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North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation

Categories: Cyberwarfare

Cyber Attacks and the Beginnings of an International Cyber Treaty

Stephen Moore

Volume 39 - Issue 1, Fall 2013, Page 223

Full Article Text PDF PDF

Cite as: Stephen Moore,  Cyber Attacks and the Beginnings of an International Cyber Treaty, 39 N.C. J. Int'l L. & Com. Reg. 223 (2013)

Categories: Cyberwarfare


Blog Posts

Symposium Review: Is There a Need for International Cyber Warfare Treaties?

During North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation’s 2014 symposium, various panelists offered their views on the growing area of cyber warfare. Cyber warfare is a relatively new development that is creating ethical and legal ambiguity under current international law. Modern international law recognizes the idea of jus ad bellum, literally translated to mean “right to war”. This theory determines situations when it is lawful to resort to war. The United States, and now most countries, claim . . .


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No Comments | Posted by Mark A. Kochuk on Thu. February 13, 2014 8:00 AM
Categories: Customary International Law, Cyberwarfare, Symposium

Symposium Review: Moving the Law of Armed Conflict from Crossbows to Cyber Attacks

Professor Eric Talbot Jensen gave a lecture titled: “The Future of the Law of Armed Conflict” at The North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation Symposium on Friday, January 31, 2014. Professor Jensen interspersed his entertaining and thought-provoking lecture with video clips of futuristic weaponry to drive home the point that our technology is developing at such a rapid pace that seemingly futuristic weapons are already within our grasp. As a result, if our laws do not develop to address the possibilities of new weapons that take forms and create harm in unconventional ways, we will be ill-equipped legally to face the threats and consequences of these new weapons.


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No Comments | Posted by Vineeth Shanker Hemavathi on Tue. February 11, 2014 8:00 AM
Categories: Customary International Law, Cyberwarfare, Symposium

Symposium Review: Sovereign Assumptions

The North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation (ILJ) at the University of North Carolina School of Law held their annual symposium this past week, focusing on “Emerging Issues in the Law of Armed Conflict and International Security.” The symposium allowed ILJ to draw from the state’s strong military ties and the state’s wide network of national security legal professionals.

Scholars from across the nation also contributed to the agenda for ILJ’s symposium. Professor Eric Talbot Jensen began the morning with his presentation entitled “The Future of the Law of Armed Conflict.” Jensen, of Brigham Young University School of Law and of Tallinn Manual notoriety, gave an early disclaimer regarding the difficulty of predicting the future, much less predicting the law that the future needs. Jensen continued to lay out a framework for how to best predict the laws needed for the future of armed conflict. Among Jensen’s thoughtful predictions were several assumptions, which Jensen himself readily acknowledged and welcomed feedback concerning his assumptions’ veracity.


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No Comments | Posted by William L. Thore (Logan) on Tue. February 11, 2014 8:00 AM
Categories: Customary International Law, Cyberwarfare, Symposium

Sneak Preview: Cyber Attacks and the Beginnings of a Cyber Treaty

The helicopters hummed along the broken Pakistani terrain, their mission accomplished. Osama Bin Laden was dead and the entire SEAL Team Six crew was safe. In three and a half hours the team had entered Pakistani airspace, assaulted the compound in Abbottabad, and returned to Afghanistan, all before the Pakistani government was ever aware of the incursion. The Pakistani air defense never detected the helicopters in its airspace. Some speculated it was this inability to detect U.S. forces that most damaged U.S.-Pakistani relations, more than the actual invasion of Pakistani territory. “Never had the [Pakistani] military, the strongest institution in the country, been so humiliated since it lost three wars to India.” Programmers and hackers stationed at U.S. Cyber Command in Ft. Meade, Maryland, could have contributed to the undetected incursion, using cyber technologies to infiltrate and turn off Pakistan’s air defense system simultaneous to the U.S.’s physical assault.

It would not be the first such cyber attack. In 2007, Israeli bombers flew undetected into Syria, blowing up what was later determined to be a partially completed, North Korean-built nuclear enrichment facility. The bombers flew undetected not due to some new radar-absorbing technology, but because Israel used a complex cyber attack to mask its entry. Israeli programmers manipulated Syria’s air defense so that it would fail to report anything on the radar.


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No Comments | Posted by Stephen A. Moore on Wed. October 30, 2013 8:00 AM
Categories: Anonymous, Customary International Law, Cyberwarfare, Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan

An Unconventional Approach: Syria and Cyber Attacks

While the debate on the U.S. approach to Syria’s chemical weapons dominated the headlines, one headline that quickly disappeared concerned a Syrian-based cyber attack against the New York Times. The Syrian Electronic Army (S.E.A.), “a group of hackers who support President Bashar al-Assad of Syria,” laid claim to intentionally bringing down the New York Times website for most of the day on August 27. The offensive included “an online attack on the company’s domain registrar” and “also forced employees of The Times to take care in sending emails.” Notably, the S.E.A. claims no ties to the Syrian government, though President al-Assad reportedly referred to the group as “a real army in a virtual reality.”

The S.E.A. previously attempted similar attacks against websites of other notable news sources, including the Washington Post, CNN, and the Financial Times. Perhaps most notably, the S.E.A. hacked the Twitter account for the Associated Press last April, posting a fake tweet which read, “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” While the tweet was soon revealed to be false, the attack resulted in a 145-point dip in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.


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No Comments | Posted by Stephen A. Moore on Tue. October 8, 2013 8:00 AM
Categories: Cyberwarfare, Syria, U.N. Security Council

Moving Towards International Norms in Cyberwarfare

In an October 12, 2012, meeting with Time magazine, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned of the immediate threat sophisticated malware posed to the United States. Secretary Panetta lamented that such malware, now being developed by numerous countries, has “the kind of capability that can basically take down a power grid, take down a water system, take down a transportation system, take down a financial system.” The most recent illustration of the power of state-sponsored cyberattacks came on August 15, 2012, when Saudi Armco, the world’s largest oil company, was the victim of an attack, which researchers believe was launched by Iranian hackers in retaliation for recent attacks by the United States and Israel. The attack erased the contents of three-fourths of the company’s hard drives, leaving in their place an image of a burning American flag. Advancements in cyberwarfare present the opportunity to accomplish foreign policy and military goals without the human, economic, or political cost inherent in traditional warfare. However, it is evident that the rise of state-sponsored cyberattacks implicates strategic, ethical, and legal issues of the highest order.


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No Comments | Posted by Brett M. Neve on Sun. March 24, 2013 11:06 PM
Categories: Cyberwarfare
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