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Hacking Back: To Do or Not To Do?

Hacking Back: To Do or Not To Do?

In the event of a cyberattack, there many factors to consider when debating on how to respond. Is it ethical to hack back in retaliation? Originally presented at the IEEE Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security, researchers from Purdue University have outlined two potential frameworks for approaching the decision of whether to hack back. 

Hacking Back: To Do or Not To Do?







The Law Enforcement Approach

This approach views hacking attacks as criminal acts, where ethical decisions are based on United States laws, applicable international laws/treatises, and non-binding international standards and guidelines.

The Military Style Approach

The Military Style Approach considers cyber-attacks as an act of aggression, where military-type responses are acceptable. With this framework, the morality of hacking back is analyzed based on the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) – codification of the rules of war – and is used typically among government entities.

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