April 06, 2012

Development of international norms in cyber warfare – a small country's perspective

digital attack
digital attack (Photo credit: Will Lion)
Author : Adriana Dvorsak
Brief synopsis of the proposed paper
National cyber defense strategies evolve in legally weakly defined environment and settle important goals for protection of critical infrastructure.  Jus ad bellum and jus in bello are two areas of international law which are particularly important for the development of international norm in cyber warfare.
Cyber warfare is bringing forward new actors, which are not subject to international law. Thinking in terms of cold war or nuclear deterrence proves inefficient to formulate a theoretical framework to deal with cyber threats because new actors will perform the role of civilian combatants in cyberwarfare. Regional powers and states that strive for bigger role in global governance are involved in many cyber events. The author found out that small states with no offensive foreign policy goals did not resort to offensive cyber warfare even if it would offer new options for achieving foreign policy goals.  
Two types of asymmetry significantly affect strategic relations in cyberspace: one is the asymmetry of information and another one is the asymmetry of values. Besides the two, institutional structures of the new actors and the public response to cyber attacks reflect the asymmetric nature of cyber conflicts as well. Vulnerabilities became the liabilities which must be taken care of regardless of the development of international norms governing cyber defense and cyber security.
Only few of the internet threats become cyber defense threats spreading through social media. State actors will have to enhance the capability of digital engagement with non-state actors to detect the intention of certain groups to carry out hacking attacks. At the same time they will have to obey the basic principles of rule of law and criminal justice.
About the author:

Adriana Dvoršak, associate of Institute NOVUM, has been enrolled in a postgraduate research programme at Tokyo Institute of Technology from 1997-1999. She was awarded the Degree of Master of Arts by College of Europe, Brugge, Belgium in European Studies and she graduated from International relations, Faculty for Social Sciences, Ljubljana
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