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Active Defense

Featuring 8 Papers as of November 21, 2019

  • Israel's Attack on Hamas' Cyber Headquarters Under Customary International Humanitarian Law by Jonathan Matkowsky - November 21, 2019 

    During intense military fighting in May 2019, Israel stopped the Hamas organized-armed-group from harming Israeli sites as part of establishing offensive cyber capabilities in the Gaza Strip tied to its war effort. Israel attacked the headquarters from which Hamas’ cyber unit operated, including any information systems and related cyber-infrastructure in the facility. Under customary international humanitarian law, the attack on Hamas’ headquarters appears to be a cyber-specific example of a lawful military objective due to its inherent nature, as suggested by Prof. R. Chesney (2019). This paper discusses the principles of international humanitarian law—military necessity, humanity, distinction, and proportionality—applicable from an Israeli law perspective to the targeted strike on the Hamas’ cyber headquarters, including support that the principles have achieved the status of customary international humanitarian law. Israel did not disclose whether Hamas only used the facility for intelligence gathering tied to the war effort alone, or if that intelligence was also being used to develop cyber weapons. Both are inherently lawful military objectives under customary international humanitarian law, according to Prof. Dinstein (2016). A key takeaway is that applying the principles of customary international humanitarian law may sometimes favor using traditional military force, and other times favor using cyber activity.

  • View All Active Defense Papers

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STI Graduate Student Research - This paper was created by a SANS Technology Institute student as part of the graduate program curriculum.