Where Next With Hacking Back Against Cyber Crime?

In his first foreign trip since being sworn into office, President Joe Biden is in Europe this week to meet with global leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. There are numerous important aspects to this story and lots of advice on how Biden should handle the situation. But one closely watched aspect to this story includes what can be said, and done, to curtail cyber crime and stop accelerating ransomware attacks?

The Russian government has denied any involvement in ransomware, which may be technically true, but many global leaders are calling for countries to do more to stop criminals who may be operating within their borders.

Indeed, FBI Director Christopher Wray compared the ransomware challenge to 9/11 and called for a coordinated fight across society.

I appeared on MiTechNews last Monday with Mike Brennan to discuss our global ransomware situation, and what the U.S. can do to address the problems at a national level. (Note: It is widely recognized that public- and private-sector companies need to do more to protect themselves as a top priority.)


There have been numerous articles over the past month calling for organizations to go on the offensive or “hack back” against the cybercriminals. Indeed, several articles caught my attention this past week:

Idaho News: “BSU cyber expert: USA needs to ‘hack back’ at ransomware extortionists”
“Edward Vasko is the director of the Institute of Pervasive Cybersecurity at Boise State, created in 2020 to analyze and teach ways to protect our computers and devices from cyber attacks such as the growing threat from ransomware wrongdoers. … Vasko says the challenge facing America now is to play solid defense while developing a strong offense: in other words, learning to hack back.”

American University: “Hack-Back: Toward A Legal Framework For Cyber Self-Defense”

“The rights of private entities to use reasonable force has not extended to cyberspace. Under…