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Nato cyberwar manual: Civilian hackers can be targets

Nato has released a manual as a first broad attempt to codify how international law applies to state-sponsored hacking. The handbook, authored by legal experts working in conjunction with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the U.S. Cyber Command, details what is or is not a legitimate target in cyber warfare.

It states not only that full-scale conventional wars may be triggered by cyber attacks, but that civilian "hacktivists" can be targeted with conventional weapons if their cyber attacks seriously damage property or cause deaths. The handbook, titled The Tallinn manual, is primarily advisory and is not an official Nato document; the rules of cyber warfare remain hotly debated. As the HuffPo U.K. pointed out, experts were divided on exactly when a civilian hacker might be a target. The manual explicitly notes that consensus has not been reached on this issue:

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