International cyber conflict

by John Bandler


International cyber conflict is the conflict between nations ("nation-states") that involves the digital domain.

Nation states use computers, networks, and data to undermine or attack other nations.


Terminology is important. We will use the term "nation-state" to talk about countries and nations. Also consider that many international law practitioners use the term "state" to refer to a "nation-state". But being in the "United States" we use the word "state" to refer to entities like New York and New Jersey.

Other terms for this area of conflict between nation-states include:

  • Cyber conflict
  • International cyber conflict
  • International cyber operations
  • Nation state cyber operations

Here's the concept. Nations have long been at odds with each other, and had conflicts. Those conflicts can range from minor disagreement to full scale war. There is an existing body of law that has evolved surrounding these conflicts.

Now we have the "cyber" domain, computers, the internet, data, and all of the activities humans and nation-states can do with it. So we look to the evolving area of cyber conflict, and how law is applied to it.

Law of warfare


Other sections



This page is a draft placeholder and work in progress.

Cyber conflict is important and affects us, even if we think it doesn't. That's because other nation states are trying to influence what we think.

This article is (of course) not tailored to your circumstances, nor is it legal or consulting advice.

Additional reading on this site

External references

  • UN Charter Article 1 and 2, especially 2(4)
  • UN Charter Article 51
  • The Tallinn Manual 2.0,,
  • Wikipedia on The Tallinn Manual,
  • Michael Schmitt, Grey Zones in the International Law of Cyberspace, Yale Journal of International Law (October 18, 2017),
  • Cybercrime Investigations, Chapter 8, Cyber Investigations Linked to Nation-States or Terrorists
  • Bandler, Building Better Consumers and Voters,
  • Free Speech, the First Amendment, and social media (2),
  • Rain Ottis, Analysis of the 2007 Cyber Attacks Against Estonia from the Information Warfare Perspective, Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, Tallinn, Estonia,
  • “Mueller Report” Executive Summaries (Report on The Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election),
  • Volume I pp 1-10,
  • Volume II pp 1-8,

This article is hosted at, copyright John Bandler, all rights reserved.

Originally posted 5/23/2024, updated 5/23/2024.