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Do Nations Have the Right To Kill Enemy Hackers?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the do-nations-have-the-right-to-kill? dept.

Government 482

Nerval's Lobster writes "Cyber-attacks are much in the news lately, thanks to some well-publicized hacks and rising concerns over malware. Many of these attacks are likely backed in some way by governments anxious to seize intellectual property, or simply probe other nations' IT infrastructure. But do nations actually have a right to fire off a bomb or a clip of ammunition at cyber-attackers, especially if a rival government is backing the latter as part of a larger hostile action? Should a military hacker, bored and exhausted from twelve-hour days of building malware, be regarded in the same way as a soldier with a rifle? Back in 2009, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (which also exists under the lengthy acronym NATO CCD COE) commissioned a panel of experts to produce a report on the legal underpinnings of cyber-warfare. NATO CCD COE isn't funded by NATO, and nor is it a part of that organization's command-and-control structure—but those experts did issue a nonbinding report (known as "The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare") exploring the ramifications of cyber-attacks, and what targeted nations can do in response. It's an interesting read, and the experts do suggest that, under circumstances, a nation under cyber-attack can respond to the cyber-attackers with "kinetic force," so long as that force is proportional. Do you agree?"

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Yes. (4, Insightful)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year ago | (#43239491)

A nation should be able to retaliate against attack.

It would be morally wrong to not try a hacking counterattack first, however.

Re:Yes. (4, Insightful)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about a year ago | (#43239553)

No. There isn't enough transparency to be sure we are killing the right person in such a case. We bomb to many innocent people as it is.

Re:Yes. (4, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#43239785)

Cyber attacks falls under espionage. Nations have been killing spies for thousands of years. There is always a risk when killings spys of killing a civilion. They generally don't use bombs to do it though.

Re:Yes. (4, Insightful)

dnorman (135330) | about a year ago | (#43239915)

the difference is that a spy is traditionally on enemy soil, so are likely considered more fair game. a hacker is likely operating from a basement bunker in virginia etc...

Re:Yes. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239815)

I say we don't bomb enough innocent people.

Re:Yes. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239841)

Bombs for some innocent people, chocolate bars for others!

Re:Yes. (3, Insightful)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year ago | (#43239863)

I've been saying that war is too civil, too precise, and not horrific enough. War has become tolerable with attacks that kill exactly who you want with little collateral damage (usually). If war was more horrible people would do more to prevent it. Reminds me of the Star Trek episode "A Taste of Armageddon" which is a great episode (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Taste_of_Armageddon).

Buildings suspected to harboring haxors should be napalmed (just kidding...we should counter-hack them).

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239923)

turning a blind eye to all of history's genocides are we?

Re:Yes. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about a year ago | (#43239589)

The problem is locating the attacker.

Rather than the cracked computer that Grandma hasn't updated since she bought it 8 years ago.

Any cracker should be going through at least 2 levels of zombies he controls that are configured to dump all the logs to /dev/null.

Drone strike on the senior center.

Re:Yes. (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year ago | (#43239699)

... Rather than the cracked computer that Grandma hasn't updated since she bought it 8 years ago.

Right, and this is why the DOD hasn't really come down on one side or the other where cyberattack response is concerned.

Re:Yes. (5, Funny)

vidnet (580068) | about a year ago | (#43239807)

Let's do it. This would solve the growing cost of pensions, and open up lawns for kids everywhere.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239833)

Just think of the Medicare savings. Fiscally responsible!

Re:Yes. (2)

tokencode (1952944) | about a year ago | (#43239893)

You have assumed 2 things... A) we have to get this information the info on who is responsible by tracing the attacker's footsteps, we can obtain this information via old fashioned espionage, say an inside guy B) that we would retaliate against the specific person who performed the attack. If an attack is funded by a nation-state, the proportional response can be against that nation-state, not the individual. If China were to take out our electrical grid, the proportional response is to take out theirs, by whatever means we want to, not kill the guy who did it.

Re:Yes. (3, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about a year ago | (#43239595)

A nation should be able to retaliate against attack.

