Officially, the U.S. government warns companies not to hack, even when done as retaliation against attacks on their systems. Unofficially, the FBI may let it slide, according to cyber-security experts.

The FBI is probing whether any U.S. banks broke the law by hacking back at cyber-intruders to stop a wave of Iran-sponsored attacks on their networks last year, Bloomberg News reported today. The ongoing investigation, which had not been previously reported, suggests that hacking in self-defense is a gray area legally.

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