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[ISN] NATO Researchers: Stuxnet Attack on Iran Was Illegal 'Act of Force'
By Kim Zetter
A cyberattack that sabotaged Iranâs uranium enrichment program was an âact of
forceâ and was likely illegal, according to research commissioned by NATOâs
âActs that kill or injure persons or destroy or damage objects are
unambiguously uses of forceâ and likely violate international law, according to
the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, a
study produced by international legal experts at the request of NATOâs
Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Estonia.
Acts of force are prohibited under the United Nations charter, except when done
in self-defense, Michael Schmitt, professor of international law at the U.S.
Naval War College in Rhode Island and lead author of the study, told the
The 20 experts who produced the study were unanimous that Stuxnet was an act of
force, but were less clear about whether the cyber sabotage against Iranâs
nuclear program constituted an âarmed attack,â which would entitle Iran to use
counterforce in self-defense. An armed attack constitutes a start of
international hostilities under which the Geneva Conventionâs laws of war would
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