“We Hit Back” Featured in Abyss & Apex

Source: Abyss & Apex

Source: Abyss & Apex

I’m very excited to announced that my first published story of 2017, “We Hit Back“, now appears in the sixty-first issue of Abyss & Apex.

“We Hit Back” was inspired by a thought experiment about the implications of creating and building an offensive cybersecurity company. Today, offensive cyber operations are limited to governments. As such, creating a business that focuses solely on developing cyber exploits would require close coordination with and permission from the government. If I were ever to start an offensive cybersecurity business, this story is almost exactly how I’d approach the task.

I tried to explore as many of the pitfalls inherent in launching offensive cyber weapons as I could in this story. For instance, what would happen if a U.S.-based company launched a cyber attack on a sovereign state? Would the state retaliate against the U.S. government? Then there is the issue of attribution—how does a company know if the entity to which they are attributing an attack is the right target and not a patsy or part of a false flag operation? How could an offensive cybersecurity startup work with federal and local governments to catch cyber criminals without breaking the law? How have advances in the cyber domain such as the advent of the Internet of Things made us more vulnerable in the physical domain?

At the same time, I tried to layer on the pettiness and self-serving nature of corporate politics and how it could add further risks to an offensive cybersecurity enterprise.

I hope you found the story engaging.


Buy my first complete collection at Amazon or Smashwords. It includes ten stories about cursed alien artifacts, interstellar investment banking, ancient alien astronauts, parallel timelines, alien experimentation, and space colonization gone horribly wrong.

First published in venues like Fictionvale MagazineNewMyths.comMad Scientist JournalPlasma Frequency MagazineOutposts of Beyond, and The Colored Lens, several of these stories have received Honorable Mentions in the prestigious Writers of the Future Contest.

About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Finance executive, engineer, former military officer, and science fiction and horror writer. Editor of the Weird World War III anthology.
This entry was posted in Blogging, China, Crime, Cyber war, Cybersecurity, Defense, Fantasy, Finance and Economics, International Security, Russia, Science Fiction, Tanks, War, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “We Hit Back” Featured in Abyss & Apex

  1. A.M. Rowe says:

    Just read the story “We Hit Back” on Abyss and Apex. I am interested in how and why you landed on the ending.

    • A.M.,

      First, I want to thank you for reading and reviewing my story.

      Second, I wanted the story to end in a way that wouldn’t taint Lionel by having him descend to Gus’s level, but would still allow Lionel to humiliate the man who’d murdered his son. The public shaming and arrest by the FBI seemed to best thread that needle. Otherwise, if I had gone darker, and Lionel had wounded or killed Gus, the whole enterprise he’d created to avenge his son would have crumbled.

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