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The ethics of cyber attack: Pursuing legitimate security and the common good in contemporary conflict scenarios

Lonsdale, David; Lonsdale, David

Authors

Dr David Lonsdale D.Lonsdale@hull.ac.uk
Lecturer/ Programme Director, BA War and Security Studies/ Programme Director, MA Strategy and International Security

Dr David Lonsdale D.Lonsdale@hull.ac.uk
Lecturer/ Programme Director, BA War and Security Studies/ Programme Director, MA Strategy and International Security



Abstract

Cyber attack against Critical National Infrastructure is a developing capability in state arsenals. The onset of this new instrument in national security has implications for conflict thresholds and military ethics. To serve as a legitimate tool of policy, cyber attack must operate in accordance with moral concerns. To test the viability of cyber attack, this paper provides a new perspective on cyber ethics. Cyber attack is tested against the criteria of the Common Good. This involves identifying the four core components of the common good from a conflict perspective: respect for the person; social wellbeing; peace and security; and solidarity. The fate of these components is assessed in relation to the six key characteristics of cyber attack from a moral standpoint: security; the role or absence of violence; discrimination; proportionality; cyberharm; and the threshold of conflict. It is concluded that the common good must be incorporated into developing state cyber strategies.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Journal of Military Ethics
Print ISSN 1502-7570
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages
APA6 Citation Lonsdale, D., & Lonsdale, D. (in press). The ethics of cyber attack: Pursuing legitimate security and the common good in contemporary conflict scenarios. Journal of Military Ethics, . https://doi.org/10.1080/15027570.2020.1764694
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/15027570.2020.1764694
Keywords Cyber attack; Cyber strategies; Conflict thresholds; Military ethics; Common good
Publisher URL https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15027570.2020.1764694
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