On November 14, 2014, Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked, locking employees out of their computers, compromising important internal data, and leaking unreleased movies onto the internet. In response to the attack, President Obama said the U.S. would "respond proportionately." The President’s authority to respond proportionately to the Sony attacks is based in principles of international law.
Read More... (Cyberwar and Sony)
Posted by Andrew D. Johnstone on Wed. January 21, 2015 11:16 AM
Categories: Cyberwarfare, International Law, North Korea
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
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.
Read More... (Symposium Review: Sovereign Assumptions)
| Posted by William L. Thore (Logan) on Tue. February 11, 2014 8:00 AM
Categories: Customary International Law, Cyberwarfare, Symposium
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.
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
that it would fail to report anything on the radar.
Read More... (Sneak Preview: Cyber Attacks and the Beginnings of a Cyber Treaty)
| Posted by Stephen A. Moore on Wed. October 30, 2013 8:00 AM
Categories: Anonymous, Customary International Law, Cyberwarfare, Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan
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.
Read More... (An Unconventional Approach: Syria and Cyber Attacks)
| Posted by Stephen A. Moore on Tue. October 8, 2013 8:00 AM
Categories: Cyberwarfare, Syria, U.N. Security Council
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.
Read More... (Moving Towards International Norms in Cyberwarfare)
| Posted by Brett M. Neve on Sun. March 24, 2013 11:06 PM