The Technical Characteristics of Attribution: How Do You Know Who Did It? 

On November 17th, 2022, the Washington Foreign Law Society and The Stimson Center jointly hosted a webinar on The Technical Characteristics of Attribution: How Do You Know Who Did It? The panel, moderated by Dr. Christopher Ford (Director of Miter Corporation’s Center for Strategic Competition as Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover University), featured Emma Raffray (Chief Research and Analysis Officer at the Cyber Peace Institute), John Herring (Senior Government Affairs Manager of the Digital Diplomacy Team at Microsoft), and Rick Harris (Principal Cyber Security Policy Engineer at the Miter Corporation and Advisory Board Member for the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise). Additionally, Michael Teodori (WFLS President) offered introductory and closing remarks.

Summary of the event: Following the COVID-19 Pandemic and the untimely Russian invasion of Ukraine, Cyber attacks have continued to pose a grave threat now more than ever, making the development of cyber norms and the need for standardization of attribution procedures imperative. This need for advancement has prompted questions regarding how governments, the private sector, and even international organizations should handle these attacks, cumulatively shaping a considerable demand for improved cyber security.

During this roundtable, the panelists discussed several questions surrounding attribution, each giving their distinct perspectives on the issue. Firstly, Senior Government Affairs Manager John Herring helped to clarify the characterization and analysis of cyber attacks, Principal Policy Engineer Rick Harris described the benefits and drawbacks of the Miter Attack Framework, and acting Chief Research Officer Emma Raffray detailed the Cyber Peace Institute’s role in protecting victims from cyber attacks. The group then shared their thoughts on various questions from the moderator and the audience. They discussed which types of cyber attacks exist, the technical aspects and the frameworks necessary to respond to said attacks, and even the potential of misattribution, all while framing the real-world consequences. The group also discussed the role international institutions could play in streamlining attribution, keeping in mind how publicity and multilateral alliances would play in forging agreements around public attribution statements.

The Washington Foreign Law Society wishes to thank the panelists for their time and contributions.


Webinar recording available at:

Posted December 5, 2022 in: General News