Washington: Now a new manual describing the rules of cyber war has been published that attempts to codify how international law applies to state-sponsored online attacks.
The handbook, due to be published later this week, applies the practice of international law to the world of electronic warfare in an effort to show how hospitals, civilians and neutral nations can be protected in an information-age fight.
The Tallinn Manual, named for the Estonian capital where it was compiled, was created at the behest of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, a NATO think tank, Fox News reports.
It takes existing rules on battlefield behavior, such as the 1868 St. Petersburg Declaration and the 1949 Geneva Convention, to the Internet, occasionally in unexpected ways, the report said.
The manual's central premise is that war doesn't stop being war just because it happens online, the report added.
Hacking a dam's controls to release its reservoir into a river valley can have the same effect as breaching it with explosives, its authors argue.
According to the report, the manual warned that cyber war can lead to cyber war crimes.
Launching an attack from a neutral nation's computer network is forbidden in much the same way that hostile armies aren't allowed to march through a neutral country's territory, it said.