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Old 01-14-2019, 01:04 PM
BeepKillBeep BeepKillBeep is offline
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Is it illegal to destroy a scammers computer?

I've been watching some videos with scam baiters. Some of them just waste the scammers time (like I do from time to time) but some of them will wreck their computers.

So two different scenarios:

1 - In some cases, they do this by Trojan horse. I.e. they'll have a file marked "Credit Card Information" or "Bank Information" but is actually an infected exe. The scammer downloads the file, and once they run it their computer is done.

2 - In some cases, they reverse the connection allowing them control of the scammers PC. They then either syskey the computer or in some cases try to get an infected file onto their PC, and execute it.

So what is the legality of this? It seems that, while righteous, it would be illegal. Of course, the scammers have little recourse to complain. It seems unlikely that anybody would bother prosecute (and good luck getting a jury to convict).
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:28 PM
OldGuy OldGuy is online now
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IANAL and the legality probably varies by jurisdiction.

I'd say 2 is almost certainly illegal in most jurisdictions. 1 is probably is more questionable as the scammers are being proactive in stealing the file from you. I'd guess if all the facts are known and could be proved, it would be illegal at least in some places just as booby trapping your car in a way that can cause injury is illegal in many places.
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:30 PM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
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Originally Posted by OldGuy View Post
I'd guess if all the facts are known and could be proved, it would be illegal at least in some places just as booby trapping your car in a way that can cause injury is illegal in many places.
Not the same. In the US the courts hold that protection of property through a boobytrap is illegal because of the possibility of injury or death. That is not what happens when boobytrapping software.
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Old 01-14-2019, 02:44 PM
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CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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All 50 states have computer crime laws. There is also a federal statute, but I don't know that requires interstate hacking for it to kick in. And I don't know if any of these laws prevent you from hacking someone in another country, which I am sure is where many of these scammers are.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:02 PM
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Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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The term for this at the corporate / governmental level is "active defense" (i.e., the best defense is a good defense).

Here is a review of the current laws (PDF).

The Federal government is currently deciding a new standard, though, that might allow for greater freedom in this realm. The last overview of the proposal, that I read, was that corporations would be free to hit back at anyone abroad, but they had to register a request with the FBI and get approval for it.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 01-14-2019 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:12 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
In the US the courts hold that protection of property through a boobytrap is illegal because of the possibility of injury or death.
I'm challenging only the "because" part of this statement. Can you provide a reference to a legal decision that made that specific claim? That is, it would have been found not illegal if such a possibility did not exist?
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:23 AM
bob++ bob++ is offline
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Scambaiting is a sport and wasting their time and money,keeping the scammers away from real potential victims and screwing around with the minds of deserving thieves.

If you fancy trying it, here is an excellent website for advice and success stories.

https://www.419eater.com/

Quote:
Scambaiting is not a racist activity. Anyone with racist views is most definitely NOT welcome on this site. 419eater maintains a ZERO TOLERANCE policy towards racism throughout the site and forums.

It is important to understand that scambaiters only respond to scam emails we receive. Unfortunately is is a sad fact of life that the majority of "419" scams do in fact originate from Western and Southern Africa - we estimate 50% - 55% of "419" scam attempts are sent from Western & Southern Africa - but these scams also come from places such as England, Spain, Ireland, USA, Canada, The Netherlands, Australia and many more.

For the most part these criminals are not, "poor people trying to scratch a living", but are very prosperous compared to their law-abiding countrymen, and many operate in highly organised, and highly successful criminal gangs. Millions of dollars are stolen on a DAILY basis, with absolutely no thought given to victims, who are losing vast amounts of money, homes, relatives, jobs and worse. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just "greedy & stupid people" that fall for these scams.
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