Journal of Military Ethics 12 (1):68-79 (2013)

Ryan Jenkins
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Cyberweapons are software and software, at least intuitively, is nonphysical. Several authors have noted that this potentially renders problematic the application of normative frameworks like UN Charter Article 2(4) to cyberweapons. If Article 2(4) only proscribes the use of physical force, and if cyberweapons are nonphysical, then cyberweapons fall outside the purview of Article 2(4). This article explores the physicality of software, examining Stuxnet in particular. First, I show that with a few relatively uncontroversial metaphysical claims we can secure the conclusion that Stuxnet is physical. In particular, there exist instances of Stuxnet that are both located in space and causally efficacious, and this is very strong evidence for their being physical. Second, I argue that the question of physicality is actually irrelevant for the moral evaluation of an attack like Stuxnet because of its undeniably physical effects. Finally, I argue that some features of Stuxnet should make us optimistic about the prospects for discrimination and proportionality in cyberwarfare.
Keywords stuxnet  cyberwar  cyber  ad bellum  just war  military ethics
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DOI 10.1080/15027570.2013.782640
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References found in this work BETA

The Morality of War.Brian Orend - 2006 - Broadview Press.
The Ethics of Cyberwarfare.Randall R. Dipert - 2010 - Journal of Military Ethics 9 (4):384-410.

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Citations of this work BETA

Justifying Cyber-Intelligence?Ross W. Bellaby - 2016 - Journal of Military Ethics 15 (4):299-319.
Twenty Years of Cyberwar.John Arquilla - 2013 - Journal of Military Ethics 12 (1):80-87.

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