Who are the ‘players’ of this novel battlefield? As interstate relations are mainly the quintessence of international law, the actors operating in cyberspace that are of interest for the subject of this paper are basically sovereign states. As far as cyber warfare operations are concerned, they can potentially be waged in two different modes. Primarily, a sovereign state can hire a group of hackers, which would be considered as a non-state actor. State attribution for their acts will be discussed in Part II of this paper. Moreover, current trends show that in the near future, every technologically advanced state will have a ‘cyber’ division as a separate military branch.


The Hacker Manifesto

In any case, the Hacker Manifesto is thought to be the cornerstone of the hacker culture, also known as The Conscience of a Hacker, serving as an ethical foundation for hacking, shedding light on the hackers’ motives and phychology, written in January 1986.

We explore… and you call us criminals.
We seek after knowledge… and you call us criminals.
We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias… and you call us criminals.
You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals.
Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.
I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can’t stop us all… after all, we’re all alike.
+++The Mentor+++

Who is a hacker?

In the Jargon File, aka The New Hacker’s Dictionary, edited and maintained by computer programmer and open source software advocate Eric Steven Raymond, the term hacker is defined etymologically as follows:

:hacker: n. [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating {hack value}. 4. A person who is good at programming quickly. 5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in `a UNIX hacker’. (Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.) 6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example. 7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations. 8. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence `password hacker’, `network hacker’. The correct term is {cracker}.



Classification according to PERMISSION – AUTHORISATION (Black, Grey, White Hat Hackers)
Classification according to KNOWLEDGE – PROFICIENCY (Neophytes, Script Kiddies, Crackers, 31337 – Elite Hackers)
Classification according to MOTIVATION – ABETMENT (Hactivists, Cyber Criminals, Non-State Actors, State Actors)


Hacking Manifesto, Loyd Blankenship, aka The Mentor, 1986 Phrack ezine, Volume One, Issue 7, Phile 3 of 10.

The Jargon File, aka The New Hacker’s Handbook, Eric Steven Raymond (ed.), version 4.4.8, originally created in 1975.

Ethical Hacking, CC Palmer, 2001 IBM Systems Journal 40 (3): 769.