1 Ph.D. in International Relations, Azad University, Isfahan Branch, Isfahan, Iran

2 Associate Prof., Faculty of Administrative Sciences and Economic, Department of Law, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


Today using of cyberspace for rapid and effective achievement of strategic goals has become a new significant warfare tool for all actors. For this reason, the distributive and interactive nature of cyberspace together with low costs of accountability has increased the effective function of attacks in the cyberspace. Moreover, anonymity in this space has facilitated rapid operations in a wide geography which in turn leads to attacks, destructions and crimes in this environment. These cause violation of territorial integrity and national security of States. In absence of effective rules and provisions has left the issue of international responsibility for these crimes and their legal prosecution in a vague situation. This article deals first with the definition of cyberspace and emphasizes upon the fact that though in circumstances as stand now, resort to cyber-attacks is considered as use of force in international law, nevertheless identification of their legal area faces many obstacles in different circumstances including in the law of war, resort to force and self-defense making the entering into this issue of international law difficult.


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    A) Books

    1. Abraham M. Denmark, James Mulvenon. (2010). Contested Commons: The Future of American Power in a Multipolar World, Center for New American Security (CNAS).
    2. Hess, Charlotte. (1996). “Untangling the Web: The Internet as a Commons.” Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis”, Indiana University
    3. Schmitt, Michael N. (2013). Tallinn Manual on the International Law: Applicable to Cyber Warfare, Cambridge University Press.


    B) Articles

    1. Aspremont, Jean D’ (2010). “Mapping the Concepts behind the Contemporary Liberalization of the Use of Force in International Law”,
    2. Barkham, Jason. (2001). “Information Warfare and International Law on the Use of Force”, 34 N.Y.U. J. Int’l L. & Pol.
    3. Brunnée, Jutta and Stephen J. Toope. (2004). “Slouching Towards New ‘Just’ Wars: International Law and the Use of Force After September 11th”, Netherlands International Law Review, Vol 51 / Issue 03 / December
    4. Chetail, Vincent. (2003). “The Contribution of the International Court of Justice to International Humanitarian Law”,
    5. Davis, Joshua, (2007). “Hackers Take down the Most Wired Country in Europe”, Wired Magazine, Aug. 21, (detailing a rogue computer network's assault on Estonia).
    6. Goldsmith, Jack. (2013). “How Cyber Changes the Laws”, The European Journal of International (EJIL), Vol. 24 No. 1.
    7. Hoisington, Matthew (2009). Cyber-warfare and the Use of Force Giving Rise to the Right of Self-Defense, Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, Volume 32,
    8. Hongju Koh, Harold (2012). International Law in Cyberspace, Legal Advisor U.S. Department of State, USCYBERCOM Inter-Agency Legal Conference, September 18, 2012,
    9. Lewis, James A., (2013). “Conflict and Negotiation in Cyberspace”, Center for Security and International Studies, February
    10. Linderfalk, Ulf, (2008). “The Effect of Jus Cogens Norms: Whoever Opened Pandora’s Box, Did You Ever Think about the Consequences?” The European Journal of International Law, Vol. 18 No.5,
    11. Schaap, Arie J. (2009). “Cyber warfare operations: development and use under international law”, Air Force Law Review, December
    12. Shackelford Scott J. (2009). “From Nuclear War to Net War: Analogizing Cyber Attacks in International Law:, Berkeley Journal of International Law, Volume 27, see on:
    13. Sofaer, Abraham D. (2000). “Stanford University. A proposal for an International Convention on Cyber Crime and Terrorism”,