Attacks in Cyberspace | Harvard Law Review

In the past year, the United States has experienced an alarming explosion of cyberattacks aimed at public- and private-sector targets. From small businesses to U.S. government agencies and security contractors, a surprisingly broad range of systems have been compromised by increasingly sophisticated attacks attributed to both criminal and state actors alike. While the country’s leadership continues to make references to a “cyber-Pearl Harbor,” a “digital 9/11,” and even “Cybergeddon,” the reality is that the most severe cyberattacks are below a conventionally understood military threshold. The most severe threats lie in attacks against critical infrastructure like banks, energy companies, and telecommunications firms. Unfortunately, it is often these sorts of attacks that are the most socially disruptive and yet rarely subject to any form of clear punitive sanction.

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