Originally published: March 15, 2013
Last updated: March 15, 2013 - 5:20pm
[Commentary] What worries me more than potential government cyber offense activities is the possibility that private sector entities or individuals may engage in offensive cyber operations.
Currently, much, if not all, of what we would envision as cyber offense behavior may be illegal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Attacks against computers in other nations potentially could violate those nation’s cybercrime laws and put those conducting the activities at risk for prosecution in foreign nations, as unenforceable as a prosecution or judgment might be. The potential for cyber vigilantism could be tremendous with limitations and safeguards in place. The old analogy of the Internet to the Wild West and being the Electronic Frontier could ring true with vigilante justice and a blurring of good-bad actors. The potential for the wrong computers to be counter-attacked could also be significant if there were no rules about who could act. Just imagine, if any individual with more than basic computer knowledge decided to track down someone targeting his system and try to take them down, the possibility is high that an innocent bystander, who’s computer may have been used as a pass-through device, would be harmed.
[Herrera-Flanigan is a partner at the Monument Policy Group]
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