San Diego International Law Journal

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



The present Article addressed the legal issues surrounding cyberterrorism. In the first chapter, the author explains why cyberterrorism should be described as “the use of electronic networks taking the form of a cyber-attack to commit a) a substantive act criminalized by the existing legal instruments prohibiting terrorism, or b) an act of terrorism under international customary law.” Further, with a special emphasis on existing anti-terrorism conventions and customary international law, it was demonstrated which actors are likely to engage in acts of cyberterrorism (non-state actors, corporations and individuals), as well as which targets are protected by law and which aims are to be pursued by terrorists.

The last two chapters concentrated on permissibility of individual response to cyberterrorism and applicability of this concept to jus in bello. The author noted that although generally self-defense in jus ad bellum is permitted, the controversial legal theories will have trouble adapting to the realities of cyberterrorism without international support. The author also highlights the paradoxical situation of two regimes on terrorism (archaic and conventional) coexisting during armed conflicts and its impact on cyberterrorism. Future convergence of these regimes on political level will require legal coordination of international organizations.

This Article demonstrates why conventional terrorism by states should be ruled out as a viable concept in international law. at the same time the author argues in favor of the organization of the islamic conference suggestion to exclude freedom-fighters from the applicability of anti-terrorism conventions. major legal gaps identified in this article include preservation of prisoner of war privileges by conventional terrorists during wars, as well as legal discrepancy created by the conventions regime on terrorism which ensures freedom-fighters and cyber-guerillas receive less legal protection than military forces of a state despite their equal status under the additional protocol I.