Selling trojans semi-ligitimately is still a bad idea...
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Thread: Selling trojans semi-ligitimately is still a bad idea...

  1. #1
    Ninja Code Monkey
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    Selling trojans semi-ligitimately is still a bad idea...

    "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." - Erasmus
    "There is no programming language, no matter how structured, that will prevent programmers from writing bad programs." - L. Flon
    "Mischief my ass, you are an unethical moron." - chsh
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  2. #2
    T̙͓̞̣̯ͦͭͅͅȂͧͭͧ̏̈͏̖̖Z̿ ͆̎̄
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    Hi Juridian,

    OOPs! Sorry, thought this was another katja thread

    Seriously though...

    "It was marketed as a way to catch a cheating lover," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitch Dembin.

    Four people who bought the program, sold online for $89, were indicted on two counts each of illegal computer hacking. Each count carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Authorities said others were charged in Texas, Hawaii, North Carolina and Missouri.

    Dembin said as many as 1,000 copies of Loverspy may have been sold worldwide.

    Perez-Melara could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted.
    I concur...imagine that!

    Eg
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  3. #3
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Unfortunately the little toad is still free

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/m...26spyware.html

    Apparently the Feds shut him down almost two years ago, and he has now done a disappearing act.

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  4. #4
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    I wonder. Is it really illegal to write a keylogger and sell it as such, or is it just illegal to use such tools? Would this product have been legal if he had marketted it another way, e.g. as a tool for employers to keep an eye on their employees during office hours, making sure employees aren't browsing porn or whatever?
    Of course, he could be severely punished but do not forget that he must be convicted first. And to do that, it must probably be made clear to 12 people that making such a tool is illegal according to the constitution. His lawyer should probably use as defence the right of free speech, meaning that writing such a tool is legal. Using it for what it was used for was not, but he didn't use it that way. He just sold it to others who used it that way...
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  5. #5
    Ninja Code Monkey
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    A good part of the legality has to do with the implementation and the intent. This thing is installing itself when they open up an email and allowing un authorized surveillance on company networks and other people's personal computers.
    "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." - Erasmus
    "There is no programming language, no matter how structured, that will prevent programmers from writing bad programs." - L. Flon
    "Mischief my ass, you are an unethical moron." - chsh
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  6. #6
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    I don't beleave that a single one of you has actually been reading this very carefully.

    I mean if you read the articles they say that everything was centralized around their network. Pay-per-view notification? From the sounds of things they where also hosting this assortment of "greeting-cards" which users where later linked to.
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  7. #7
    AO Senior Cow-beller
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    Depending on the locale, using 'spyware' *is* legal to do against your employees...providing they have been properly notified (again, varies by country/state/city law).

    I'd say his lawyers probably have a better idea of how to defend this than anyone here (do we have any JP's here at AO? I don't recall anyone ever admitting it...) Free Speech is a tricky subject; for example, is Free Speech ok when it is used to incite violence? I'm not saying yes or no...just giving up some food for thought.
    "Data is not necessarily information. Information does not necessarily lead to knowledge. And knowledge is not always sufficient to discover truth and breed wisdom." --Spaf
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  8. #8
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    Of course the whole thing would be around some centralized server. I didn't expect anything else anyway. But the problem is if you can hold the person responsible for offering such a system. Compare it with e.g. the people behind Napster. Is Napster guilty because it allows it's users to share illegal music downloads?
    If so, you could wonder how far you can actually go with these things. Say, for example, people are using Yahoo or MSN Messenger to trade illegal software or music with each other. Less efficient than a P2P network but it can happen. Or worse, assume they're exchanging childporn with each other! Would Yahoo or Microsoft be guilty because they provide the tools for doing this?
    Let's go even further. AO is a site where people can exchange very technical information. Some of the information could be used by others to commit computer-related crimes. Could AO be held responsible if one member here provides information that would be illegal to spread around?
    A good example of that last situation is PGP. It's an encryption algorithm and in the past it was forbidden to export the sourcecode in electronic form to people outside the USA. (So it was printed, shipped on paper to outside the USA which is perfectly legal and on the other side someone would just scan the pages back in, OCR them, correct some spelling and they had the code there too.) If someone would post this sourcecode on this forum, the forum owners might be in big trouble because they can be held responsible.

    So how far is the law allowed to go in an attempt to stop these illegal actions? Can someone be punished simply for providing the tools to some other person so this person can use it for criminal actions?

    Would the owner of a gun shop be responsible if a customer bought a gun at his place and then uses it to shoot a dozen people at the local post office? Even if the shop owner followed the letters of the law exactly?

    This guy offered a service that could have been used in legal ways too. It wasn't very likely that it would be used for legal means but he can use that as his defense. (I'm playing the Devil's advocate here. Personally I think he should rot away in prison but this does mean that the laws must allow this in some way.)
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  9. #9
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    This guy offered a service that could have been used in legal ways too.
    Whether his software had any legitamate merit is debateable. The fact is it was designed and marketed for one purpose. The invasion of an unsuspecting persons privacy. It was disgned specificaly to install without disclosure and hidden as an eCard. I suspect the only reason it worked useing the method it used was ease of use for the clients who brought it. After all with a little knowledge you would not nead to spend $. One of the freely available trojans (sub7/backorifice) would do the same job.
    What happens if a big asteroid hits the Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad. - Dave Barry
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  10. #10
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    I do agree that he marketted it in a way that promotes illegal use of his product. It's similar to a gun shop displaying an instruction video of how to use the gun to rob people. You could -in fact- argue that guns are also sold for illegal purposes. People are actually training themselves by shooting at targets with the outline of a human being. So these people are training themselves to shoot someone. For whatever purpose? Well, most will claim for self-defence but if you consider the popularity of a gun as a weapon for criminal activities, you should also wonder about that.

    But okay, this software would probably be used more easily for illegal activities than a gun.

    But now you mention it... What happened to the people who created sub7/backorifice? Have they been arrested too? Are they too punished for creating such a tool? The fact that they are giving it away for free doesn't mean they are not responsible for how it is used? Right?

    Who is really guilty anyway? The person who creates a tool and offers it's services or the person who uses the tool to commit the crime? This is a real gray area and I pity the jury that has to decide about this...
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