Chicago Journal of International Law


Cyberterrorism combines two of the most prominent developments of the last twenty years: the increasing reliance on the internet's infrastructure, and the threat of international terrorism committed by non-state actors. Although multilateral treaties aim to shore up some aspects of cybercrime, and the Security Council has taken steps towards preventing terrorist acts, international law appears to lack a cohesive approach for dealing with situations where cyberspace and terrorism overlap. This Comment proposes one such approach for tackling the emergent problem of cyberterrorism. International law has yet to articulate a satisfactory prohibition on, or definition of, "terrorism." Instead, international agreements ban pecific acts as inherently terrorist, although none of these bans clearly encompass cyberacts. While these agreements can be dispositive, the Security Council revealed its willingness after September 11 to identify, on an ad hoc basis, "terrorist acts." The Security Council then wrote Resolution 1373 in a way that created an international duoy that commands all states to prevent and respond to terrorist acts. This Resolution should be interpreted to recognize a similar duty on all states to prevent and respond to cyberterrorist acts, whenever the are identified as such. Recognizing this duty will probably lead to negligible changes in states' preventative acts, but it should establish a fundamental and reasonable responsibility on states to cooperate in response to the inevitable cyberterrorist act.