Do We Need Cyber Warfare Treaties? Study Looks at Legacy of Stuxnet

Over the last few years, Iran, China and the United States have all deployed weapons capable of damaging physical infrastructure, all without a single explosion.

Unlike conventional weapons, these cyberweapons aren’t restricted by international treaties — partly because governments know so little about their neighbors’ electronic arsenals.

“With nuclear weapons, we at least had some idea from satellites about how many weapons the Soviet Union had and what they were capable of,” Robert Axelrod, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, told NBC News. “Cyberweapons are different. They can be stockpiled with other countries knowing it, causing them to be more frightened than they need to be, or not frightened enough.”

A new study from Axelrod and fellow University of Michigan researcher Rumen Iliev tries to shed some light on why governments choose to launch cyberattacks, the timing behind them, and what kind be done to prevent them from getting out of hand.

Iran reportedly launched a cyberattack against Saudi Arabia oil firm Aramco in 2012. China has been accused of doing the same against the U.S. government computer systems.

But the most famous attack almost certainly originated in the United States. In 2010, Stuxnet made headlines.

It seemed like the perfect computer worm. For 17 months, it sped up the centrifuges at Iran’s nuclear enrichment center in Natanz while undetected, damaging but not destroying them. Then, quietly, it self-destructed.

via Do we need cyber warfare treaties? Study looks at legacy of Stuxnet – NBC News.com.

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Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare | www.jlcw.org The Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare provides a public peer-reviewed law publication to foster open discussion and education of technology, government and legal stakeholder in relation to the complex issue of cyber warfare.  Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare accepts articles written by military, technology, judges, government officials, academic and legal practitioners.  The Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare provides a public peer-reviewed law publication to foster open discussion and education of technology, government and legal stakeholder in relation to the complex issue of cyber warfare.  Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare accepts articles written by military, technology, judges, government officials, academic and legal practitioners. The Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare is honored by the world class caliber editorial board that is involved with the Journal. Thought leaders from forensics, law, warfare, and cyber security are on the Board. The Journal is always looking for interested thought leaders who believe they can contribute in a meaningful fashion to the development of cyber warfare scholarship.