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ACM Opinion

Nobody Knows Where the Red Line Is for Cyberwarfare

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Illustration depicts cyberwarfare.

Unlike nuclear weapons, which haven't been used since World War II, cyberwarfare tools are widely available and used regularly.

Credit: Inkee Wang for Bloomberg Businessweek

During the Cold War, the fear of mutually assured destruction was enough to keep the Soviet Union and the U.S. from launching a nuclear attack on each other, even as they spent decades building up huge stockpiles of weapons. Cyberweapons are different.

Cyberattacks by governments and private hackers have exploded in recent years. Many of these are financially motivated, but others involve espionage or, in several high-profile cases, the sabotage of physical infrastructure. There's broad agreement that at some point a cyberattack would be considered an act of war. Yet no one knows quite where the line is.

From Bloomberg Businessweek
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