FBI doesn’t want companies to hack in retaliation

Major banks, retailers, manufacturers and other companies are fed up with the increasing amount of cyber attacks and are exploring hacking in revenge, something the FBI doesn’t seem too keen on, according to a Bloomberg report.

Based on the perception that the U.S. government is not doing enough to stop data breaches, some companies are looking to hack into criminal networks and take back their goods as well as stop future breaches. To help with the retaliation hacks, these companies are supposedly working with security firms.

Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg reports that the FBI is investigating who took down the Iranian servers responsible for launching cyber attacks against major banks last year. Supposedly, [company]JPMorgan[/company] Chase (whose unpatched server led to a data breach earlier this summer) advocated such a move in a secret meeting in February 2013. But a spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the bank didn’t present any sort of official plan of attack during the meeting and merely wanted the U.S. government to do more to prevent these kinds of large-scale breaches.

Other attendees of the closed meeting in New York included members of the FBI, Treasury Department, [company]Citigroup[/company], [company]Goldman Sachs[/company] and the New York Stock Exchange, reports Bloomberg.

U.S. officials eventually learned that the Iranian servers at the center of the banking hacks went down due to a third party, and as a result the FBI “began investigating whether any U.S. companies violated anti-hacking laws in connection with the strike on those servers.”

Hacking oversea computer networks is apparently a sensitive subject for the U.S., and the president must sanction any such attack, according to leaked documents courtesy of Edward Snowden that the Bloomberg report cites. However, the news report states that the U.S. can bypass these types of “legally sensitive” attacks by instigating them from locations outside of the U.S. as opposed to inside.

Last week, North Korea’s internet went down a few days after the U.S. singled out the reclusive nation as responsible for wreaking havoc on [company]Sony[/company] Pictures Entertainment. At the time, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman told reporters that the U.S. was not able to confirm the hacking reports on North Korea. North Korea, however, is calling out the U.S. and President Obama for shutting down its internet and causing spotty coverage.