Cyber-Warfare and Cyber Terrorism in the spotlight

This Winter, from July 8th to 12th, students in the Masters of Cyber-Security (Law) will undertake an intensive subject in Cyber-Terrorism and International Warfare (LAW5CTW). The subject is taught by leading experts, Adjunct Prof. William H. Boothby and Dr Andre Oboler, and covers topics that are increasingly entering the public discussion. From the use of social media to support a terrorist attack in Christchurch to the emergence of cyber as the 5th domain in warfare. LAW5CTW is open as an elective to students in the JD and across our LLM offerings.

Our expert teaching staff

The Cyber Warfare elements of the course will be taught by Adjunct Prof. William H. Boothby. A retired Air Commodore, Boothby served as Deputy Director of Legal Services for the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. During his time in the Royal Air Force he served both in the UK and overseas in Germany, Cyprus, Hong Kong and Croatia. He was a member of the International Group of Experts that prepared the Tallinn Manual, a document which describes how international law can be applied to cyber warfare. His recent books include the Second Edition of Weapons and the law of armed conflict (Oxford University Press, 2016) and, as editor, New technologies and the law in war and peace (Cambridge University Press, 2019).

For those wanting a sneak peak, here’s Adjunct Prof.  Boothby speaking on the Ethical Basis of the Law at the Workshop on Ethics of Cyber Conflict run by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in 2013.

The Cyber-Terrorism and Information Warfare elements will be taught by Dr Andre Oboler. An expert in social media regulation, Dr Oboler serves as CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute and as an expert member of the Australian Government’s Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. His work on the danger of big data in 2012 warned of the threat of election manipulation through social media. His work on hate speech in social media has followed the rise of this problem since 2007 and its spread to violent extremism and terrorist attacks. His most recent work includes an analysis of the online elements of the 2019 Christchurch and San Diego terrorist attacks.

Dr Oboler has provided extensive media analysis on online activism and the use of the internet by extremists. Recent coverage includes: ABC 7.30, ABC News, Studio 10 and in ABC Science, 10 Daily, the Australian Financial Review, the Herald Sun, Business Insider, China Daily, and AAP.

Subject coverage

Cyber-Terrorism, Cyber-Activism, and Hacktivism. This topic will examine terrorist use of the Internet, the ideas of activism and hacktivism, hate speech and its connection to violent extremism and terrorism, and legal responses including the new “Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material” laws.

Cyber-warfare in the context of international law. This topic will place cyber warfare law in the context of international law as a whole. The principles of ad bellum and in bello will be distinguished. Targeting laws, the idea of cyberspace as a commons and questions of sovereignty and jurisdiction will be considered.

Cyber-Warfare in Armed Conflict. This topic will examine the role of the UN Charter, attribution and state responsibility. It will look at the law of armed conflict and how cyber fits with established concepts such as the principle of distinction. The legal distinctions between persons and objects that may be attacked and those that must be protected will also be considered.

Cyber Attacks and their consequences: This topic will look in more depth at cyber-attacks, how and when they can be conducted, the use of cyber-weapons, questions of deception and espionage, blockades, zones, and people and objects entitled to special protection.

Information Warfare and Fake News: This topic will consider both state and non-state efforts at information warfare. It will also consider fake news and its use in hostile action such as election manipulation.

Elective enrolment & assessment

Students studying a Masters level degree in law, or any of the non-law streams in the Masters of Cybersecurity degree, may enrol in LAW5CTW. The subject’s LMS will go live on June 24th; please enrol prior to this date to avoid the risk of falling behind on subject preparation.

The subject is assessed using three assignments and there are no exams. The assignments are due July 10, July 24 and August 5.