Unofficial NATO Cyber warfare manual published

March 19, 2013

The edited and final version of a document expected to shape cyber warfare policies among Western nations has been published by the Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence set up in Estonia five years ago.The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare is available for free from Cambridge University Press. The document makes it clear when and how countries can legally conduct online aggression against one another. The draft was published in August last year, and is available online. According to the brief about publication, there were twenty legal experts who worked on the manual for three years, compiling 95 black-letter rules that address various topics such as sovereignty, the criteria to check before going to cyber war against a foe, state responsibility and international humanitarian law.

The Tallinn Manual consist of 215 pages that makes it clear that a full-scale war can be triggered by network borne attacks on computer systems and that civilian activists that participate in those are considered legitimate targets. The manual has specifically ruled out state-sponsored attacks on critical civilian infrastructure. According to the manual, nuclear power plants, hospitals, dams and similar are all out of bounds for cyber war. Team behind the publication seems to be very careful to note that the manual is not an official document, but rather an expression of opinions of a group of independent experts acting solely in their personal capacity and as such, the manual does not reflect official NATO doctrine.

 

Contador Harrison