I think the old saying "If you play with fire, you might get burnt..." applies here. Do I think it is right, yes and no at the same time. Just because the hacker is sitting in an office typing on a keyboard doesn't mean he/she isn't inflicting real world harm on others in another part of the world. At the same time, I think it would likely be a huge escalation to go from something being hacked to dropping a bomb - but that's not to say that dumb things don't happen - especially when politicians are involved.

I think anyone who is doing harm to another country, whether it is with a rifle and boots, or with a keyboard and an internet connection is fair game.

Re:Yes. (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#43239727)

It makes a huge difference whether somebody is armed or using a computer. So, what's next, we bomb Chinese factories because their goods harm Americans? Because that's about as rational as what you're suggesting.

Taking human life needs to be done thoughtfully, doing it because you can is something that states are supposed to aspire not to do. And really, they shouldn't be taking life over this sort of thing.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239831)


It's either us or them.

Re:Yes. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239947)

It makes a huge difference whether somebody is armed or using a computer.

NO. It makes a huge difference whether somebody is *acting as an agent of the country's government (military or intel agency)* or not.

If you are a hacker, in the employ and uniform of your nation's military, then you are a legitimate target in a state of war. If a military truck driver in a military convoy is a legitimate target, then so is a military hacker. If not in a state of war, and you are captured as a spy, you are also subject to the penalties of espionage, as well.

And in fact, in times of war, bombing factories, railroads, bridges, and other key infrastructure is a COMMONLY accepted tactic in winning a war. Many times these strikes are timed for times of the day when the facility wouldn't be used, or notification is given of the intent to strike these types of targets - via leafleting, radio broadcast, etc. - and "if you don't want to be in the crosshairs, you might want to stay home."

This "nobody should die in times of war" is a ridiculous extreme. War is a nasty, unpleasant business, but sometimes it is *necessary,* sometime it is *justified,* and sometimes it is *moral.* Let's not confuse "do we have the right to launch a cruise missile at any location on the globe we think might be involved in a DDOS," with "enemy hackers in the employ of the enemy nations' government are legitimate targets during a state of war, and engaging in espionage and thus liable for the consequences, in a state of peace."

Likewise, I would expect any hackers in the employ of the US military would be subject to the same consequences if they are caught.

Re:Yes. (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#43239747)

It does need tio be considered carefully, but a cyberwarfare hacker and facility are every bit as much a legitimate target of war as a central headquarters, signals intelligence installation or codebreakers. However, if a shooting war hasn't (yet) broken out, it is also just as much an escalation as bombing any other military target would be.

Yes. Cynicism begin. Valid targets everywhere... (5, Insightful)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43239941)

And shouldn't drone pilots from and within the USA be just as much a target for targeted killing by the "other side" even while they are located in the USA geographical boundaries? So if the cyberwarfare hacker is still a legitimate target while not actively engaged in the "war activity", couldn't a USA drone pilot be legitimately targeted while walking into a grocery store to buy groceries for her/his family and herself/himself? There's a lot to think about when we decide to expand the boundaries of what we are allowed to do while still claiming "nya-nya-nya, you can't do that to us while we can do that to you", mostly because of the assymetry of our tactical abilities.
Overreaching on moral boundaries because of our tactical abilities could be our downfall when we no longer have the tactical advantage. We no longer have the moral advantage (considering the things that have already been done in "our" name, since it is our USA and our armed forces and our "special forces" that have carried out extra-ordinary rendition, torture in Abu Ghraim, extra-judicial kidnappings and extra-judicial extra-warfare executions/assassinations) but it makes to sense to keep digging ourselves deeper when we could actually be a beacon of sensibility to the world. Oh, wait, that's not really our goal, is it, regardless of whether the Republicans or Democrats are leading in the Executive or in the Legislative branches of our government.

oops misspelled asymmetry (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43239977)

oops, I mis-spelled "asymmetry" as "assymetry", but then again our "asymmetry" is a metric/measure of our assiness, isn't it? humor from mis-spelling, or freudian slipperiness from mis-spelling? signed, ms. mis-spellings-r-us.

