Getting back when HACT: Congress’s idea to provide redress to recent cyberattacks

Amidst the ever-worsening onslaught of cyberattacks, companies are longing to go on the offensive, whether by “hacking-back” or by going after malicious actors in US courts. While Congress has previously refused to enable the former, it now appears more open to the latter, particularly with the introduction of the Homeland and Cyber Threat Act (the HACT Act):

  • The HACT Act, if passed, risks opening the doors to suits against the US Government, while the likelihood of success against foreign governments for cyberattacks in US courts will remain small.
  • The Supreme Court earlier this year recognized the peril in amending the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which allows only limited circumstances in which a foreign government can suffer suit in US courts.
  • Private companies remain better off shoring up defenses rather than planning to go on the offensive, either through hacking back or through vindicating past attacks in court.

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