More companies are risking escalating retaliation with the hacker community by directly going after hackers who break into their systems, Reuters reports.The publication describes the new techniques as “active defense” or “strike-back” policies that use deception to either distract the target hacker with misinformation or to get the hacker to inadvertently reveal more about themselves and their machines. For example, Reuters notes that some companies create “beacons” that contain false information and are then traced back to hackers’ machines once they’re extracted.

These new, aggressive measures have proven controversial because, as security experts have told Reuters, there are “some cases where companies have taken action that could violate laws in the United States or other countries, such as hiring contractors to hack the assailant’s own systems.” What’s more, many security experts think that companies will only get fleeting satisfaction from retaliating against hackers because such actions could stir up the broader hacker community to take action against the company.

“There is no business case for it and no possible positive outcome,” John Pescatore, a National Security Agency and Secret Service veteran who now heads up Gartner’s Internet security practice, told Reuters.


Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.