The Ethics of Stockpiling Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

The development of new technology has allowed the evolution of new methods of warfare. The use of zero-days has propelled this exploration and empowered governments to remotely attack the software systems of their adversaries. Despite the potential military benefits of this weapon, government officials are still questioning whether they should stockpile zero-days, especially when the vulnerability is found in software that everyday citizens use. Analyses of previous zero-day attacks and the US government’s overpowering national security stance reveals that the consequences of stockpiling zero-days outweigh the benefits and are a clear violation of the rights of citizens.

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Cyberwarfare Conundrum: An Ethical Analysis

Traditional armed conflict is subject to conventions that govern the way wars are fought and protect those who are not involved. However, thus far, there are no equivalents to the Hague and Geneva Conventions of war for the cyber world, where artillery and explosives are replaced by viruses and malware. Therefore, this paper argues that it is imperative to establish international regulations to keep cyberwarfare ethical, based on the foundations provided by existing warfare conventions.

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