Eric Talbot Jensen, 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘈𝘵𝘵𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘊𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘕𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘐𝘯𝘧𝘳𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦: 𝘈 𝘜𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘍𝘰𝘳𝘤𝘦 𝘐𝘯𝘷𝘰𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘚𝘦𝘭𝘧-𝘋𝘦𝘧𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘦, 38 Sᴛᴀɴ. J. Iɴᴛ'ʟ L. 207 (2002).
Computer networks create tremendously increased capabilities but also represent equally increased vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilites are especially acute in relation to potential attacks on critical national infrasturucture. This Article proposes that international law must evolve to recognize that attacks against a nation's critical national infrastructure from any source constitute a use of force. Such attacks, therefore, give the victim state the right to proportional self-defense - including anticipatory self-defense - even if the computer network attack is not an armed attack under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. Due to the instantaneous nature of computer network attacks, the right to respond must accrue immediately, despite the traditional obstacles of attribution (determining the attacker's identity), characterization (determining the attacker's intent), and the inviolability of neutrals.
38 Stan. J. Int'l L.
Stanford Journal of International Law