The Devil is in the Details: An Examination of Hybrid Cyber Operations and International Law

  • Dean Coslovi University of Calgary


The purpose of this paper is to examine the issues surrounding the classification of cyber “uses of force” and the inherent problem of cyber attribution. These two issues form a two-pronged dilemma in terms of applying jus ad bellum legal justifications for self-defence when a nation has been the victim of hybrid cyber operations. In particular, this two-pronged dilemma will highlight how hybrid cyber operations undermine the traditional deterrent value of conventional military power. Once this is made clear, it will become evident how the perpetrators of hybrid cyber operations are able to exploit loopholes within contemporary international law and operate with seeming impunity. 

Author Biography

Dean Coslovi, University of Calgary

Dean Coslovi is a graduate student at the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. His current research interests include the People’s Republic of China, cyber operations, and the intersection between international law and hybrid warfare. Dean also holds a Master of Arts, with a major in Philosophy, from the University of Victoria. His philosophical research has been focused upon contemporary issues within the philosophy of neuroscience and philosophy of physics.

Annual National Student Award Competition