Re:Yes. (1)

bonehead (6382) | about a year ago | (#43239757)

I think anyone who is doing harm to another country, whether it is with a rifle and boots, or with a keyboard and an internet connection is fair game.

I agree with this, but it is still a matter of degrees. The level of retaliation should be at least somewhat in scale with the potential damage the hacker could do. Robbing some bank accounts is one thing, disabling the cooling system in a nuclear reactor is something else.

And, of course there's the problem if positively identifying the real attacker. But once that's done with certainty, then yes, they're every bit as fair game as someone charging at citizens with a rifle.

A parallel (4, Insightful)

mhajicek (1582795) | about a year ago | (#43239719)

Should a factory worker manufacturing weapons and munitions be targeted? In war historically they have been. I think the main problem now is that we don't have distinct times of war and peace, we have a messy in-between all the time.

Re:A parallel (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#43239805)

yes to give a real life example my father was bombed out of his house in WW2 the Luftwaffe was aiming for the big spitfire plant nearby at castle bromwitch - lucky he wasn't in the house at the time or I would not be here :-)

Re:Yes. (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43239853)

they don't have the right to just kill random dudes around the world without a trial. where the fuck did you get that idea? obama? bush?

maybe, maybe if they first define that they're in a war with the said enemy country and then start bombing them or invade them and kill the said hacker in battle(just shooting them in cold blood and not taking them as POW would still not be right).

even then it's debatable if they have the right for it. doesn't mean that some countries wouldn't do shit like that without declaring war though. it just doesn't make it right.

where the fuck did you guys learn your ethics for war? from fucking terrorists? what's next, saying it's ok to use mustard gas on suspected hooligans since shop keepers have a right to defend their porch? gunning down someone who stole your wifi is ok?

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239911)

A response should be proportional to the attack. You don't nuke a city because your server has been pawned.

Re:Yes. (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43239931)

Sorry, but what's a proper counter-attack?

What if the first attack disabled banking services while the response disabled all power to all hospitals?

One is more likely to cost lives than another.

I think it's better to just say "yes" and be done with it. The fact is these rules are set to convey what an actor should expect in retaliation. If is is expected that a bombing attack or a sniper's bullet may be the return for engaging a target (because let's face it, the attack may have been enough to disable hacking options) then so be it.

But we can be guaranteed one thing. In a world where the US thinks copyrights are a national security concern, nothing will be understood or interpreted in any sensible manner.

Proportionate Response (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43239507)

If said hacker is messing with infrastructure, yes. That sort of thing can put lives at risk.

Re:Proportionate Response (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43239571)

Will you apply those rules to the home team?

Re:Proportionate Response (1)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about a year ago | (#43239629)

Of course not. It's the other guys that need to die in the name of our righteous cause. Not us.

Re:Proportionate Response (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#43239659)

We already have rules covering the home team.

Re:Proportionate Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239759)

Except we don't know what those rules are, or when they're supposed to be applied and to what element of the home team they apply to, and what can be done in total secret. Rules be damned because it's just that important, to someone.

Re:Proportionate Response (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43239989)

I would but my "team" doesn't represent me. And I believe that is the case for most governments these days.

Fact is, the government and the people are far enough apart these days to be completely different species.

Re:Proportionate Response (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#43239657)

And in some cases is a war crime eg targeting hospitals power supply that would be a war crime under current law

Re:Proportionate Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239669)

So lets say your machine is a zombie taken over by a hacker. The Chinese military gets attacked, and it's coming from your machine. How much burden of proof do they need to have before they are permitted to kill you on your way to work? Who is the judge?
Do they have the right to just call up Comcast and verify your IP and street address and then send you a present?

This opens up an entire new world over what is clandestine, what is a military activity, what is an act of war, etc.
I am glad this is being addressed, but I hope people realize that the burden of proof in establishing WHO is attacking is very very difficult.

Re:Proportionate Response (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#43239811)

Permitted? We're talking about warfare, the enemy rarely asks for permission!

