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  1. #1
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    Is it ethical: Virus to dis-infect hacked computers

    Is it ethical?

    The amount of spam that our email server farms receive is sky-high. Needless to say, a vast vast majority comes from hacked pcs from large ISPs - verizon, comcast etc who don't care and won't shutdown hacked customers.

    Would it be ethical to re-hack those computers and clean the spam sending software and remove the security holes???
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  2. #2
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    Ethics aside, it wouldn't be legal.

  3. #3
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    Has anyone had any positive experience with large ISPs (Verizon, comcast, etc) dealing with spamming customers? I know reports to AOL of spamming accounts get handled... i cant say that for other large ISPs.


    The problem is rediculous - within a few months time, I feel that nearly every computer will be sending out spam and that there is NOTHING that we can do about it because large ISPs wont police their customers.
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  4. #4
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    I recall a few months back my little brother was looking at porn on our computer and infected the computer with 43 viruses. It had sent out spam e-mails and charged us to a 1900 number. I had gotten a report from AOL and once I was notified of this happening I was aware of what was happening and removed the viruses/spyware. I think a person only needs time to remove whats been infected.
    Kerry Jones

  5. #5
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    Yes, thats assuming that they are notified. AOL is a great ISP in that they notify and suspend customers that are spamming or hacked. Verizon, cablevision and others do not - and their customers are never informed. Our abuse reports to them go nowhere
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  6. #6
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    I do not think its possible, who will waste his time with such thing.. You know how many computers get affeted each day, thousands... You'll need a dedicated company to do that..

    Peace,
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  7. #7
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    azizny,

    Do you remember that msblaster issue that came out? Myself and a friend had developed a "worm" of sorts for a local company that patched all their machines (1000+) by exploiting the rpcdcom exploit and uploading the patch and executing and then rebooting the machine. This was before msblaster was even released. Granted worm was limited to the companys network only and couldnt reach the outside. MaB's idea is a good one but it would most likey be frowned upon by most people.
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  8. #8
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    People need to be protected from themselves. I'd support it, as long as it did nothing else and self destructed once it's purpose has been served.
    --

  9. #9
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    Besides all these other issues, what are the chances of sending the anti-virus virus to the actual infected computer. The correct return address is not displayed.

    As for Verizon, aren't they just another incarnation of GTE? In the past when spammers had some of my email addresses, GTE was a favorite host of spamvertisers who knew how fake their abuse department was.

  10. #10
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    The problem with spam is that we all hate it but rarely band together to do anything about the problem. Verizon doesn't care because at the end of the day they get their money. We have no effective method to combat spam and hacking compromised systems may be the only feasible solution right now. However, realism aside despite the good things that come from this there are consequences. What seems like a noble cause can also be seen as a vile invasion of privacy by some. Ultimately the solution rests in a series of funny commercials satirizing naive netizens and raising awareness of the issue possibly even borderline libel and slander against Verizon. Dirty tricks work in the corporate world.

    How do we finance this? You hate spam and I hate spam get enough people together and there is more than enough money.
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  11. #11
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    well something has to be done, i think it would be a great idea so long as it was created by a large anti-virus firm (ie someone who we could trust) if the virus cleaned the infected computer then terminated itself, afterall most of the internet traffic is now spam/virus traffic, imagine how much it would free up on the net, would also cut out ddos attact and other malicious activities reducing many companies costs. and anyway, people who dont care if there computer is infected are not gonna be really bothered anyway
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  12. #12
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    Originally posted by Kerry Jones
    I recall a few months back my little brother was looking at porn on our computer and infected the computer with 43 viruses. It had sent out spam e-mails and charged us to a 1900 number. I had gotten a report from AOL and once I was notified of this happening I was aware of what was happening and removed the viruses/spyware. I think a person only needs time to remove whats been infected.
    How many people here actually believe it was his little brother's fault?

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by stevey
    well something has to be done, i think it would be a great idea so long as it was created by a large anti-virus firm (ie someone who we could trust) if the virus cleaned the infected computer then terminated itself, afterall most of the internet traffic is now spam/virus traffic, imagine how much it would free up on the net, would also cut out ddos attact and other malicious activities reducing many companies costs. and anyway, people who dont care if there computer is infected are not gonna be really bothered anyway
    you couldn't force it upon people and not expect some legal backlash even if it is a good idea.

    unfortunately, giving somebody a pop up telling them their pc is infected doesn't work either, they'll just see it as adware or something worse.

    the best we can do is blackhole the spam we get.
    <erno> hm. I've lost a machine.. literally _lost_. it responds to ping, it works completely, I just can't figure out where in my apartment it is.

  14. #14
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    i think someone should do it, and not say anything, be a lil secret

  15. #15
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    Re: Is it ethical: Virus to dis-infect hacked computers

    Originally posted by MaB
    Would it be ethical to re-hack those computers and clean the spam sending software and remove the security holes???
    No it would not. As a hosting provider I find it disturbing you see nothing wrong with violating the security and privacy of someone else's property for your own ends.

    Yes I understand the spam issue, and no I don't support illegal means to 'fix' the problem.
    Former Webhost... now, just a guy.

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by blue27
    Ethics aside, it wouldn't be legal.

    I agree, and I remember this came up with the phpBB2 forums exploit/virus months ago. Some people came up with a virus to help clean servers. It seemed to cause as much problems as the actual virus did.
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  17. #17
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    Re: Re: Is it ethical: Virus to dis-infect hacked computers

    Originally posted by akashik
    No it would not. As a hosting provider I find it disturbing you see nothing wrong with violating the security and privacy of someone else's property for your own ends.

    Yes I understand the spam issue, and no I don't support illegal means to 'fix' the problem.
    Sometimes, you gotta fight fire with fire.

    I say light em up!

    I heard an estimate, that it takes an average of 14 minutes for an unprotected Windows box to get hacked. Then it becomes a part of a botnet, or a spam source.

    That box is going to get hacked anyway, why not unleash something for the greater good.

    My two cents...

  18. #18
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    Re: Re: Is it ethical: Virus to dis-infect hacked computers

    Originally posted by akashik
    No it would not. As a hosting provider I find it disturbing you see nothing wrong with violating the security and privacy of someone else's property for your own ends.

    Yes I understand the spam issue, and no I don't support illegal means to 'fix' the problem.
    Very well said!

  19. #19
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    Ethical, yes.
    Legal, no.

  20. #20
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    I just read this on yahoo:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050524/wr_nm/tech_spam_dc

    "Home computer users who unwittingly send out spam e-mail should be disconnected from the Internet until their machines are fixed, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday."

    It's about time! I hope large ISPs like Verizon and large cable/dsl providers take the recommendations put forth in this letter. If large ISPs would quarantine computers that have been hacked or are sending out spam, I beleive that this would cause a significant reduction in spam. This would be the correct way to solve the problem. If only they listen....
    Avi Brender
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