At a glance.
- The gray area between white-hat hacking and data theft.
- Canada on alert for Russian cyberattacks.
- Russia claims kinetic retaliation possible over cyberattacks.
The gray area between white-hat hacking and data theft.
Former Amazon employee Paige Thompson is currently standing trial for allegedly stealing personal customer data from American bank holding company Capital One three years ago in what was considered one of the largest data breaches in the US. Thompson is accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, an anti-hacking law which forbids access to a computer without authorization, but her lawyers say her actions were altruistic, and that the data she posted was merely to demonstrate the severity of the online vulnerabilities she had discovered. Critics of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act contend that it unfairly punishes white-hat hackers who are attempting to expose digital weaknesses. Just last month, the Justice Department determined the law could no longer be used to prosecute hackers engaged in “good-faith security research.” Thompson’s trial will set a precedent by more clearly defining what research is considered “good-faith,” and what crosses the line. Brian Klein, one of Thompson’s lawyers, told the New York Times, “They are interpreting a statute so broadly that it captures conduct that is innocent and as a society we should be supporting, which is security researchers going out on the internet and trying to make it safer.” The Department of Justice, however, argues that Thompson was hoping to personally profit from the breach. Nicholas W. Brown, the US attorney for the Western District of Washington, wrote in a legal filing, “Even if her actions could be broadly characterized as ‘research,’ she did not act in good faith. She was motivated both to make money and to gain notoriety in the hacking community and beyond.”
Canada on alert for Russian cyberattacks.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino issued a warning that the country is on “high alert” for Russian cyberattacks. Global News Canada reports that the minister issued the warning Thursday to the House of Commons public safety committee, telling the committee members that the threat is not isolated to the federal government, but also the provinces and critical infrastructure. Mendicino said that he expects the attacks to target “Canadian interests like critical infrastructure but equally, to sub-national targets, different orders of government, different sectors to the economy.”
Russia claims kinetic retaliation possible over cyberattacks.
Russia has warned the West that direct military confrontation is possible following cyberattacks against the country. NBC News reports that this warning follows an apparent hack over the weekend against Russia’s housing ministry, with internet searches for the site leading to a “Glory to Ukraine” sign in Ukrainian. The Russian ministry is pointing fingers at the United States and Ukraine as cyberattacks continue to target the nation’s critical infrastructure and state institutions. A statement issued by the ministry’s head of international information security states, “The militarization of the information space by the West, and attempts to turn it into an arena of interstate confrontation, have greatly increased the threat of a direct military clash with unpredictable consequences.”