armed conflict. These agreements include the necessity of respecting the host nation’s laws. Typically, the stationed forces must notify the host nation of any change in operations, including information warfare. This would help decrease the possibility of actual foreign soldiers perpetuating cyber attacks on foreign nations without the host government’s tacit consent.
Taken together, these diverse treaty provisions provide the basis for a framework to deal with cyber attackers during peacetime. If a host nation’s domestic laws criminalize cyber attacks, then applicable MALTs and extradition treaties would apply to make perpetrators accountable in various jurisdictions.157 If the attack is directed against a foreign mission or embassy, than the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity would provide remedies and potentially reparations to the victim nation in international law. Moreover, provisions under UNCLOS III regulating submarine cables, the ability to prosecute private parties in breach of the ITU treaty in telecommunications law, or interference with satellite transmissions in space law, all place significant restrictions on cyber attacks. However, few if any of these treaties, with the exception of SOFAs, would remain in force during an armed conflict. The extent to which these treaties are applicable during an international conflict then depends on whether or not cyber attacks rise to the level of armed attacks activating IHL.
Armed Attacks in Information Warfare
Under what circumstances can a CNA be considered an act of war? International law requires that for self-defense to be permissible there must be an attack so egregious
157 It should be noted, though, that the Estonian-Russian MALT proved entirely ineffective, since Russia refused to honor the treaty in this instance.