Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Cyber Operations and International Law


Award Winner

Part of Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law

  • Author: François Delerue, Institut de Recherche stratégique de l’École militaire
  • Date Published: March 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108490276

£ 120.00

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book offers a comprehensive analysis of the international law applicable to cyber operations, including a systematic examination of attribution, lawfulness and remedies. It demonstrates the importance of countermeasures as a form of remedies and also shows the limits of international law, highlighting its limits in resolving issues related to cyber operations. There are several situations in which international law leaves the victim State of cyber operations helpless. Two main streams of limits are identified. First, in the case of cyber operations conducted by non-state actors on the behalf of a State, new technologies offer various ways to coordinate cyber operations without a high level of organization. Second, the law of State responsibility offers a range of solutions to respond to cyber operations and seek reparation, but it does not provide an answer in every case and it cannot solve the problem related to technical capabilities of the victim.

    • Provides a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the international law applicable to cyber operations and question of remedies
    • Highlights the limits of international law and demonstrates that international law does not constitute a panacea that solves all issues related to cyber operations
    • Provides a detailed analysis of cyber interventions and discusses new possibilities cyberspace offers states to intervene in both the internal and external affairs of another state
    Read more


    • Winner, 2021 Book Prize, European Society of International Law (ESIL)

    Reviews & endorsements

    'An important and illuminating contribution to a vital but infrequently explored area of 'cyber hostilities'.' JHH Weiler, Editor-in-Chief, European Journal of International Law

    'In line with the Paris Call for trust and security in the cyberspace launched by President Macron, France firmly believes that the application of International Law, including the UN Charter in its entirety, international humanitarian law and customary international law, is and needs to remain the foundation for peace and security in cyberspace. François Delerue's in-depth analysis constitutes an essential intellectual contribution towards building more trust, security and stability in cyberspace.' Henri Verdier, Ambassador for digital Affairs, French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

    'François Delerue's stimulating and thought-provoking study is a must read for those seeking a fresh look on international law and contemporary challenges. It is a valuable contribution to classical international scholarship, while providing readers with technical background necessary to better understand current legal issues in cyberspace. Its particular strength is a detailed yet practical take on attribution, due diligence and state responsibility with poignant references to resilience and cyber operations.' Joanna Kulesza, University of Lodz, Poland

    'Cyber Operations and International Law offers an important - and comprehensive - treatment of international law's application to State and State-sponsored operations in cyberspace. Taking readers beyond the well-trodden grounds of armed conflicts, Delerue covers a range of international legal issues, including sovereignty, non-intervention, counter-measures, and human rights. In doing so, he provides an accessible account of the technology and its challenges to the efficacy of international law in regulating global cybersecurity.' Duncan B. Hollis, Temple University, Philadelphia

    'In a context of enhanced strategic competition between great powers and proliferation of state sponsored cyber attacks that threaten international peace and cyber stability, François Delerue's Book offers a brilliant and insightful contribution to the debates about how international law applies to cyber operations. His sophisticated and thorough analysis of complex legal debates, supported by well-documented examples, is both accessible to non-lawyers and of great value for scholars and practitioners.' Frederick Douzet, Université Paris 8, Director of GEODE

    'This study is illustrated by numerous examples drawn from State practice, demonstrating the topicality of the subject and constituting thus a useful manual for professionals [of] law. The author succeeds, while leading [an] in-depth analysis of the subject, to [make] accessible to legal and non-legal readers the 'old concepts of international law' which for some seem to find a second youth in the era of the multiplication of cyber operations.' Aude Géry, Hérodote

    'Cyber Operations and International Law is a compelling, logical, and important book that touches on all of the critical international law topics while asking difficult questions … François Delerue successfully accomplishes the heroic task of untangling both the technology and law surrounding cyber operations in a book that will undoubtedly serve as a leading foundation for further scholarly activity in this space.' Ido Kilovaty, American Journal of International Law

    'The analysis is particularly useful as there are few generalist works in international law on cybersecurity. Delerue's work offers another doctrinal approach, for a useful comparison of scientific analyzes.' Anne-Thida Norodom, Politique étrangère

    'The book by François Delerue provides an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of a legal order facing unprecedented challenges-from cyber attackson nuclearplants to election meddling through digital espionage. The result of Delerue 's analysis is a comprehensive study of the currentstate of IL applicable to cyber operations;in its length, depth, and thor-oughness one of the first of its kind. Taking the classic law of state responsibility as his startingpoint and foundation,the author meticulously lays out the international legal framework limiting states' behavior in cyberspace. The book will not only appeal to international legal scholars however. Delerue makes an effort to bridge the gap between lawyers,computer- and political scientists, explaining the essentials of each discipline to the others where necessary.' Rachel F. Behring, Heidelberg Journal of International Law

    'Delerue is a research fellow in cyber defense and international law at the Institute for Strategic Research … and his deep knowledge of cyber security and cyber defense and their relationship with international law is evident in the book. Delerue cogently explains difficult technical concepts in the field of cyber operations and makes these notions easily comprehensible for international lawyers. The book has many examples from real life cases of wrongful cyber operations and these examples ensure that the author's reasoning becomes more relatable … the book is an excellent academic endeavour.' Upasana Dasgupta, Asian Journal of International Law

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108490276
    • length: 549 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 32 mm
    • weight: 0.87kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Does international law matter in cyberspace? Part I. Attribution:
    2. Attribution to a machine or a human: a technical process
    3. The question of evidence: from technical to legal attribution
    4. Attribution to a state
    Conclusion of Part I
    Part II. The Lawfulness of Cyber Operations:
    5. Internationally wrongful cyber acts: cyber operations breaching norms of international law
    6. The threshold of cyber warfare: from use of cyber force to cyber armed attack
    7. Circumstances precluding or attenuating the wrongfulness of unlawful cyber operations
    8. Cyber operations and the principle of due diligence
    Conclusion of Part II
    Part III. Remedies against State-Sponsored Cyber Operations:
    9. State responsibility and the consequences of an internationally wrongful cyber operation
    10. Measures of self-help against state-sponsored cyber operations
    Conclusion of Part III

  • Author

    François Delerue, Institut de Recherche stratégique de l’École militaire
    François Delerue is a research fellow in cyber defense and international law at the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM – Institut de Recherche stratégique de l'École militaire) and an adjunct lecturer at Sciences Po Paris. He is also rapporteur on international law for the Academic Advisory Board of the project EU Cyber Direct.


    • Winner, 2021 Book Prize, European Society of International Law (ESIL)

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.