Scenario 15: Cyber deception in time of armed conflict

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"Cyber attacks", photo by Christiaan Colen.

[Executive summary]



International armed conflict, international humanitarian law, perfidy, protective indicators, ruses of war


[F1] During an international armed conflict between the armed forces of State A and State B, State A's armed forces prepare for an attack on States B's armed forces. Immediately prior to the attack, State A engages in several cyber operations:

  1. Dear John E-mail: State A sends an email to the commander of State Bs armed forces which appears to be a break up e-mail from the commanders spouse. The obvious intent of the email is to distract the State B commander and cause him emotional distress at a critical time. (RUSE)
  2. Blue Force Tracker: State A hacks into the force tracking system of State B. In doing so, it now appears that some of State B's forces are State A. As such, State B forces start fighting among themselves resulting in significant casualties among the state B forces. (PERFIDY)
  3. Spoofed Case Fire Message: State A hacks into the command and control network of State B. In doing so, it sends a message purportedly from State B's President proclaiming a case-fire. State B's forces stand-down. State A aggressively attacks and destroys State B armed forces. (PERFIDY - functional equivalent of white flag)
  4. Impersonating ICRC: sending e-mails/abusing apps to get civilians to block crucial road used by military (distribution of food/water obstructing the road for military movement prior enemy offensive) (PERFIDY, use of protective indicators, cf. Rule 124 of TM 2.0)


  • [TBC]

Legal analysis

For a general overview of the structure of analysis in this section, see Note on the structure of articles.

[L1] [TEXT]


  • [TBC]


See also

Notes and references

Bibliography and further reading


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