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RE: FW: Legal? Road Runner proactive scanning.[Scanned]
From: "Bryan S. Sampsel" <bsampsel () libertyactivist org>
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004 11:41:08 -0700 (MST)

Jef Feltman said:
So if someone comes and knocks on your door at home you shoot them? Do you
consider them a criminal? No, you lock the door and windows.

Not quite an accurate comparison.  A portscan is comparable to somebody
testing those locks and windows.  An action that has legal ramifications. 
And legally speaking, a tresspasser doesn't have to bypass a locked door
to tresspass.

A knock is a "service" -- a method of communicating with my house.  As is
a phone or mail.  Just a tad different than a security probe.

If your host is on the internet I consider it public and knocking on the
door to see if the shop is open, is not a problem. If you do not want
coming in the door lock it and give a key to those who need it.

Still not an apples-apples.  There are legit ways of communicating with my

Based on your statement no website should not be accessed by anyone other
than an employee. Sending E-Mail would be a violation also, as the port
be checked to verify it can be opened to receive.

Nope.  Email performs a handshake, it does not probe an entire system to
communicate.  If it receives no response on its connection attempt, it
ceases activity.

Port scanning is not an attack it is probe. I have scanned many machines
that have tried to attack my machine trying to verify if it is an attack
the host has been compromised. Unless the attack is currently in progress,
the host is almost always taken over by a hacker or virus. Scanning the
allows me to find ports open that prove the host has been attacked and
over. Then I am able to inform the ISP or user of the problem. And not go
after some innocent user.

My IDS tells me who tried to attack/probe/portscan (pick one) and I inform
the ISP or server owner (from WHOIS) and let them know the nature of the
activity I'm seeing.  I do not want to initiate the same type of activity
against them, I want them to inspect and fix their problem.  Blocking the
attack is my business, inspecting and fixing it is theirs.

<snipped for brevity>


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