If you mean morally, the equivalent would be if an army hid a weapons cache in your basement without your knowledge.

Re:Proportionate Response (2)

alexgieg (948359) | about a year ago | (#43239851)

Well, one could calculate the total amount of force used by the hacker while pressing his keys and retaliate proportionally. One trembling punch and two pokes per hacked site should be about right.

Re:Proportionate Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239925)

Why is critical infrastructure connected to the open internet?

Pointless question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239513)

Like we would actually launch a bomb at China or Russia.

Re:Pointless question (2)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year ago | (#43239741)

We don't use bombs. But we do use code designed to disable equipment used to make nuclear weapons.

Much more fruitful, these cyber-attacks. Surgical targeting of those waging war is better than the insanity of drones and bad intelligence.

You mean "Should a hacker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239531)

bored and exhausted from twelve-hour days of attacking an enemy's infrastructure, be regarded in the same way as a soldier with a rifle, bored and exhausted from twelve-hour days of attacking an enemy's infrastructure?

of course the answer is yes.

Nuclear accident (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239539)

What if the cyber attack caused a nuke plant to go into meltdown?
What if the cyber attack caused long term disruption of the electrical grid?
What if the cyber attack caused a missile launch?

I think a 'kinetic' response would be acceptable in those circumstances. I'm sure I could come up with more situations since those were all off the top of my head.

Re:Nuclear accident (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239599)

The problem is that simply removing them from their keyboards (forcefully) will do the same thing as shooting them in the head.

Then after said removal they can account for their crimes.

Re:Nuclear accident (1)

bonehead (6382) | about a year ago | (#43239791)

Then after said removal they can account for their crimes.

Yeah, 'cuz that's never full of controversy.


Re:Nuclear accident (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239875)

Remember the USA doesn't support the world court. That's why they have Gitmo.

High risk of mistakes being made (2)

stoofa (524247) | about a year ago | (#43239541)

There are enough fatal errors made when soldiers and armed police kill innocent people carrying brooms, and the like, that are mistaken for firearms. With all the spoofing techniques available, how certain could they be that a strike was based on stringent enough intelligence?

Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239547)

Nuke the hackers!

It goes both ways. (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year ago | (#43239559)

How about another question, do enemy hackers have the right to kill a nations citizens? I think the answer to that question will be the same.

Re:It goes both ways. (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | about a year ago | (#43239687)

A "right"? No, of course not. It's not a question of "having the right to commit an act of war". You commit an act of war you either win the fucking war you just started or you lose the fucking war and you take the fucking consequences.

Strongly Agree (5, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#43239567)

Now, to hack into RIAA headquarters and launch an attack from there in the name of Al Quaeda! Take off every drone!

Re:Strongly Agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239839)

Someone set up us the failed meme. You accidentally the word zig.

Golden Rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239587)

If your plan is to kill then expect to be killed in retaliation.

Fair is fair.

Why post this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239597)

You invalidated everything about the source by telling us it had nothing to do with NATO. Come back when someone with actual authority issues a report.

Irrelevant (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43239601)

The biggest threats to our freedom, safety, and economic well being come from our own governments, not foreign ones. When we start using proportional force against internal threats, we can start talking about what proportional force against external threats is.

IOW, I'm a lot more scared of Goldman Sachs than I am scared of China.

Really? (2)

Spillman (711713) | about a year ago | (#43239615)

I never even considered this possibility until right now. I mean killing someone for hacking? I would generally say no, but what if its an infrastructure sort of thing. Like they hacked into a hospital and fiddles with patient records and people died, or they hacked into ATC and caused plane crashes? Should they be tried for murder? If we are at war with that country should they just be attacked by drones and killed off like an enemy combatant? I don't really like where this train of thought is heading, it's like the futuristic dystopia is almost here!

Re:Really? (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#43239817)

What the summary is describing is espionage. Spies have been killed for stealing tech and breaking things for hundreds if not thousands of years. Just because a spy can program doesn't give them special status.

well Duh (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#43239619)

Yes obviously if attacks are of a serious level then eventually some one is going to go kinetic - taking out undersea cables using ROV's is doable for some countrys or a 2000kg Jdam on top of the countrys cable lading points.

