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Hacking Back in Self-Defense: Is It Legal? Should it Be? David Willson, JD, LLM CISSP, Security + Titan Info Security Group, LLC.

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Presentation on theme: "Hacking Back in Self-Defense: Is It Legal? Should it Be? David Willson, JD, LLM CISSP, Security + Titan Info Security Group, LLC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hacking Back in Self-Defense: Is It Legal? Should it Be? David Willson, JD, LLM CISSP, Security + Titan Info Security Group, LLC

2 This presentation is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By viewing and participating in this presentation you understand that no attorney-client relationship is formed. This presentation and material herein should not be used as a substitute for actual legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state with whom you establish an attorney-client relationship. The ideas presented are only theories and should not be considered authorization or advice to take action and/or violate the law. Titan Info Security Group, LLC

3 Summer 2010: Retired from Army – JAG/Attorney for 20 years Licensed Attorney in NY and CT, waiving into CO. Ten years trial work, both prosecution and defense Ten years providing advice and support in the areas of satellite operations, information technology and security, and computer network operations Legal advisor to IOTC, NASS, and then JFCC-NW at NSA Just started Titan Info Security Group, LLC Frequent speaker at security conferences: RSA, CSI, HTCIA, Intt Cyber Crime Conf., Bsides, ISSA Titan Info Security Group, LLC

4 Published: An Army View of Neutrality in Space: Legal Options for Space Negation, The Air Force Law Review, Vol. 50, 2001 A Global Problem: Cyberspace Threats Demand an International Approach, Armed Forces Journal, July 2009; ISSA Journal, August 2009, lectured at CSI (as keynote) and RSA. When Does Electronic Espionage Become An Act of War? CyberPro Magazine, May 2010, ISSA Journal June 2010, lectured at International Cyber Crime Conference. Lectured on: Flying Through the Cloud, Investigations, Forensics and Legal Issues in Cloud Computing," at CSI and HTCIA; "Ethical Use of Offensive Cyberspace," at RSA Titan Info Security Group, LLC

5 Time Resources Revenue Hackers and their Botnets plague the networks of many businesses around the world! $78,000 stolen $151,000 stolen $241,000 stolen $115,000 stolen Titan Info Security Group, LLC

6 Coreflood is a computer virus used to steal personal and financial information from the machines it infects and return it to the operator of the Botnet where it can be used to steal funds, hijack identities and commit other crimes. The FBI estimates that the Coreflood Botnet enabled fraudulent transfers that cost businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars before the agency shut it down. (Govt Security News, John Mello, Jr.) Titan Info Security Group, LLC

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9 Bot or web Robots: software applications that run automated tasks over the Internet. The largest use of bots is in web spidering, in which an automated script fetches, analyzes and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. Recently bots have been used for search advertising, such as Google Adsense. Botnet: a collection of infected computers or bots that have been taken over by hackers and are used to perform malicious tasks or functions. A computer becomes a bot when it downloads a file (e.g., an attachment, malware on a website) that has bot software embedded in it. A botnet is considered a botnet if it is taking action on the client itself via IRC channels without the hackers having to log in to the client's computer. The typical botnet consists of a bot server (usually an IRC server) and one or more botclients Titan Info Security Group, LLC

10 Botnets have different topologies or command and control (CnC) structures. Most, it appears, use a compromised server as and IRC server, or referred to as the IRC daemon (IRCd). Multiple bots will communicate with the IRCd via a phone home function. Single point of failure : If the central CnC is blocked or otherwise disabled, the botnet is effectively neutered. This will become important as we get into the theory. Titan Info Security Group, LLC

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12 Yes: Timothy Mullen, chief information officer of AnchorIS Inc, says people should be allowed to neutralize one that is unwittingly spreading destructive Internet worms like "Nimda." No: C.H. "Chuck" Chassot of the Department of Defense's Command, Control, Communications & Intelligence office says "It is the DoD's policy not to take active measures against anybody because of the lack of certainty of getting the right person." Yes: Jennifer Stisa Grannick, litigation director at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School says "This is a type of defense of property," she said. "There is a lot of sympathy for that (kind of action) from law enforcement and vendors because we do have such a big problem with viruses." Titan Info Security Group, LLC

13 Respon- se Respon- se NothingBlock Call LE HackBack Remove Clean- up Business X finds malware on their networks in the form of a Bot that is receiving instructions from a host server via IRC chat. Titan Info Security Group, LLC

14 The law makes it illegal to gain unauthorized access to a computer Law Understand that highly probable hack back touches or effects innocent computer or networks Ethics You may awaken the beast!! Retribution Titan Info Security Group, LLC

15 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) A law to prevent trespass against a computer or network Applies to any protected computer Exceeds authorized access Computer Damage Loss

16 Titan Info Security Group, LLC Whoever intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access, and thereby XXX

17 Titan Info Security Group, LLC Unauthorized Access to a Computer Computer Trespass Self-Defense

18 Embed Code in the Phone Home function of a Bot. When the Bot connects to the IRC server the When the Bot connects to the IRC server the Code disables it. Titan Info Security Group, LLC

19 Did you have intent to access the innocent computer or server being used as the IRC server? Did you access that server without authorization? Did you cause harm, alter, or in some way have a negative impact on the innocent computer?

20 Titan Info Security Group, LLC Does an infected computer impliedly grant you access to their system if their computer is causing damage to or plaguing your computer or network? Wouldnt a traditional scenario of self-defense apply in this situation? Is the only driving factor imminence?

21 Titan Info Security Group, LLC Does an infected computer whose negligence allows your computer to be attacked and the attack is ongoing or imminent give you automatic authority to defend yourself by accessing that infected computer? Can the victim of a Bot attack claim that their code was automatic, used common protocols, followed the Bot into the infected server (IRCd), and blocked the Bot – did he exceed authorized access? Is the only driving factor imminence?

22 Titan Info Security Group, LLC David Willson, JD, LLM CISSP, Security + Titan Info Security Group, LLC Or text and text: titansecurity


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