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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Killing hackers is justified in cyber warfare, says NATO-commissioned report


A landmark document created at the request of NATO has proposed a set of rules for how international cyberwarfare should be conducted. Written by 20 experts in conjunction with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the US Cyber Command, theTallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare analyzes the rules of conventional war and applies them to state-sponsored cyberattacks.
Unsurprisingly, the manual advises that attacks must avoid targets such as hospitals, dams, and nuclear power stations in order to minimize civilian casualties, but also makes some bold statements regarding retaliatory conduct. According to the manual's authors, it's acceptable to retaliate against cyberattacks with traditional weapons when a state can prove the attack lead to death or severe property damage. It also says that hackers who perpetrate attacks are legitimate targets for a counterstrike.
"THERE'S PLENTY OF LAW THAT APPLIES TO CYBERSPACE."
Project leader Professor Michael Schmitt, the Chairman of the International Law Department at the United States Naval War College, tells The Guardian that countries "can only use force when you reach the level of armed conflict," explaining that in most cases the appropriate response to a cyberattack would be digital retaliation. "Everyone talks about cyberspace as though it's the wild west," says Schmitt, "we discovered that there's plenty of law that applies to cyberspace."According to Reuters, Shanghai Jiao Tong University is the latest “collaborator” with the PLA [People's Liberation Army] to engage in “cyber espionage.” The reason was that
“Reuters found at least three papers on cyber-warfare on a document-sharing website that were co-authored by university faculty members and PLA researchers, ” whereas in most developed nations, “university professors in recent decades have been reluctant to cooperate with operational intelligence gathering units.”
Washington has set up military units to launch cyber warfare, with 13 offensive cyber warfare units. This is way more serious than the “suspected” deal that involves the PLA. Nevertheless, China receives more accusations from Western media of “government- backed cyber attacks.”
China has been the focus of finger-pointing by Western media, and the Chinese government has been behaving in a cautious way. It’s beyond imagination and China’s political reality that the Chinese authorities, under close watch by the West, are vigorously waging a cyber war against the US.
In terms of Internet security, Western public opinion incorrectly thinks that China – which has never been at the forefront of Internet technological development and suffers from much more serious cyber attacks than the US – is the one which should receive supervision. This mirrors the hegemonic situation enjoyed by Western interests.
A widely recognized code of conduct in cyberspace hasn’t been established. And yet there are no clear definitions of cyber espionage and cyber warfare. Washington still has the final say in this regard, and other Western countries simply echo the US. The US, while publicly forming cyber war units, pretends to be the defender of cyber justice.
It’s hard to change Western dominance in terms of international public opinion. But Chinese should remain cool-headed.
It’s a pity that some Chinese netizens follow Western media and criticize so-called unethical cyber conduct by the Chinese government. There are also idealists who believe “global interests” should top “national interests.” Today most globalists are in developing countries, because their proposals have long been marginalized in the developed world, especially in the US. Mainstream public opinion in the West always cries out to prioritize their national interests.
Western countries have teamed up on the Internet security issue, which reflects their deeply rooted attitudes toward China. Beijing has little hope of changing this.
A cyber war may erupt one day, but it’s possible that there won’t be any public announcement beforehand, and such cyber warfare may be waged every day. It’s hard to tell how cyber wars will undermine the existing world order and whether they will turn into military clashes between countries.
The Chinese public needs to stay calm and united.
We must have the capacity to safeguard national security on the Internet, and launch counterattacks to punish cyber invaders who dare to launch cyber wars against us.
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