A whopping 87 percent of information security specialists believe we're in the middle of a global cyber war.

That comes from Venafi, a firm that provides technologies to large companies to protect their networks against cybercrime. Venafi got opinions expressing this sentiment from over 500 security professionals at the recent RSA conference in San Francisco.

Paul Nakasone, head of US Cyber Command, recently spoke about the growing threat of cyber war. “In the cyber domain…our adversaries…continue to increase in sophistication, magnitude, intensity, volume and velocity, and remain a threat to our national security interests and economic well-being,” Nakasone said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month.


“It’s clear that security professionals feel under siege,” said Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi, in a statement.

Additionally, 72 percent of security professionals believe nation-states should have the right to “hack back” by targeting cybercriminals who attack their infrastructure and 58 percent believe private organizations have the right to hack back, according to the Venafi survey.

Bocek added: “Today, private companies do not have a legal right to actively defend themselves against cyberattacks.”

Currently, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act prohibits many kinds of retaliatory cyber defense measures, including accessing an attacker’s computer without authorization, according to Venafi.

That could be rectified under the proposed Active Cyber Defense Certainty (ACDC) Act, which would allow individuals and companies to hack back.

ACDC would not be a panacea, however. “Even if this type of action were to become legal…it’s nearly impossible to be certain about attack attribution because attackers are adept at using a wide range of technologies to mislead security professionals,” Bocek said.


“For many organizations, it would be better to focus on establishing stronger defense mechanisms,” he added.