Samuli Haataja (Griffith), ‘Cyber operations and autonomous cyber capabilities under international law in peacetime’ (16 May 2023)

Tuesday, 16 May 2023, from 2pm to 4pm, Porthania P545 (Faculty room).

In this seminar, Dr Samuli Haataja (Griffith) discusses how international law applies to the use of autonomous cyber capabilities in peacetime. Dr Haataja’s presentation is followed by comments prepared by Professor Kimmo Halunen (Oulu/National Defence University), a leading expert on cybersecurity. We are hoping that this debate also marks the beginning of new opportunities for collaboration between our universities.

The event is open to all interested.


The presentation first considers international law on the use of force, intervention, and sovereignty to assess when the use of these capabilities in offensive cyber operations violates international law. It then considers how international law on self-defence, countermeasures, and necessity apply to use of autonomous ‘hack backs’ by states in response to malicious cyber operations. The presentation concludes that the complexity of autonomous cyber capabilities can increase the risk of violations of international law, and that the development of autonomous hack backs is particularly problematic due to the increased risk of escalation of conflict. For these reasons it remains imperative for states to continue developing detailed accounts of how they consider international law to apply in the cyber context, including where autonomous cyber capabilities are used.

Provisional programme
  • 2:15pm Seminar opening
    Professor Panu Minkkinen (Helsinki)
  • 2:25pm Cyber operations and autonomous cyber capabilities
    Dr Samuli Haataja (Griffith)
  • 3.15pm Comments
    Professor Kimmo Halunen (Oulu/National Defence University)
  • 3:30pm Q&A/discussion
  • 3:45pm End of seminar
About the speakers

Samuli Haataja
Dr Samuli Haataja is Senior Lecturer at Griffith Law School, Griffith University, Australia. His research explores international law and cybersecurity with a focus on state-sponsored cyber operations under public international law. In addition to the book Cyber Attacks and International Law on the Use of Force: The Turn to Information Ethics (Routledge, 2019), he has published in various international law and technology journals.
Kimmo Halunen
Dr Kimmo Halunen is Professor of Cybersecurity at the University of Oulu and National Defence University in Finland. He has obtained his D. Sc. (Tech.) in computer engineering on hash function security in 2012 and has over 40 publications related to security, cryptography and blockchain technology in refereed conferences and journals. During his career he has coordinated a national project in post-quantum cryptography and lead national and international projects related to cybersecurity and cryptography (e.g. measuring the security of cryptographic primitives in the Finnish Defence Forces research program). He has also written expert reports for the Finnish government, given expert opinion for the Finnish Parliament and been interviewed for national media several times on the topics of cybersecurity and cryptography. Before starting as a professor, he worked at VTT for 8 years in different roles in research and management in the cybersecurity area. During 2014-2015 he visited the COSIC group in KU Leuven in Belgium for 9 months.