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  • Titill er á ensku Computer Network Attacks and the Contemporary Jus ad Bellum
  • Meistara
  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    In the late 1990s a few international law scholars started to consider the emerging possibility of cyber-warfare, and how international law would deal with such a threat. Ideally, the international community would have already reached a consensus on how to answer the questions that are presented and contemplated in this thesis. However, Computer Network Attacks took a backseat for much of the first decade of the 21st century while international terrorism was the most popular topic of discussion in the international law governing the use of force, commonly known by its Latin name the jus ad bellum.
    Since 1945, the Charter of the United Nations has governed the jus ad bellum. Through the practice of states, international courts and other bodies, the prohibition of the use of force and other related rules have evolved and adapted to new issues. The emergence of Computer Network Attacks as a new threat to international peace and security is one of those issues that scholars in the 21st century have made an effort to fit within the UN-Charter system.
    This thesis begins by exploring and assessing the state of the contemporary jus ad bellum, in order to understand the terminology of the UN Charter and the respective scopes of its various articles, most notably Articles 2(4) and 51, as they are today. This provides a basis for understanding the various issues that faced the international lawyers and military scholars who first attempted to apply the jus ad bellum to Computer Network Attacks.
    A comparison of the various paradigms that scholars have used to apply the UN Charter to Computer Network Attacks ensues.
    To illustrate the contemporary relevance of this thesis, real-life examples are be given of large-scale Computer Network Attacks that have taken place in recent years. The first two attacks examined in this thesis coincided with heightened tensions between the respective victim states and Russia whereas the third attack was allegedly the brainchild of a joint operation between the United States and Israel, aimed at a nuclear facility in Iran. However, as this thesis shows, attribution of an attack is more difficult in the cyber-realm than when a physical attack occurs.
    Recent developments relating to Computer Network Attacks in international law will are examined in the final chapters. NATO has recently developed and adopted a new policy regarding cyber-defense and established the Cyber Cooperative Defense Center of Excellence, which is based in Tallinn, Estonia. An attempt will be made to compare the policies and capabilities of the United States, China and Russia, the three biggest players on the cyber-scene. After that the questions of whether the drafting of an international treaty on Computer Network Attacks is necessary, and whether it is likely, are raised.

  • 8.9.2014

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