Cyber warfare and the status of Anonymous under international humanitarian law
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Chinese journal of international law, Vol. 15, issue 4, December 2016, p. 741-772
Since its emergence in 2003 Anonymous has become an increasingly prominent actor on the international stage. Anonymous is an online collective comprising like-minded individuals that commit cyber-attacks against state and non-state actors that are allegedly involved in the abuse of fundamental human rights. In recent years Anonymous has demonstrated a preparedness to commit cyber-attacks against parties to an armed conflict and the cyber-attacks launched against Israel during its 2014 armed conflict with Hamas are such an example. Using Anonymous's cyber-attacks against Israel as a lens, this article evaluates the status of online groups under international humanitarian law when they become embroiled in armed conflict and in particular under what circumstances members of these groups can be made the object of attack under the laws of targeting.