Recent legal developments bode well for security researchers, but challenges remain

Despite the hoodie-wearing bad guy image, most hackers are bona fide security researchers protecting users by probing and testing the security configurations of digital networks and assets. Yet the law has often failed to distinguish between malicious hackers and good-faith security researchers.

This failure to distinguish between the two hacker camps has, however, improved over the past two years, according to Harley Geiger, an attorney with Venable LLP, who serves as counsel in the Privacy and Data Security group. Speaking at Shmoocon 2023, Geiger pointed to three changes in hacker law in 2021 and 2022 that minimize security researchers’ risks.

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