Or less serious have your man from universal exports / SAG group do a hardcore run and find the right manhole covers pour in diesel add polystyrene packing elements and a short delay fuse.

In fact close reading of something the Foreign secretary said in a recent documentary on the SIS (MI6) recently implied that this had been done.

Two birds, one bomb (1)

cjfs (1253208) | about a year ago | (#43239627)

Now we can finally get rid of all those meddling proxies and exit nodes!

Damn those enemy combatant hacker-terrorists polluting the RAIN-clouds and causing your PVR to miss recordings!

So long as attribution is reliable enough (-1, Flamebait)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#43239641)

The red Chinese, like all Third World scum, only fear and respect force. For the same reasons why Arab and Muslim countries LOVE the Russians. They love and fear power, and have a homocidal hatred of weakness.

Only way to rein in the thieving bastards -- swiftly kick seven shades of black and blue out of them when they attack, and make it clear why.

Re:So long as attribution is reliable enough (1)

coffee-breaks (2867847) | about a year ago | (#43239917)

wow using words like "scum" to describe people from third word and you get a 3 score. I guess the only way to get karma points on this racist site is to spew hatred and racist language against the "current enemies of USA" that happen to be China and the Arabs.

Re:So long as attribution is reliable enough (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43239979)

The "red Chinese" were Second World scum, hello? Or did we not get the memo?

Who can take anyone who, in 2013, uses a word like "red Chinese". As if the nationalists are threatening to come across the Strait of Taiwan in an amphibious invasion of Fujian province or something. Jeez, join us in the modern age old-timer, or to make you more comfortable..."Nixon's the One '68!" [presidentsusa.net]

How do we know? (1)

Calydor (739835) | about a year ago | (#43239645)

There is enough trouble as it is proving that an IP on a file sharing network is legit and it is the current owner of that IP who is sharing a file. With the resources available to a government agency, how likely is it that an IP would actually point at the source of the attack?

This is going to lead to the bombing of apartment buildings with tons of collateral damage.

Sure why not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239647)

If americans can kill anyone they like with drones, then any other country should be able to as well.

Sort of like how any country now has carte blanche to torture americans as they see fit. Isn't it nice to set the world standards like this! thanks america!

Key is kinetic (1)

alcourt (198386) | about a year ago | (#43239663)

The summary I read restricted a "kinetic response" to cases where "kinetic damage" occurred. For those who do not read that language, that means no dropping bombs unless physical damage is done.

So Iran might have been justified under this doctrine in attacking the creators of Stuxnet, but South Korea would not be justified under this doctrine in launching a few artillery shells/missiles at the initiator of whoever attacked them, because while wiping hard drives is really annoying, it does not rise to the level of "kinetic damage". Note, taking power offline may not even rise to the level of kinetic damage, even though there is serious issues caused. That gets into the fine interpretations though.

Most authorized retaliations are purely online/computer under the doctrine.

Missiles are not an "Act of War" (2)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#43239665)

If memory serves, the US government doesn't consider firing missiles into a foreign country an act of war (used as justification for the missile attacks into Syria).

If firing missiles into a country isn't an act of war, which surely killed foreign citizens at the time, then by that logic it is OK for a country to kill foreign hackers.

Just get the geo-location of their IP address and fire off a couple of missiles. Or (as described here [imdb.com]) have agents drive a jeep into the cul-de-sac of the house in question, fire off a bazooka or M47 or other portable "instrument of justice" into the house, and drive off.

Really, it's a no-brainer.

Libya, not Syria (2)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#43239767)

Whups - we launched missiles into Libya, not Syria. Hard to keep these issues straight.

I don't believe we launched missiles into Syria yet - have we?

Re:Missiles are not an "Act of War" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239799)

If memory serves, the US government doesn't consider firing missiles into a foreign country

Sure, as long it's not the other way around?

