In a recent speech at Chatham House, Britain’s Attorney General has declared that state sponsored cyberattacks should be viewed as acts of war and punished accordingly. Singling out Russia and North Korea, Jeffrey Wright QC called for sanctions against any country that tries to interfere with democratic elections or disrupt critical infrastructure.
A cyber-attack on a nuclear reactor or an air traffic control system could easily result in loss of life. While stopping short of using conventional military reprisals, Wright advocated the naming and shaming of culprits.
He also stated that rogue states cannot expect to hide behind proxy hackers to conceal their involvement. Quoting from article 51 of the UN Charter, Wright said that self-defence in the face of a serious cyberattack was fully justified and countermeasures would be taken to ensure that cyberspace does not descend into anarchy.