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New Bill Would Let You Hack A Hacker Back

By March 18, 2017May 25th, 2021Cybersecurity

Should it be legal to hack a hacker who is intent on attacking you? It’s an interesting, touchy debate, with powerful opinions on both sides.

On the one hand, hacking is universally regarded as an illegal act, even when conducted in self-defense. After all, it invariably involves breaching a network you do not own. Furthermore, a crucial component is often the insertion of malicious code into the penetrated network that will either disable it, or allow you to track the activities of the network’s owner.

On the other hand, in the physical world, if you are threatened, you are within your rights to defend yourself, including conducting actions that would result in the death of the person who is attacking you. Given that simple truth, an increasing number of people have been demanding similar attitudes in the digital realm.

This has culminated in a new bill, proposed by Georgia Representative Tom Graves. The bill, known as the Active Cyber Defense Certainty (ACDC) Act, would empower the victims of hackers to make use of “limited defensive measures that exceed the boundaries of one’s network,” in order to identify and potentially stop a hacker.

The bill has a broad base of support, but detractors point out that there are key differences between the digital and physical worlds, and that the “self-defense” paradigm that works in the physical world may not translate seamlessly to the digital.

For instance, if a person is physically assaulting you, then you can clearly identify your attacker. In the digital world, the identity of your attacker may not be readily apparent.
Second, while owning a gun for home defense is seen by many as being a sensible precaution, the digital equivalent may be owning a private botnet that could be used in defensive counterattacks if and when the assailant can be identified – but is that the world we want to live in?

It’s too soon to say whether the bill will pass, and even if it does, it may create as many problems as it solves. The debate rages on.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.