If a hacked robo-surgeon kills a politician - is it an act of war?

Imagine a celebrated politician in an operating theatre, undergoing robot-assisted surgery. The remotely operated machine is hacked from a foreign server and goes awry, inflicting injury. Does this count as an act of war?

This lurid scenario comes courtesy of an article in Foreign Policy magazine about the international rules of cyber warfare. The first rule of cyberwar? There are no set rules.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2018, with the headline 'If a hacked robo-surgeon kills a politician - is it an act of war?'. Print Edition | Subscribe