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Questions tagged [hacking]

Non-normative tag for questions relating to the use of information technology, typically in unintended manners.

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38 votes
5 answers
13k views

Is it legal for BMW owners to enable heated car seats without paying the subscription fee?

Its been recently reported that: BMW is now selling subscriptions for heated seats in a number of countries — the latest example of the company’s adoption of microtransactions for high-end car ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
  • 4,563
36 votes
3 answers
31k views

Is it legal to crack MD5 hashes?

I saw a website that involves programming problems. One problem asks to write a program that finds a string whose MD5 hash is given. Is it criminal to crack the MD5 hash by finding those strings?
guest's user avatar
  • 387
23 votes
2 answers
6k views

Have draft SCOTUS opinions been leaked before?

A draft opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson has been leaked. Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy has claimed: It is totally unprecedented for a draft opinion to be leaked. Is it unprecedented, or ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 989
19 votes
2 answers
920 views

Liability for damages in the U.S. for finding and disclosing "0-day" computer exploit

In the IT/Programming security world, usually people contact the vendor/owner of a particular software if they find a bug or security vulnerability and give them time to patch it before releasing the ...
Digital fire's user avatar
  • 5,489
18 votes
6 answers
6k views

What consequences could there be for Robert'); DROP TABLE Students;-- when he grows up?

I think it's obvious that Little Bobby Tables's mom has broken the law. Let's assume this is his legal name and does not break any naming laws; it's still probably illegal, because she obviously gave ...
Someone's user avatar
  • 17k
17 votes
2 answers
52k views

Is it legal to publish email that someone sent to me?

I'm not asking whether it is ethical - that would be a totally different question. I'm asking whether it is legal? In my book - in my way how I interpret consensual reality - once I press SEND ...
Silly mistakes in the past's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

Clean Hands doctrine and Plausible Deniability

There is a question on the Superuser forum wherein a bad actor is trying to trick someone into connecting to an access point, presumably so they can sniff information. They are doing this by setting ...
davidgo's user avatar
  • 3,468
16 votes
3 answers
7k views

Can disrupting an online video game be illegal?

Imagine for example, a person makes an online game unplayable by flooding the game with bot accounts, winning games through cheating etc, but the person doesn't steal any data and they aren't ...
eternalstudent's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
763 views

Ethical Hacking

How is Ethical Hacking (Certified Ethical Hackers) defined by U.S. law? Is there any law which protects an Ethical Hacker for helping to find out bugs and security loopholes in online/digital ...
Victor Juliet's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
4k views

How do laws against computer intrusion handle the modern situation of devices routinely being under the de facto control of non-owners?

Current versions of Microsoft Windows will automatically update themselves. That's usually great, but they also are designed to update themselves even if the owner of the device wants them to not do ...
interfect's user avatar
  • 3,491
14 votes
2 answers
7k views

Is it legal to hack a hacker back (in the US)?

I was wondering if it's legal to do what most people call a "hack back." Suppose someone tricked you into downloading software onto your computer that was designed to steal your data, but it ...
Blue Herring's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
3k views

What parts of cracking (tampering with the copyrighted software) are actually illegal?

I would like to know whether software cracking is considered illegal broadly (in the way that drugs are, for example, broadly illegal in many western countries), or is it a more complex question. I am ...
John Z.'s user avatar
  • 133
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Can it be illegal to press f12 in a web browser?

There is a case in the news where a journalist identified a security issue in the web site of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that exposed 100,000 social security numbers....
User65535's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
9k views

If I accidentally leaked my school's IP address and someone attempts a DDoS attack on my school am I at fault?

I found my schools IP address and if it accidentally got out and my school got a DDoS attack am I liable for damages? (I'm in Colorado if that helps.)
user25581's user avatar
  • 137
11 votes
3 answers
7k views

Is it illegal to download passwords in bulk from the dark web to make a password checking tool to help people?

I remember some password managers like Google's would give me a warning about passwords that have been compromised. My question is this. How is Google or any company able to see that the password I ...
devin's user avatar
  • 227
10 votes
3 answers
618 views

Under what circumstances could law enforcement hack a server?

I recently read a wired article about Silk Road and the arrest of Ross Ulbricht. The article describes how an FBI agent attempted to discover the true IP address of the Silk Road Server: Tarbell [...
amccormack's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
5k views

Exploiting online video games illegal, a tort, or allowable under the law?

