This article focuses on the international legal framework that governs defense against cyber threats from non-State actors, specifically LOAC and the law governing the resort to force. In doing so, it identifies both essential paradigms for understanding options for response to cyber threats from non-State actors and key challenges in those paradigms. Section II addresses jus ad bellum and how it applies to and provides guidance for State responses to cyber actions by non-State actors. Section III analyzes when and how LOAC applies to non-State cyber acts and examines some of the specific challenges cyber acts pose for such analysis. Finally, Section IV highlights broader crosscutting issues, such as the challenges of multiple overlapping legal paradigms and the role and power of rhetoric, in exploring how States can and do respond to cyber threats from non-State actors.
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