Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Committee Member(s)

Benjamin N. Schiff
Eve Nan Sandberg


Cyber, Cyber security, Cyber warfare, Cyber crime, Cyber, Cyber attack, Cyber operation, Stuxnet, Article 51, Un, Un charter, Jus ad bellum, Jus in bello, International law, Rome Statute, Aggression, Self-defense, International Court of Justice, ICJ


The technical capabilities of the Stuxnet worms-launched by the US and Israel against Iran's nuclear facility-prove that the operation could be considered an act of aggression, as defined in the Rome Statute. Further, this paper asserts that Article 51 of the UN Charter is insufficient to addressing malignant cyber operations.

The paper is organized as following: 1) Introduction, 2) Research Limitations, 3) Context: International Relations Theory and Types of International Law, 4) Understanding “Cyber” Within The Scope Of This Paper, 5) The Stuxnet Operation, 6) Historical and Legal Roots of “Aggression” and “Self-Defense”, 7) Stuxnet as an act of aggression, 8) Why Iran Cannot Legally Retaliate, 9) Conclusion, 10) Bibliography.

I draw my analysis from ICJ cases, the UN Charter and other foundational documents, technical analyses of the Stuxnet operation, and other historical and political books and articles.