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Cybermilitias and Political Hackers: Use of Irregular Forces in Cyberwarfare
September/October 2011 (vol. 9 no. 5)
pp. 16-22
Recent cyberattacks, such as those carried out against Estonia and Georgia, have grayed the line between political hackers and legitimate combatants involved in cyberconflicts. There has been fierce debate as to whether these attacks are the independent acts of politically motivated individuals and groups or the strategic acts of states using covert methods to direct such actions to achieve larger political objectives. These attacks lead to many important questions but have yet to be answered in the international community. Under international agreements, can a computer attack truly be claimed as an armed attack? Are participants in these cyberattacks legitimate combatants, or are they merely politically motivated individuals who are breaking the law and should thus be treated as criminals under existing international agreements? This article explores these issues, the possible benefits and drawbacks of such actions, and the ramifications such cybermilitias might have on the current and future state of cyberconflicts.

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Index Terms:
Cyberwarfare, cybermilitias, hacktivists, political hackers, cyberlaw
Scott D. Applegate, "Cybermilitias and Political Hackers: Use of Irregular Forces in Cyberwarfare," IEEE Security & Privacy, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 16-22, Sept.-Oct. 2011, doi:10.1109/MSP.2011.46
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