Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

The status and use of computer network attacks in international humanitarian law.

Dinniss, Heather Harrison (2008) The status and use of computer network attacks in international humanitarian law. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Download (11MB) | Preview


The information revolution has transformed both modern societies and the way in which they conduct warfare. This thesis analyses the status of computer network attacks in international law and examines their treatment under the laws of armed conflict. A computer network attack is any operation designed to disrupt, deny, degrade or destroy information resident in computers and computer networks, or the computers and networks themselves. The first part of the thesis deals with a States right to resort to force and uses the U.N. Charter system to analyse whether and at what point a computer network attack will amount to a use of force or an armed attack, and examines the permitted responses against such an attack. The second part of the thesis addresses the applicability of international humanitarian law to computer network attacks by determining under what circumstances these attacks will constitute an armed conflict. It concludes that the jus in bello will apply where the perceived intention of the attacking party is to cause deliberate harm and the foreseeable consequence of the acts includes injury, death damage or destruction. In examining the regulation of these attacks under the Jus in bello the author addresses the legal issues associated with this method of attack in terms of the current law and examines the underlying debates which are shaping the modern laws applicable in armed conflict. Participants in conflicts are examined as increased civilianisation of the armed forces is moving in lock-step with advances in technology. Computer network attacks also present new issues for the law relating to targeting and precautions in attack which are addressed; objects subject to special protections, and their digital counterparts are also examined. Finally the thesis addresses computer network attacks against the laws relating to means and methods of warfare, including the law of weaponry, perfidy and the particular issues relating to digital property.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Law, Political Science, International Law and Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Law

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics