International Legal Issues Of Cyber Attacks Must Be Resolved

PRAVEEN DALAL MANAGING PARTNER OF PERRY4LAW AND CEO OF PTLBInternet has become a necessity for all Countries of the World. Internet has also connected the virtual territories of different Countries to a collective area known as Cyberspace. This connectivity element has provided many opportunities and benefits to Cyberspace Netizens and stakeholders at large. However, this connectivity has also given rise to the possibilities and opportunities for committing wrongs and crimes by various criminal elements.

Newer concepts like Cyber Terrorism, Cyber Warfare, Cyber Espionage, etc have also emerged that have disastrous effects if not properly safeguarded and tackled. As on date there is no globally acceptable Cyber Law or Cyber Security Treaty.  Similarly, there is also no full proof and absolutely certain way to ascertain Authorship Attribution for Cyber Crimes and Cyber Attacks. Presence of Conflict of Laws in Cyberspace and absence of Civil Liberties Protection in Cyberspace has further complicated the international Cyber Law and Cyber Security related issues. Privacy Protection in the Information Era has also become an invincible task for Governments around the world.

In these circumstances, International Legal Issues of Cyber Attacks are not easy to manage. This is more so for India that is still not Cyber Prepared for International Cyber Attacks. Take the example of recent episode of hacking of Sony’s systems. Despite the strong statements of United States and its Agencies, it is very difficult to accept that North Korea was behind the hack. This is because United States has failed to prove authorship Attribution in a “Convincing and Proper Manner”. Thus, despite all allegations, counter allegations and other materials, it may not be possible to trace back the true attacker.

There is no “Neutral Authority” that can analyse the claims of both United States and North Korea in this regard. Both Countries may stick to their respective stands but in the end not much could be achieved through the same. Of course, this episode may give impetus to revive the lapsed or suspended Laws in United States that would have serious Civil Liberties Issues.

At a time when “Net Neutrality” is in grave danger, imposing own Standards and Measures against Potential, Actual and Invented Cyber Attacks by any Country should be sternly discouraged. It is also high time to resolve International Legal Issues of Cyber Attacks at a global scale