Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, argues that as nations engage in increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, “the targets in this new battle — from submarine cables to data centers, servers, laptops and smartphones — in fact are private property owned by civilians.” (By civilians, he also means companies.) If the attackers had used guns and bullets, the aggrieved country’s military would have sprung into action. But in the realm of cyberattacks, nations extend no such protections.

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