Recently a news story came out about "Manfred", a hacker who makes a living exploiting bugs in online video games to make in-game currency (or items) which he then sells to other gamers. Here is a ...
Cicero's user avatar
  • 6,920
8 votes
2 answers
538 views

Hacking devices to unlock features: Legal or not?

There are 2 models of multimeter, A and B. Physically they are absolutely identical, yet model B has some functions unlocked, that are locked in model A. B costs about $400 more than A. If one tampers ...
user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Bypassing website's paywall by modifying HTTP request headers

Recently I see some debates about bypassing paywalls by modifying browser's HTTP request as stated on ghack. Most paywalled websites allow users to read a certain number of free articles before ...
Johnson's user avatar
  • 171
6 votes
3 answers
3k views

Are publicly available password dumps legal under GDPR

When a company gets breached by hackers, often the contents of their databases will make its way onto the internet. Sometimes this will include obviously personal information such as email contents or ...
gorzilla's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
188 views

In Apple's Case, Under the All Writs Act - What does "Judicial Tools" Available Mean?

Question: Under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S. Code § 1651 - Writs, it appears that it can only be invoked IF AND ONLY IF there are no other "Judicial Tools Available" -- What does this mean? In Apple's ...
elika kohen's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

Can Law Enforcement in the US use evidence acquired through an illegal act by someone else?

There are reports on the internet this morning that a group of people were able to hack Parler and download around 70tb of data from the servers before AWS ceased hosting the platform. There are ...
GeoffAtkins's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is it legal to hijack online scammers accounts?

If someone were to start phishing scammers, hijacking their accounts and handing them over to the FBI, is there any protection for said vigilante? I think there is some precedence for the necessity ...
DotNetRussell's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
547 views

How does Aaron Swartz's mass download from JSTOR constitute hacking?

I might be a bit late on this but I just got to know the story of Aaron Swartz, a phenomenal guy to say the least. The internet is filled with news posts, blogs, and even documentaries stating that "...
Jecht Tyre's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
230 views

If a hacker is infected as a result of their actions, is the victim liable?

If a hacker gained unauthorized access to a computer network, downloaded a virus that was on a computer and infected their own system, would the victim of the hacker be liable for damages? Does it ...
Guest123's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
796 views

Is it legal to access open wifi networks without permission

Let's say if my neighbor keeps his/her wifi-network security open and my wifi settings are set to automatically connect to open wireless networks as they don't need any key to access. Then ...
Stupid_Intern's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is it legal to bypass location restrictions on web sites?

Some web sites refuse to offer content to connections which appear to them to be coming from certain countries (or all countries but one, or offer different content based on the apparent location of ...
Dronz's user avatar
  • 205
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is cracking software with server emulators illegal?

Let's say I have a program that needs you to login with a paid account in order to use it, and it sends authorization data to a server (username and pass) using this example link (I show example ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
246 views

Is distributing software that makes modifications to video games legal?

Unlike most game mods (which are, to my knowledge, a distribution of a copy of modified game software), I'm writing a small desktop application which allows users to make their own custom changes (...
Chris_Drake_146's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
299 views

Is it legal to publish personal information obtained in public?

Lets say I built a device using some software like NFCProxy or a hardware/software kit like Proxmark3 and just stood in middle of a sidewalk with a high amount of foot traffic and I passively captured ...
Digital fire's user avatar
  • 5,489
4 votes
2 answers
529 views

How is authenticity of a given evidence determined?

I was reading this question on security SE. The title of the question is: "What are legal/ethical concerns to bear in mind, when hacking websites with open invitations?" This answer suggests to "log ...
Utku's user avatar
  • 151
4 votes
2 answers
806 views

Is it against the Computer Misuse Act to bypass a client-side paywall?

