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Thread: Port Scanning

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Port Scanning

    Is it against the law to port scan computers over the internet ?

  2. #2
    ********** |ceWriterguy
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    This is a grey area and entirely dependent on what you intend to do with what you discover. Port Scanning, while not legislated, IS grounds for 'probable cause' since most who do port scanning do malicious things. Be careful.

    In addition to the legal ramifications, you might want to consider how bad you'll piss off your ISP, your target's ISP, and your target, and how much each knows about what you're doing. ISP's don't much like having their bandwidth eaten up by repeated port inquiries, and it's pretty easy for a firewall to pick off a portscanner these days. Watch who you mess with, lest you find yourself 'messed with'.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Hi mikester2,

    It might help if we knew where you are so we could determine whether or not there is a legal issue where you are.


  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Pacific Northwest
    Is it against the law to port scan computers over the internet ?
    Could also depend on which State or Country you live in as well...

    If you are thinking about doing it, why not save yourself some headaches and build a small private network of your own and scan the heck out of it! If you don't have two computers, get a friend to come over with his/her's and do like wise. You can learn tons and at the same time, not have wonder who's gonna be your next roommate. We can obviously help you set it up if you want.


    edit: looks like Eg is faster on the keyboard...
    Connection refused, try again later.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    If in the US, it almost always depends on your ISPs TOS

    As stated already, port scanning makes GREAT probable cause and motive in court, so if you are doing something illegal with the information after you get it, then you definitly want to think twice.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Thats kinda like asking if it's illegal to go up to strange houses and see if their windows are locked and then open and shut them. It's probably going to irritate the owner of the house.

  7. #7
    AOs Resident Troll
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Thats kinda like asking if it's illegal to go up to strange houses and see if their windows are locked and then open and shut them. It's probably going to irritate the owner of the house.
    Good one zENGER

    Have to spread my points around...

    I report blatant scans to my ISP...specially if they are on the same ISP.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member OverdueSpy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    The last time I looked at court decisions on this issue, (Some time back) it was not illegal to port scan. The U.S. courts have equated a port scan to someone gigling the handle on every door in a downtown high-rise apartment or ringing every doorbell to see if someone is home. Even though this is a precursor to burgularizing the apartment at a later time, until the house is actually entered no actual crime has been comitted.

    Take this with a grain of salt though. Because, if your port scan causes a denial of service condition, or any type of interruption, then the owner of the resource can press charges. One again I have not looked into this subject in about 2 years, however I have not heard anything to counter my understanding either.

    Also I have to agree with other posts here and reitterate that if the port scan is in violation of your ISP's appropriate usage policy, you may find yourself without any internet all
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  9. #9
    AO Ancient: Team Leader
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    When I port scan a box I don't have prior permission to I have log files that show their initial contact with me and therefore an explanation of why I scanned the box... Usually as a precursor to a complaint to the ISP.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    As stated, it generally depends on your ISP's terms of service. Some are more anal than others. My ISP even called me once to ask what the hell I was doing. We run a honeynet at school and I use it for practice all the time. But since I have permission from IT to break into it, I wasn't violating my agreement with my ISP. I had to provide proof of that.

    In most places, it is illegal to access computers for which you to not have permission. If nothing else, it classifies as a theft of service. The attempt to to so is therefore also illegal in most places as well. Port scanning, however, is not evidence in and of itself that you eventually plan to do this.

    A port scan, however, may become illegal if it gets aggressive to the point where you interrupt service on the target network. I'm not sure exactly which law it would fall under, but you may be depriving the rightful owner the use of that network if this happens.

    As others have said, it's a very grey area. Tread lightly.
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