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Cyber Warfare Ethics

Cyber technology gives states the ability to accomplish effects that once required kinetic action. These effects can now be achieved with cyber means in a manner that is covert, deniable, cheap, and technologically feasible for many governments. In some cases, cyber means are morally preferable to conventional military operations, but in other cases, cyber’s unique qualities can lead to greater mischief than governments would have chanced using kinetic means. This volume addresses the applicability of traditional military ethics to cyber operations, jus ad vim (an emerging sub-field governing grey zone or soft war operations), the rights of the targets of cyber operations, cyber sabotage, cyber surveillance, phase zero operations, psychological operations, artificial intelligence, and algorithmic ethics. Uniquely, it includes a number of cyber incidents that do not currently exist as case studies and have not received much public attention. This volume has been designed to work as a handbook for military and security professionals involved in cyber training, teaching, and application.


An accurate and comprehensive collection that captures the various ethical and moral challenges that we as cyber warfare planners and operators grapple with continuously, illustrated through both real world and notional case studies. Cyber Warfare Ethics addresses these concerns across a wide range of cyber warfare operations as well as those inherent in the use of today’s advanced technology employed in warfare. Anyone interested in cyber warfare should read this book to understand the important ethical considerations of this rapidly evolving, critical warfare area.

Captain James Caroland, Chair, Cyber Science Department, U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Navy Cyber Warfare Engineer


Cyber operations, both above and below the threshold of violent conflict, continue to vex policy makers and strategists. With thousands of years of experience in physical conflict, nations are still developing their operational, legal and ethical approaches to this newer non-kinetic realm. Concepts such a proportionality and discrimination must be taken into account in these evolving national security architectures. This new book provides a range of very useful insights for national security leaders and their organisations as they traverse the challenges of developing, absorbing, employing and evolving new age cyber capabilities. Cyber Warfare Ethics is a publication that should be on the reading list for anyone – policy makers, strategists, academics and citizens - with an interest in the ethical application of all forms of cyber power in the coming decades.

Major General Mick Ryan, Commander Australian Defence College


238 pages  I   Size: 234 x 156mm  I  £19.99  

Publication date: 29th October 2021

Paperback: 978 1912440 269

Cyber Warfare Ethics

  • Foreword Colonel Scott M. Virgil, United States Military Academy

    INTRODUCTION Professor Thomas W. Simpson, University of Oxford


    Just War Theory and Cyber Warfare Professor Fritz Allhoff, Western Michigan University and Jonathan Milgrim, University of Washington

    Jus ad Vim: Sub-Threshold Cyber Warfare Professor Michael L. Gross, The University of Haifa

    Rights of Those Targeted in Military Cyber Operations Professor Michael Skerker, United States Naval Academy


    Cyber and Conventional Military Operations Professor Richard Schoonhoven, United States Military Academy

    The Ethics of Cyber-Sabotage Dr Jeremy Davis, University of Florida

    Not War: The Ethics of "Phase Zero" Cyber Operations Dr Edward Barrett, United States Naval Academy

    Ethics of Military Cyber Surveillance Professor Peter Lee, University of Portsmouth

    Ethics and Cyber Enabled PSYOP Dr Adam Henschke, National Security College, ANU


    The Morality of Machines: Cyber Guardian Angels Wing Commander Andrew M. Tidmarsh, Royal Air Force

    Artificial Intelligence Ethics Dr Scott Robbins, Bonn University

    Ethics and Cyber Systems: Artificial Intelligence Weapons Systems and Moral Slippage Dr Elke Schwarz, Queen Mary University London

    CONCLUSION Professor David Whetham, King's College London and Professor George Lucas, Naval Postgraduate School



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