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A Right to Cybercounter Strikes: The Risks of Legalizing Hack Backs
IEEE IT Professional (2015)
  • Jan Kallberg, University of Texas at Dallas

The idea to legalize hacking back has gained traction the last years and received several influential corporate and political proponents in the United States and Europe. The growing frustration with repeated cyberattacks and lack of credible law enforcement pushes for alternative ways to prevent future cyberattacks. As of today, counter cyberattacks are illegal in a majority of the nations because it constitutes another cybercrime independent from the initial attack. If cyber counter attacks were legalized it raises a set of questions. The first line of questions are linked to the underlying assumptions that the proposal to legalize counter cyberattacks are based upon. The second line of questions are the embedded challenges to the role of the nation state. Privatized and allowed counter cyberattacks could jeopardize the authority and legitimacy of the state. The combined questions raised by hacking back undermines the viability of the action itself, hacking back is likely to be ineffective and have a negative impact on the development of Internet governance and norms.

  • cyber security,
  • hacking,
  • deterrence,
  • cyber,
  • cyber defense
Publication Date
Spring February 4, 2015
Citation Information
Kallberg, Jan, "A Right to Cybercounter Strikes: The Risks of Legalizing Hack Backs," IT Professional , vol.17, no.1, pp.30,35, Jan.-Feb. 2015 doi: 10.1109/MITP.2015.1