Cyber-attacks and "dirty hands": Cyberwar, cyber-crimes or covert political action?

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    Abstract

    Cyberwar is a new form of conflict. Contemporary nation-states and, for that matter, nonstate actors such as corporations, now suffer and inflict ongoing cyberattacks on a large scale. Whether these attacks constitute war rather than conflict short of war or mere breaches of security (criminal or otherwise) is not always entirely clear. This chapter distinguishes between cyberwar, cyberterrorism, cybercrime, cyberespionage, and what the chapter refers to as “covert political cyberaction”—a species of covert political action. The chapter argues
    that many, if not most, cyberattacks perpetrated by nation-states on other nation-states for political reasons are best understood neither as acts of war nor as crimes but rather as a new form of covert political action—that of covert political cyberaction. The chapter argues that
    much covert political cyberaction is best understood as a species of dirty hands action; harmful and unlawful action undertaken to achieve an (alleged) greater good.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBinary bullets
    Subtitle of host publicationThe ethics of cyberwarfare
    EditorsFritz Allhoff, Adam Henschke, Bradley Jay Strawser
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Chapter12
    Pages228-250
    Number of pages23
    Edition1st
    ISBN (Print)9780190221089
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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  • Cite this

    Miller, S. (2016). Cyber-attacks and "dirty hands": Cyberwar, cyber-crimes or covert political action? In F. Allhoff, A. Henschke, & B. J. Strawser (Eds.), Binary bullets: The ethics of cyberwarfare (1st ed., pp. 228-250). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190221072.003.0012