US: Cyber Attacks Warrant Military Retaliation, Unless We Launch Them

Via Micah Zenko, the Washington Post last week reminded us of official US policy regarding cyber-warfare:

Cyberattacks can amount to armed attacks triggering the right of self-defense and are subject to international laws of war, the State Department’s top lawyer said Tuesday.

Spelling out the U.S. government’s position on the rules governing cyberwarfare, Harold Koh, the department’s legal adviser, said a cyber-operation that results in death, injury or significant destruction would probably be seen as a use of force in violation of international law.

Unless, of course, America is the one who is waging the cyber-warfare. Followed logically, the State Department’s legal view here would mean that when the US attempted to destroy Iran’s centrifuges with a cyber attack in the form of a virus called Stuxnet, Iran would have been within its legal rights to bomb the United States. But US legal views are not absolute; they depend on who wields power.

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  • Al_Dove

    Sorta like drone attacks.

  • MoT

    Hypocrisy. Always for me and not for thee sayeth Uncle.

  • The White House recently released information about a cyber attack on the White House servers. Could this launch us into war?

  • U Mad

    Stuxnet was never confirmed. It's also a very vague policy on purpose. So if, someone were to start crashing planes or blowing up refineries, we'd have a course of action. You just sound menstrual.

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