CLBR #276: Allen O’Rourke on The Emerging Law of Cyber Defense

The Emerging Law of Cyber Defense



At the 2017 Privacy + Security Forum at George Washington University, former Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property prosecutor and Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen O’Rourke led a panel on the issue of “active defense” techniques in responding to cyber attacks.  “Active defense” techniques may include honeypots, web beacons, “dark web” research, rescue missions, and much more, including so-called “hacking back.” But many techniques are clearly illegal or fraught with legal risk.

Allen O’Rourke

Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP
Charlotte, North Carolina
Website / @AllenORourke

allen oDrawing upon years of experience prosecuting cybercrime, Allen comes to the aid of clients affected by data breaches and cyber-attacks. He works with clients’ legal and information security teams to investigate cybersecurity incidents, coordinate the remediation of any breach, interface with law enforcement as appropriate, and ensure compliance with applicable data breach laws and regulations.  In addition to incident response, Allen defends clients facing government investigations, regulatory enforcement actions, consumer class actions, and other litigation arising from data breaches. He also provides counsel to clients regarding cybersecurity preparedness, regulatory compliance, online investigation techniques, active network defense, and any related legal issues, including guidance about the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).

Prior to joining Womble Carlyle, Allen was a Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) prosecutor with Top Secret security clearance at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.  He conducted numerous investigations into corporate data breaches, business email compromise schemes, “dark web” criminal forums, money laundering using Bitcoin, terrorist use of the Internet, cyberstalking, and other cybercrime.  Allen worked closely with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service, and various other law enforcement agencies.  He also partnered with National Security Division (NSD) and Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) attorneys at the U.S. Department of Justice.  In addition, Allen provided training to prosecutors and law enforcement agents about electronic evidence gathering, cybercrime investigation, digital cryptocurrencies, and web technology.  He received two Special Achievement Awards from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for his work to combat cybercrime.


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