Should we consider cyber attacks acts of war?

Posted on 2011-02-18 07:06

The number of "confirmed assaults" on government computer systems are on the increase, and its becoming more and more likely that some of the more serious threats to US and allied interests are originating in China. An attack on computers in the Canadian treasury (described at length in a NY Times article here and here is only the latest is a series of potential breaches). According to un-named "experts" (I hope it wasn't HBGary), this attack seems to have originated in China suggesting that the attacks are being coordinated by the Chinese government. After all, what possible interest would your average bored teenage hacker have in the Canadian Federal budget? Since internet law is still in its infancy, here's a question to debate: if the origin of these sorts of cyber attacks can be confirmed do they constitute an act of war? Its very likely that the US has its own team of coordinated cyber warriors working in a similar way against foreign interests, so be careful how you answer!