Review About Cyber War
The analysis of cyber-warfare – along with online privacy issues and artificial intelligence, to name but two other examples – is a domain of cyber ethics. It is, generally speaking, the Internet-based sabotaging of a nation’s computer networks. Use of the term “cyberwar” is controversial, since some researchers argue that the analogy of war inappropriately\ evokes a militaristic response.
Cyberwar C 225 Understood as such, cyber-warfare prompts Just War theory as a frame in which to discuss particular acts that fall under its definition. However, while there appear to be some parallels with kinetic warfare, a number of difficulties arise in the application of JustWar theory to cyber-warfare. Although not impossible to overcome, the technological difficulties of attribution, given current technology, remain daunting (Moran). For instance, a problem confronts application of the principle of discrimination to cyber attacks. Since, for instance, electrical systems are vulnerable to cyber attack, and since such attacks vary widely in their degree of discrimination, what standards must be set on types of attack, in order to maintain adherence to the principle of discrimination? What does the principle of proportionality recommend, in terms of the limits on cyber attacks? Since a nation’s electrical grid (or portions of it) is susceptible to cyber attack, and a number of medical and safety functions upon which a vast number depend for their health and life are thereby vulnerable, the number of lives potentially lost in a cyber attack could be great. So, damage from a cyber attack may have the potential to cause damage on a scale usually caused only through kinetic warfare. This prompts another question: what degree of damage done to a nation’s networks might justify a kinetic response?
Cyber attacks have been deployed both offensively – as in the 2007 Russian attack against Estonia (Landler and Markoff) – and preventively, as in the not yet officially attributed (the current international consensus is Israel, see Broad, Markoff, and Sanger) 2010 Stuxnet worm’s disabling of production capacity at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility (Markoff). Could a government or other institution permissibly hack into a tyrannical nation’s banks to balloon the accounts of peaceful democratic activists?