: Cyber War.
Don’t Fear the Digital Bogeyman. Virtual Conflict Is Still More Hype than Reality, FoReign pol’y, Feb. 27, 2012,
available at http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/27/cyberwar (last visited on Aug. 20, 2013); B. Valeriano &
R. Maness, The Fog of Cyberwar. Why the Threat Doesn’t Live up to the Hype, FoReign aFF. Nov. 21, 2012, available at
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/138443/brandon-valeriano-and-ryan-maness/the-fog-of-cyberwar (last visited on
Aug. 20, 2013).
5 E. Bumiller & T. Shanker, Panetta Warns of Dire Threat of Cyberattack on U.S., N.Y. Times, Oct. 11, 2012, available at
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/world/panetta-warns-of-dire-threat-of-cyberattack.html?_r=0 (last visited on Nov.
5, 2013); J. Healey, Preparing for Cyber 9/12, Atlatic Council, available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/
issue-briefs/preparing-for-cyber-9-12 (last visited on Nov. 5, 2013).
6 For details, see H. Dinniss, CybeR waRFaRe and the laws oF waR 281-292 (2012).
7 M. Roscini, World Wide Warfare – Jus ad bellum and the Use of Cyber Force, 14 max planCk u.n.y.b. 91-96 (2010).
For further discussion of the terms cyber warfare, cyber crimes and cyber attack, see O. Hathaway et al., The Law of
Cyber Attack, 100 CaliF. L. Rev. 817-886 (2012).
8 See, e.g., M. Schmitt, Computer Network Attack and the Use of Force in International Law: Thoughts on a Normative
Framework, 37 Colum. J. tRansnat’l l. 885-938 (1999); W. shaRp sR., CybeR spaCe and the use oF FoRCe (1999).