The world continues to face unprecedented challenges arising from malicious cyber operations and the misuse of information and communications technologies by state and non-state actors.
Many of these cyber operations are transboundary in nature but their origin is often unclear, given the internet’s decentralized structure. Some might pose significant dangers to the essential interests of states.
This has led some to consider taking extraterritorial measures to stop or prevent malicious cyber activity, including by engaging in ‘hack-backs’.
However, the lawfulness of these and similar cybersecurity measures needs to be assessed under international law. Even if in principle unlawful, they may be legally justified by circumstances precluding wrongfulness. One of these defences is the state or plea of necessity.
This project aims to foster a shared understanding of this aspect of international law applicable to cyber operations across different stakeholders – including states, private companies, academia, and civil society.
This project is supported by the Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom.