The Ethics of Cyberwarfare

Journal of Military Ethics 9 (4):384-410 (2010)
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Abstract

The paper addresses several issues in the morality of cyberwar and cyberwarfare, defined as one nation's attacks on the governmental or civilian information systems of another nation. It sketches the diverse technical ways in which an attack may occur, including denial-of-service attacks and the insertion of various forms of malware. It argues that existing international law and widely discussed principles of Just War Theory do not straightforwardly apply to cyberwarfare, and many forms of cyberwarfare differ from previous forms of warfare in neither injuring nor killing human beings, nor causing lasting physical damage ? but can nevertheless cause serious harm to a nation's vital interests. Another dissimilarity with traditional warfare is in the degree of knowledge of the identity of an attacker (the ?attribution problem?). The paper argues that cyberwarfare is not amenable to regulation by international pacts and that we can expect long periods of low-level, multilateral cyberwarfare, a Cyber Cold War, as a game-theoretic equilibrium is sought,. The paper laments the lack of a cyberwarfare policy, and concludes that it is only by applying game-theoretic principles that strategies can be discovered that are both moral and effective in suppressing overall harm to all parties in the long run

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Author's Profile

Randall Dipert
PhD: Indiana University, Bloomington; Last affiliation: University at Buffalo

Citations of this work

The ethics of information warfare.Luciano Floridi & Mariarosaria Taddeo (eds.) - 2014 - Springer International Publishing.
Just Information Warfare.Mariarosaria Taddeo - 2016 - Topoi 35 (1):213-224.
Just War, Cyber War, and the Concept of Violence.Christopher J. Finlay - 2018 - Philosophy and Technology 31 (3):357-377.
Automated Influence and the Challenge of Cognitive Security.Sarah Rajtmajer & Daniel Susser - forthcoming - HoTSoS: ACM Symposium on Hot Topics in the Science of Security.

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