A common practice among news websites is to provide articles online, where an initial portion is freely viewable, and the remainder requires an active subscription. However, on numerous occasions, I ...
Joel Hemphill's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is it illegal to reverse engineer an unsecured API

Is it legal to reverse engineer an unsecured API? Simple REST API used in Android app No SSL (just straight HTTP) Passwords are sent in plain text over this HTTP API I ran the Android app and ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
327 views

Guessing forgotten password and breaking into own online account

If you have an online account and forget the password, are you allowed to guess it? What if you automate the process, like in a brute force attack? Can other things, like the verification code be ...
JakeP's user avatar
  • 327
4 votes
1 answer
935 views

Legality of scanning a site with SSLLabs SSL Server Test in order to find and report weaknesses

I am wanting to scan a site (which I do not own) to see if they are vulnerable to anything like Heartbleed or the POODLE attack, not because I want to exploit any such vulnerabilities for malicious ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
358 views

Under US law, is it illegal to write a self propagating computer worm

Suppose a person creates a self-propagating computer worm that: does not modify or delete any of the victim's files rather displays a funny message to the user scans other computers and spreads ...
nkvp's user avatar
  • 141
3 votes
1 answer
254 views

Legal implications of printing something remotely to tell the owner their printer is vulnerable?

Commonly, wireless printers in homes and corporate settings can be configured incorrectly, exposing them to the internet. This can be a major security vulnerability, and can allow anyone to not only ...
Blue Herring's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
150 views

Legal status of Cellebrite hack

The CEO of Signal has posted the discovery of security vulnerabilities in Cellebrite products. These products are used by police to evade security on seized mobile devices and thereby download the ...
Paul Johnson's user avatar
  • 13.5k
3 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is it legal to hack my wifi hotspot's password?

I'm gonna explain it exactly: Parents divorced, I have a laptop from mom, and a smartphone from my father (with subscription contract), with internet access, and hotspot capable. My question is: If i ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

What legal action can I take if someone who had access to my personal hard disk copied all my personal pictures into his computer?

A few months ago I had a temporary guest in my residence. During this time he, without my permission, went through my personal hard disk and copied all of my pictures onto his personal computer. (...
smrk's user avatar
  • 33
3 votes
1 answer
104 views

Is a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connection a phone call by legal definition?

Is a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) considered a phone call by legal definition? As such, could I use state laws such as Washington State RCW 9.61, for instance, to pursue civil action against someone ...
Chezzwizz's user avatar
  • 127
3 votes
1 answer
173 views

Can I attack a VPS I am renting?

I live in France and I would like to know if it was legal to attack the Virtual Private Server I am renting in the US.
Jouviel's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
1 answer
239 views

Are we legally liable for negligence if a breach in a 3rd party happens due to us giving extra visibility to a vulnerable system?

TL;DR - Found a dangling DNS record that was pointing to an IP address we don't own, the server found on that IP address was running a vulnerable piece of software. Wondering if attackers found & ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
175 views

Privacy on stolen laptop

On slashdot.org the following case was discussed: A owns a laptop, and has software installed that allows to log into the laptop remotely. B steals the laptop, and uses it to log into their Facebook ...
gnasher729's user avatar
  • 34.2k
3 votes
0 answers
236 views

Under what circumstances could laying hacker "traps" cause civil or criminal liability for non-law enforcement civilians?

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 ...
Prim Reaper's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
289 views

When is a permission required to attack a system?

Never attack something you don't have a permission for! This is one of the golden rules of penetration testing, yet it's surprisingly unclear. What exactly counts as an attack, and when do I need ...
MechMK1's user avatar
  • 761
3 votes
0 answers
417 views

Legal to share malware code/sell malware products?

I program / rewrite (from security analysis / reverse engineering) different kinds of malware software as a hobby. Those include some pretty malicious things like ransomware extortion viruses, banking ...
Nikolai Frolov's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
298 views

Is reverse engineering for research legal?

I want to look at the code of a certain app, without modifying it. Is that fine accordingly to EU laws ? Btw, sorry if I posted this in the wrong place.
Telno's user avatar
  • 39
2 votes
2 answers
391 views

Can academics break the law with their research?

Are there any U.S. or U.K. laws that prevent academic research papers or journals from being published? Can academics outline the methodology of illegal activities? For example, could a computer ...
Thomas's user avatar
  • 123
2 votes
3 answers
219 views

Can I use a workaround I developed to bypass the internet filter at work?

I found a workaround (by writing some code) to bypass the internet filter at work. Is that considered hacking? Or perhaps violating the company's rules. Am I the one to be blamed for finding a ...
Moses Davidowitz's user avatar