The first thing to know about international law is that it bears only a passing resemblance to the kind of law with which most people are familiar. Domestic laws in most countries are passed by some sort of sovereign body (like Congress) after due consideration. Statutes are carefully crafted so the law has a precise effect. International law is nothing like that. Con-trary to popular belief, treaties are not the primary means of establishing international law. The body of international law is a jumble of historic practice and tradition as well as signed agreements between nations.
Defining and understanding what constitutes a cyber-attack is a complicated matter, largely due to the fact that there has not yet been a large-scale cyber-attack upon any nation. With the help of Michael Schmitt’s Tallinn Manual, published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press, it is possible to gain an understanding, although no policy expectations, of what elements need to be met for a cyber-attack to warrant a NATO response. This study analyzes and explores the unique position that NATO operates in and the duty of NATO to protect its alliance members, and member states to protect each other. Topics discussed include how cyber-attacks are defined and identified, the particular challenges of NATO when addressing cyber-attacks, the severity of cyber-attacks, and what would need to occur in order for a victim-state to ask NATO to invoke Article 5. This thesis discusses the readiness of NATO to respond to a cyber-attack and what the conditions necessary for an Article 5 response, and what that response would potentially look like. Finally, this work provides recommendations for actions that NATO could take to both prevent and confront cyber attacks.
Over the last several years, the Committee has listened with increasing alarm to the testimony of senior intelligence officials and private sector experts about the growing cybersecurity threats to our nation. The Committee has already seen the impact these threats are having on the nation's security and its economy as losses to consumers, businesses, and the government from cyber attacks, penetrations, and disruptions already total billions of dollars. Beyond direct monetary losses, the continuing efforts of foreign actors to steal intellectual property will have far reaching impacts on the innovation upon which a robust economy and strong military relies. The Committee has seen widespread theft through cyberspace increasingly evolve into disruptive and destructive attacks. Our nation is growing more vulnerable to cyber threats. Every aspect of society is growing more dependent on computers which are all linked to networks, opening this country up to many known vulnerabilities and many yet to be discovered.
Most books on cybercrime are written by national security or political experts, and rarely propose an integrated and comprehensive approach to cybercrime, cyber-terrorism, cyber-war and cyber-security. This work develops approaches to crucial cyber-security issues that are non-political, non-partisan, and non-governmental. It informs readers through high-level summaries and the presentation of a consistent approach to several cyber-risk related domains, both from a civilian and a military perspective. Explaining fundamental principles in an interdisciplinary manner, it sheds light on the societal, economic, political, military, and technical issues related to the use and misuse of information and communication technologies.