This Independent Study project is centered around an ethical exploration of cyber warfare. The question this project aims to answer is what are the ethics of cyber warfare? The first chapter of this project surveys preexisting literature on cyber warfare, introducing varying definitions of cyber warfare and organizing those definitions based on their more nuanced subjects. It also provides descriptions of various cyber terminology that is often present in the discussion of cyber warfare and greater international cyber security. The second chapter of this project briefly comments on the study of War Ethics and thoroughly details Just War Theory. This chapter includes a thorough academic discussion of the principles of Just War Theory, those which either fall under the category of Jus ad Bellum or Jus in Bello. In summary, Chapter Two establishes a theoretical, ethical framework of which will be applied to cyber warfare in second half of the project, which highlights two cases of cyber warfare. Chapters Three and Four, subsequently, are devoted to those case studies. Chapter Three looks at the case of Stuxnet and compares various aspects of this case to the principles of Just War Theory, aiming to decide if the principles were satisfied in that case or not. Chapter Four progresses similarly, looking at the case of the Russo-Georgian War. This is all done with the goal of determining if Just War Theory is an adequate ethical framework of which the international community may utilize when thinking about cyber war, thus answering the question: what are the ethics of cyber warfare?


Riley, Evan

Second Advisor

Lantis, Jeffrey


Philosophy; Political Science


Social and Behavioral Sciences


Cyber Warfare, Ethics

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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