US Preparing to Do Digital Battle With Hackers – Will This Violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?

The US could launch pre-emptive cyber strikes against countries it suspects of threatening its interests with a digital attack, under a new set of secret guidelines to safeguard the nation’s computer systems. The rules – the country’s first on how it defends or retaliates against digital attacks – are expected to be approved in coming weeks, and are likely to be kept under wraps, much like the policies governing the country’s controversial drone programme. 

You can read more here: US draws up battle plan to stave off digital attack cyberstrikes – Americas – World – The Independent. The article states that a legal review of the guidelines has come back clear and the President has the power to order such strikes.

The question I am sure many of you are wondering is whether this preemptive counter-strike would violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The answer is no, it does not. Here is why:

18 U.S.C. § 1030 (f) states “This section does not prohibit any lawfully authorized investigative, protective, or intelligence activity of a law enforcement agency of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision of a State, or of an intelligence agency of the United States.”

There you have it – go get ’em!

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