International Law of Cyber Operations

The course provides a practice-oriented survey of the international law applicable to cyber operations involving states. Students who complete the course will understand the legal framework in which such operations occur during both peace- and war-time and they will be able to apply the legal principles and rules examined to real-world situations.


This 5-day residential course begins with a half day ‘tech session’ which introduces the technology involved in cyber operations, including internet structure, defensive and offensive tools and techniques, and the feasibility of and challenges to technical attribution. Additionally, the introductory phase examines the place of cyber operations in the contemporary geopolitical environment.

The 4.5-day core of the course is divided into two blocks of study:

  • the peacetime international law governing cyber operations;
  • the international humanitarian law that applies during armed conflict involving cyber operations.

Each 1½-day session concludes with a complex exercise that allows participants to apply the law addressed during lectures and discussion. The peacetime law session deals with issues like sovereignty, jurisdiction, due diligence, the law of state responsibility, the prohibition of intervention and self-defence, all in the cyberspace operations context. It will answer questions such as which cyber operations outside an armed conflict violate international law, when can states hack back, and when has a cyber armed attack occurred such that states may engage in self-defence.

The second 1½-day session covers traditional international humanitarian law topics, such as classification of cyber conflict, the principle of distinction during cyber operations, and targetable and protected persons and objects in the cyber context. This session is taught from an operational legal advisor’s perspective, examining all necessary steps in a cyber targeting legal analysis.

Attendees have a unique opportunity to discuss cyber legal matters with some of the most renowned scholars in the field. Participants will also receive a complimentary copy of the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare.

Target Audience

  • Military and civilian legal advisors to the armed forces
  • Intelligence community lawyers
  • Other civilian attorneys in governmental security posts
  • Policy specialists who advise on cyber issues and wish to acquire a basic understanding of the applicable legal regimes
  • Legal scholars and graduate students.


Prior knowledge of relevant international law is recommended, but not a prerequisite.


Registration ends on 1 October 2018. Please use the registration code provide by your National POC. Final confirmation about the participation will be sent after the registration deadline.

In case of any questions, please contact: [email protected]