The law & politics of cyberattack attribution

August 27, 2020 12:00 pm

Attribution of cyberattacks requires identifying those responsible for bad acts, including states, and accurate attribution is a crucial predicate in contexts as diverse as criminal indictments, insurance coverage disputes, and cyberwar. But the difficult technical side of attribution is just the precursor to highly contested legal and policy questions about when and how to accuse governments of responsibility. Although politics may largely determine whether attributions are made public, this talk argues that when cyberattacks are publicly attributed to states, such attributions should be governed by legal standards.

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Kristen Eichensehr is a professor of law at the University of Virginia. Eichensehr joined the Law School in 2020 after serving on the faculty of the UCLA School of Law.  

She writes and teaches about cybersecurity, foreign relations, international law and national security law. She has written articles on, among other things, the attribution of state-sponsored cyberattacks, the important roles that private parties play in cybersecurity, the constitutional allocation of powers between the president and Congress in foreign relations, and the role of foreign sovereign amici in the Supreme Court. She received the 2018 Mike Lewis Prize for National Security Law Scholarship for her article, “Courts, Congress, and the Conduct of Foreign Relations,” published in the University of Chicago Law Review.

Eichensehr received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she served as executive editor of the Yale Law Journal and articles editor of the Yale Journal of International Law. 

This event is co-hosted with the Ostrom Workshop.


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