Means and methods of cyber warfare

From International cyber law: interactive toolkit
Revision as of 05:45, 7 August 2021 by Uncleistvan1BBB (talk | contribs) (created text without hyperlinks)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Means and methods of cyber warfare
[[International humanitarian law (IHL) regulates the conduct of hostilities through principles and rules concerning weapons, means, and methods of warfare. A bedrock principle of modern IHL is that the right of the parties to the conflict to choose methods and means of warfare is not unlimited. This principle reflects customary international law and is one of the most widely recognized and accepted principles in IHL. It binds all States and other parties in both international and non-international armed conflicts. Central to understanding and applying this principle and the rules that operationalize it are the terms weapons, means, and methods of warfare. As a threshold matter, it is crucial to recognize that, despite these terms’ foundational nature in IHL, divergent views and approaches exist concerning their definitions in treaties, State regulations, and unofficial publications.

Methods of warfare are tactics or strategies to weaken the enemy or gain an advantage during military operations, while means of warfare refer to the weapons or devices used in combat. For instance, the use of ruses in armed conflicts is a lawful and commonly accepted method of warfare. Ruses include using decoys or dummy materials, feigning activity or inactivity, and using camouflage, among many other tactics and techniques. Human shields, misuse of protected emblems , or perfidy are examples of methods of warfare that are prohibited. By contrast, means of warfare include weapons or devices such as machine guns, tanks, airplanes, submarines, missiles, drones, rifles, and many others. A weapon is “generally understood as that aspect of the system used to cause damage or destruction to objects or injury or death to persons,” and characterizes both weapons and weapon systems as means of warfare. Various rules of IHL operationalize the terms weapons, methods, and means. These include, but are not limited to, the weapons review requirement and process, the prohibition on unnecessary suffering, precautions in the attack, and the law of neutrality. Tallinn Manual 2.0 outlines a definitional framework for the terms means and methods of warfare in the cyber context. According to the Manual, “[c]yber means of warfare” includes both cyber weapons and related systems and includes cyber devices, material, instrument, mechanisms, equipment, or software used, designed, or intended to be used to conduct a cyber-attack. Cyber weapons are means of warfare used, designed, or intended to cause injury to, or death of, persons or damage to, or destruction of, objects. Finally, Tallinn Manual 2.0 states that “methods of cyber warfare are the cyber tactics, techniques, and procedures by which hostilities are conducted”. Hacking, phishing, distributed denial of service, and the use of so-called honeypots and watering holes are typical examples of methods of cyber warfare.


See also

Notes and references

Bibliography and further reading