If killing the hacker is a proportional response (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#43239693)

Say someone is trying to take down the power supply in a hospital or disable safeguards in a nuclear plant. But, this is one of those probably fictitious "24" scenarios. If you have that much information to find the guy, you should already have enough intel to stop him by more reasonable means.

They already does (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#43239705)

Every nation on Earth already has the right to kill whoever they want.

But in this particular case, the question is not do they have the right but do they want to go to war with the country that citizen is part of or not.

DDOS != MOAB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239711)

DDOS != MOAB, unless MOAB to Cable Landing Station or POP solely affecting confirmed opponent, because no one ever has ever used someone else's computer or a foreign relay to do their dirty work. For some reason I see Grandma in Kansas being blown up with a hellfire missile for someone in Estonia downloading a file...

Any man hacking in the prone position in bed... (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#43239717)

a nation under cyber-attack can respond to the cyber-attackers with "kinetic force," so long as that force is proportional.

What defines "proportional" in this case? Do they have to spend a night in the box?

I'm gonna answer on behalf of the crackers... (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | about a year ago | (#43239723)


I'm sure everyone in that league wants a justification that leads to an arms buildup.


Only Nation that should be allowed is the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239735)

Only the US under Mr. Obama should be allowed to use drones to attack all those who oppose Mr. Obama and Microsoft.

Once all the drones have been upgraded with the latest service packs, hotfixes and running the latest Windows Operating System and other Microsoft products, the US should be allowed to use those drones to attack any 'hackers', 'pirate websites', and others which opposes Mr. Obama and Microsoft.

We fully trust Mr. Obama and Microsoft in protecting the good people of the US and the rest of the world from 'hackers', and 'pirate websites'. They have defined 'hackers' as anyone who does not run Microsoft products at home, work or school, and 'pirate websites' as any website that does not praise Microsoft, Mr. Obama or promotes 'hacking software' such as linux, openbsd, firefox, mysql, and zimbra.

Mr. Obama under the guidance of Microsoft, should be able to target RMS, Torvalds, and others as they are the true terrorist in the world. FSF/Gnu has cost Microsoft billions of dollars over the years, as they choose to give away not only complied versions of their software, but also provide access to the source code of those applications. This is a true act of terror for anyone who understands the meaning of software development.

As Mr. Gates said in an interview a few weeks ago, we need to give Mr. Obama absolute power in order to do what is needed to protect the US and all people of the world.

Let's all give Microsoft and Mr. Obama that absolute power they both require to make the US and the world a safe place for everyone.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239743)

Given that the government barely seems capable of comprehending the fact that an IP address is not the same as a fingerprint in terms of identifying a perpetrator, I'd be inclined to say "no".

But if it can be proven without any doubt that a suspect is indeed the perpetrator, and that the hacking crime did in fact take lives or *directly* (none of this "might have BS like prosecutors have quipped with Bradley Manning) put lives at risk? Then yes, I would be all for treating them as enemy combatants. But only then.

CAPTCHA: "presume"

Well sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239745)

Violence is the obvious response to every action considered hostile or insults me or my people. Look at how good it has worked over the past thousands of years.

Wrong targets. (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43239751)

"We are certain there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

Thousands of deaths later... evidence emerges this was a complete fabrication.

"A broader definition of imminent","No specific threat","Without trial or due process."

Quoting recent media regarding the Obama Administration's use of drones against Americans domestically.

Now, these are just the military examples. How many people have been given the death penalty after exhausting all of their appeals, due process, etc., only to later have it emerge that authorities lied, omitted key evidence, or coerced confessions? More than you're probably comfortable admitting.

And now, we're going to entrust the government with making the correct and accurate assessment of who the hacker is, and then use lethal force on them? We can't even properly trace a 911 call before sending the SWAT team to a guy's house in an attempt to get him killed even after the guy warned them this would happen ahead of time! What the sam hell makes any of you think they're going to do better on a network with far less security and safeguards than our public telecommunications network?

