As Salon noted last week, a group of legal experts supported by NATO released a manual in an effort to codify how international law applies to state-sponsored hacking. According to the handbook -- the Tallinn Manual -- the Stuxnet cyberattack believed to have been launched by Israel and the U.S. against Iran constitutes an "act of force," Wired noted Monday.
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 Iran’s nuclear program constituted an “armed attack,” which would entitle Iran to use counterforce in self-defense. An armed attack constitutes a start of international hostilities under which the Geneva Convention’s laws of war would apply.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.