Assessing feasibility for a binding international legal instrument on cyberweapons: A maturity model approach

Cyberwarfare has emerged from the expeditious expansion of the Internet as a new mode of conflict that can anonymously and remotely disrupt the core functions of a state.
Resource type
Amir Kiyaei
An effective arms control regime over cyberweapons however, can facilitate a reduction of threats emanating from that domain and reduce blowback risks and unintended consequences over use of cyberweapons if entered into force. Nevertheless, key impediments towards realising such a regime exist, including insufficient political endorsement and technical challenges related to attribution, compliance and verification. Rooted in contemporary international legal instruments, the paper devised 16 arms control elements applicable to cyberweapons. The feasibility of these were subsequently assessed through a maturity model structure, determined through three rounds of scoring. The results placed a majority of those elements, such as prohibitions on attacks on protected persons, entities and infrastructure, creation of national points of contact, establishment of a secretariat as well as forbidding proliferation of cyberweapons, within the feasible and likely ranges. Recommendations were furnished for those elements that were judged as unlikely, while an additional set of practical actions were proposed to address other impediments, emerging from the research, towards realising a binding international legal instrument on cyberweapons.

Related Resources

13 Aug, 2010

The Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Diplomacy and Diplomatic Service

Rapid development of information and communication technologies (ICT) has lead to significant changes in social, economical and political relations of the modern society. ... Read more...

10 Aug, 2007

Roma Diplomacy

Roma Diplomacy is a collection of papers written or inspired through Diplo’s 2005/2006 Roma Diplomacy project. ... Read more...

10 Aug, 2000

Internet Guide for Diplomats

The Internet Guide for Diplomats is the first guide specifically conceived and realised to assist diplomats and others involved in international affairs to use the Internet in their work. The book includes both basic technical information about the Internet and specifi... Read more...

07 Aug, 1998

Modern Diplomacy: A preface

The Mediterranean Academy of Diplomacy has recently organised two international conferences addressing the future of diplomacy. The first was the International Conference on Information Technology and Diplomacy (May 1997) and the second was the International Conference... Read more...