The Hacked Become the Hackers as Companies Get Their Retaliation in First

By Gary Cutlack on at

A new trend is emerging in the besieged corporate world, where companies fed up of being the targets of aggressive hacks are engaging in "active defense" -- hacking the hackers.

While most of these attempts are more akin to delaying and diversionary tactics, some US companies are believed to have conducted illegal campaigns against those it believes might be planning hacks, going so far as to hire third-party contractors to hack their hackers pre-emptively.

The less aggressive techniques being employed include the placing of fake material on servers that encourage the hacker to garb something and leave, or leaving exotic and exciting sounding files in view, which the hacker then wastes his time trying to grab, leaving the more mundane stuff safe.

It would appear to be a rather futile battle, though, as White House cybersecurity advisor Rodney Joffe claims to have found evidence of hack attempts and data being extracted from 162 of the 168 largest revenue-earning companies in the US. [Reuters]