Is vigilante hacking legal?

Friday, 28 February 2003, 1:04 PM EST

Striking back at computers that are attacking a company or home network could be legal under US federal nuisance laws, a technology-law expert said on Thursday.

Curtis Karnow, attorney for law firm Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, stressed during a speech at the Black Hat Security Briefings conference in Seattle that no court case has yet established precedent regarding the use of a limited counterstrike to stop Internet attackers, but that nuisance statutes appear to apply.

"It has a lot of promise... if we can get the court to look at it," Karnow said. "The law allows you to go in without permission and abate, or stop, the nuisance. You can even sue the malefactor for the expense of the abatement."

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