This article discusses the cyberattacks, the status and legal obligations of the Anonymous Group and the Syrian Electronic Army under international humanitarian law (IHL). These hacker collectives have demonstrated a tremendous capacity to become involved in cyber operations, even in armed conflict situations. This article, using some of the most prominent attacks as the lens to read this phenomenon, analyses their role under the provisions of the law of war, examining which is the applicable legal framework (if any). It considers the treaty rules governing IHL but pays also attention to customary IHL and the Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations. It concludes by assessing the applicable legal framework, including whether these collectives can be regarded as organised armed groups belonging to a part of the conflict or considered otherwise, operating outside the framework of the law of war.
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