US-China Security Review Commission Discusses ‘Hack-Back’ Laws

Commission’s annual report to Congress recommends a closer look at whether companies should be allowed to launch counterattacks on hackers.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission released its annual report to Congress Wednesday, outlining the challenges of cybercrime attacks launched between China and the U.S.

Among the Commission’s recommendations was to further the conversation about whether or not the private sector should be able to legally go on the offensive — either directly or through an official intermediary — and launch counterattacks against threat actors that have compromised their systems. From the report, the Commission recommends:

“Congress assess the coverage of U.S. law to determine whether U.S.-based companies that have been hacked should be allowed to engage in counterintrusions for the purpose of recovering, erasing, or altering stolen data in offending computer networks. In addition, Congress should study the feasibility of a foreign intelligence cyber court to hear evidence from U.S. victims of cyberattacks and decide whether the U.S. government might undertake counterintrusions on a victim’s behalf.”

The report discussed the role countermeasures play in “deterrence,” quoting U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter stated, who said: “[Deterrence] works by convincing a potential adversary that it will suffer unacceptable costs if it conducts an attack on the United States and by decreasing the likelihood that a potential adversary’s attack will succeed.”

Read the full report here.

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