The sprawling reach of a malware campaign that hit government agencies and businesses using SolarWinds, and potentially other attack vectors according to recent reports, inspires new questions about appropriate response from private sector organizations.

Many enterprises, particularly those in tech and security, have tremendous insight into the workings of their own systems and the intrusions that might occur, which some believe puts them in a particularly unique position to hack back at attackers. Doing so, however, could bring a host of problems.

“Hacking back is still up to legal interpretations, but for the most part it's not legal under international law," said Joseph Neumann, director of offensive security at Coalfire. "It is the equivalent of me or you deciding to go punch a bear in the face that just stole your picnic basket. At the end of the day the bear is going to win.”

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