The answer to If a hacker is infected as a result of their actions, is the victim liable? that explained laying a trap to injure someone could go either way depending on the severity of the injury and the threat the criminal posed made me wonder about a case where the person laying the trap had a reasonable expectation that it wouldn't cause injury.

To extend the hacker example from the initial question, and sidestep the question of physical harm, what if the "trap" was a ransomware virus that required the hacker to contact the intended victim to get a key to unlock their encrypted files? If the intended victim provided the key as promised, but gave the hacker's contact information to the authorities and reported their intrusion, was the hacker legally injured?

Would it make a difference if the person laying the trap specifically set up the system as a honey pot intended to attract criminals?

Would it make a difference if all the virus did was "phone home" so that the hacker could be traced, but didn't actually encrypt any files or otherwise affect the hacker's device?

Would it make a difference if the system had some sort of warning on it that intrusion attempts could result in a counter attack? I'm not sure how such a thing would be implemented, but let's assume it would be similar to a sign posted on a property boundary indicating some sort of danger to trespassers.

  • 5
    Liability to third parties would be one question. What if the hacker is using the computer of an innocent third party, and the intended victim encrypts the files of that third party, thus causing damages to them? Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 18:44


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .