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A series of episodes in recent years – including Russia's cyber interventions to skew the United States' 2016 presidential election toward Donald Trump, the anonymous cyberattacks that disrupted Ukraine's electricity system in 2015, and the "Stuxnet" virus that destroyed a thousand Iranian centrifuges – has fueled growing concern about conflict in cyberspace.Beyond formal treaties, normative constraints on states also include codes of conduct, conventional state practices, and widely shared expectations of proper behavior among a group (which create a common law).With 173 countries having ratified the Biological Warfare Convention, states that wish to develop such weapons must do so secretly, and face widespread international condemnation if evidence of their activities becomes known.A more fruitful approach to normative controls on cyberwarfare may be to establish a taboo not against weapons but against targets. The U.S. has promoted the view that the Law of Armed Conflict, which prohibit deliberate attacks on civilians, applies in cyberspace. The GGE report of July 2015 focused on restraining attacks on certain civilian targets, rather than proscribing particular code.The development of normative controls on cyber weapons remains a slow – and, at this point, incomplete – process.
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