U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Monday for global rules to minimize the impact of electronic warfare on civilians as massive cyber attacks look likely to become the first salvoes in future wars.
Computer hackers, many of them believed to be state-sponsored groups, last year disrupted multinational firms, ports and public services on an unprecedented scale around the world, raising awareness of the issue.
Last week, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies on charges of conducting a criminal and espionage conspiracy using social media to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.
“Episodes of cyber warfare between states already exist. What is worse is that there is no regulatory scheme for that type of warfare, it is not clear how the Geneva Convention or international humanitarian law applies to it,” Guterres said in a speech to his alma mater, the University of Lisbon.