Dwi Wisnu Budi Prabowo / 43762891
Justifying a Counter Cyber Attack:
Legal and Technical Perspectives
Highly developed information and communication technology (ICT) has offered benefits to users whether it is individual, organization or even states. However, it has also created concomitant threats to the security of each user. Critical data and infrastructures are constantly vulnerable to cyber attacks. On an individual level, the attackers attempt to steal private information and use it for their benefits as seen on credit card fraud. With respect to an organizational level, a company may lose their customers and unavoidably the profits once they are failed to keep customer’s data safely because a hacker steals the data from the company’s servers. In addition, at state level, cyber attacks might impose significant threats to national security when the target of cyber attacks are a strategic object, including government’s websites and national telecommunication infrastructures.
Subsequently, the critical part of cyber attack is how the users give response to deal with it. The dependency of technology is increasing, and so is the cyber attack. A variety of malwares and viruses seem apparently increasing in both number and locations. 1 Moreover, more potential perpetrators are also increasing. 2 Therefore, users need to react carefully whether they have to perform a passive approach or in an active way. Passive approach means that users equip their system with sophisticated hardware and software and solely rely on them to anticipate any attacks from outsiders.3 On the other hand, applying active approach means that users will not only defend themselves, but also perform a counter attack to undermine the function of the opposite system.
This paper aims to evaluate active approach in terms of its legal and technical feasibilities. The beginning of the paper explains the definition of cyber attack and counter cyber attack. The subsequent part discusses the legal issues on cyber countermeasures. The essay then elaborates technical aspects of counter cyber attacks.
Overall, there are chances for a cyber attack victim to conduct counter cyber attack,
K L McLaughlin, ‘Cyber Attack! Is a Counter Attack Warranted?’, Information Security
Journal: A Global Perspective, vol.20, no.1, 2011, pp.58-64.
2 W Y Debra, ‘Countering the Cyber-Crime Threat’, American Criminal Law Review, vol.43,
3 McLaughlin, op.cit., pp. 59-60.
although the victim encounters various legal and technical difficulties that make the chances are nearly impossible.
“Cyber attack” and “counter cyber attack” definition
The definition of “cyber attack” differs widely between scholars and experts. Some technical experts define the term as the attempts to access computer systems by unauthorized access that threaten the confidentiality, availability and integrity of a network resource.4 While some scholars describe cyber attack as a try to damage the functions of a computer network for the purpose of political or national security.5 The first definition is adequate to explain the technical aspect of cyber attack. However, it is insufficient to explain about motives of the attacks. Meanwhile, in the second definition, although it does not specifically address technical terms in detail, it covers motives of the attacks. However, the second definition might be hardly to include target of the attacks from individual or organizational group if the motives are about personal or business motives rather than political or national security.