Re:Wrong targets. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239953)

"We are certain there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

Thousands of deaths later... evidence emerges this was a complete fabrication.

Sounds like social hacking which resulted in the deaths of thousands. Should there be a response?

No. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43239763)

"Do nations have the right?" - no, only individuals have rights. Groups of people do not have rights that are different from other groups of people.

More pressing is the question: how to protect yourself against a drone strike?

Certainly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239777)

If we can send drones into a foreign country to bomb houses under the pretext that foreign operatives are conducting operations against US interests, it seems only appropriate that they get to send a drone to blow-up the apartment building of that 12 year-old kid that's fuzzing their defense ministry's computers. That's just common sense.

Spies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239781)

Does anyone know what agreement is on spies? I would imagine computer hackers should receive similar treatment.

attack - counterattack (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about a year ago | (#43239789)

If the answer to the article's question is yes, then the hackers would know that they may be targeted with lethal force. Once they know that, they may start to carry firearms themselves (without the training that actual combatants have). This would lead to chaos, as they might start shooting themselves, their cube neighbors, the shopkeeper down the street, the telemarketer on the phone...

I say *NO*! We don't need even more wanna be ganstas shooting at just anything that freekin moves. What happens in the matrix, stays in the matrix!

if Yes Next question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239803)

Why isnt it legal to deliberately target and kill politicians and government officials during war?

Depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239819)

If a hacker tries to, say, bring down air traffic control or the nation's power grid, then if a timely drone fired rocket can stop their actions (even if that means killing them), then yes. Take one life to save many, when the one is putting the many in harms way? Seems like a no-brainer. However, when lives are not at risk, then the answer is no. (However drone strikes on the hacker's location, with a 1 minute "gtfo or die" call is warranted.

"Proportional" (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#43239849)

Well, given the "proportion" the justice seems deems fair for copyright infringement (multi-million dollar judgements) and violating the terms of service of websites (20+ years in jail, million-dollar fines) I'd say the appropriate response to, say, defacement of a government website by a foreign hacker is a tactical nuclear weapon lobbed at him.

yeah, sure (1)

markhahn (122033) | about a year ago | (#43239899)

if a country can kill hackers, shouldn't it be able to call in the drones against tax cheats, dishonest bankers, publishers of unflattering new articles, jokes which insult the dignity of the nation...

Who cares as long as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239909)

I get to eat my McDonalds getting fat and lazy while jerking off to American Idol or what ever other "reality" show is currently on. That's why the news is so watered down. Can have the slaves revolting.

Why noy? (2)

aklinux (1318095) | about a year ago | (#43239933)

I fail to see where someone on a computer is any less valid a target than roads, railroads, ships, ports, & factories have been in past wars. All may contain civilians, but all are contributing to the war effort.

BTW - "proportional"? What does that have to do with the situation?

Sure ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239935)

Declare them 'unlawful combatants', and proceed to make up whatever rules you think apply.

Seems to be working for the US in deciding that pesky Geneva convention doesn't apply to people who don't wear uniforms and line up for you to shoot at.

Responsibility and Proportional Response (1)

tokencode (1952944) | about a year ago | (#43239945)

When considering state-sponsored hacking, responsibility needs to be traced back to the state level, not the individual. Additonally, the proportional response should be based on the intended outcome of the attack. If China tries to take out the US power grid, the proportional response should be to take out their power grid by a means of our choosing. That may or may not include physical damage, missiles etc. We all know that cyber-attacks can have real world consequences, they must be met with real-world responses. Attacking the "hacker" is like trying to go after the soldier who fired the missile, rather than the country he works for.

If that was correct... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43239955)

it follows that China is legally entitled to attack America since it also claims to be targeted by American hackers(not just the other way around).

No (1)

HtR (240250) | about a year ago | (#43239971)

I didn't think any country had the "right" to kill anyone living in another country, unless the countries were formally at war.

- Do you think the US has the right to kill someone currently living in another country if that individual is breaking US laws?
- Do you think a foreign government has the right to kill an American living in the US if that individual is breaking that foreign country's laws?

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