Hack­ing the hack­ers

The Week (US) - - News 11 -

With hack­ers be­com­ing more brazen, some in the se­cu­rity com­mu­nity are ad­vo­cat­ing that busi­nesses go on the of­fen­sive, break­ing into their at­tack­ers’ sys­tems to steal back or delete stolen data or even dam­age their com­put­ers. Ear­lier this year, Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) pro­posed a bill, known as the Ac­tive Cy­ber De­fense Cer­tainty Act, that would ex­empt com­pa­nies vic­tim­ized by cy­ber­at­tacks from laws that pro­hibit them from ac­cess­ing oth­ers’ sys­tems with­out per­mis­sion. The strat­egy is con­tro­ver­sial. Many hack­ers com­man­deer other peo­ple’s com­put­ers and servers to launch at­tacks, mak­ing it likely that coun­ter­at­tacks could hit in­no­cent sys­tems, creat­ing more chaos in an al­ready chaotic cy­ber­se­cu­rity land­scape. But hack­ing back is al­ready be­ing prac­ticed qui­etly by many busi­nesses, said Davi Ot­ten­heimer, pres­i­dent of se­cu­rity con­sul­tancy Fly­ingPen­guin. “Al­most every large or­ga­ni­za­tion I con­sult with has some form of hack-back go­ing on,” he said.

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