Cyber vigilantism in support of Ukraine: a legal analysis

Hacktivist initiatives in supprt of Ukraine have been met with both praise and reprimand. As much as they are clever and innovative in taking a bottom-up grassroots approach to countering injustice and violence, they are also legally ambiguous and disposed to more serious consequences than initially planned.  This ad hoc working paper seeks to explain what is at stake from the international law perspective and analyses three specific factors that have a particular effect on the legal evaluation of hacktivist cyber operations in times of armed conflict. First, the the position of the hacktivist is looked into, following that the importance of the structure, organisation and state affiliations of the different hacktivist groups is analysed and last, the paper proceeds to  explain the breach of due diligence obligation as a potential avenue for evoking state responsibility.

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