ACDC: Why the Vigilante Approach Isn’t Going to Work and Cooler Heads Should Prevail
There is widespread industry discussion and debate about the current Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act (ACDC), introduced to Congress in March of 2017, that would allow companies the right to hack back after a “persistent unauthorized intrusion.” This bill has become increasingly relevant in the cybersecurity community as a result of frustration with the sheer number of breaches, damage caused by them and low prosecution rates.
More specifically, ACDC allows individuals and companies to hack hackers if the goal is to disrupt, monitor or attribute the attack, or destroy stolen files. The bill does not allow counter-attackers to destroy anything other than their own stolen files and requires that someone “hacking back” under the bill’s provisions notify the FBI National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force.
An updated version of the bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on October 12 and then to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations on Nov. 1. Noting that an average of 86 percent of bills never make it out of subcommittee, there is a very reasonable chance the bill may never pass.
With the bill, sponsors and supporters are looking to address the increase in the frequency and magnitude of breaches and the public’s increasing frustration. However, the reality is that legalizing counter-hacking for private organizations is not the best solution and here’s why…