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RE: [Fwd: Re: Pentester convicted..]
From: "Alex Moen" <alexm () ndtel com>
Date: Fri, 12 May 2006 11:48:08 -0500

My (novice) 2 cents, probably only worth 1 cent...

I think Stuart has cut to the core of this discussion.  Unauthorized access
is the main point.  Ethics and logic point to a mistake being made by the
"pentester" in this case.  As with any other skill or talent that any person
has or learns, the knowledge must be tempered with logic and a sense of
ethics to "do what's right".

Tripping over a problem is different from SEARCHING for a problem.  Even
though a person with a very high skill set intuits a problem with something,
it does not give them license to probe even shallowly to prove the existence
of the problem.  In this case, I would think that if a problem is intuited,
it should be reported to the owner without proof.  If nothing is ever done,
at least your conscience is clear, and if you are affected by the problem,
then other avenues should be explored to fix the problem or remove yourself
from harm's way.  Good samaritan-ship should not extend to using force,
which in my mind can and should be defined as anything a layman or untrained
person can not do.

Just because you can, does NOT mean you should.  Especially when not asked.

Alex


-----Original Message-----
From: Stuart Thomas [mailto:stuartpaulthomas () gmail com] 
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 3:51 PM
To: pen-test () securityfocus com
Subject: [Fwd: Re: Pentester convicted..]


There are some interesting debates developing here!  :-)

I would argue the main point in this case is - unauthorised access -

No matter how much good will is arguably present (think about the Daniel 
Cuthbert 
<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/06/tsunami_hacker_convicted/> case 
in terms of the same defense) you have gained unauthorised access. As 
ethical IT security experts, with all our knowledge, skill and esoteric 
talent, we do not have a right to gain unauthorised access. I hate to 
agree with Craig Wright (as I believe his comments on this list to be 
too acidic and un-supportive to the novice - although his frustration is 
completely understandable) however computer misuse legislation across 
the world carries a golden thread, you must have permission to access a 
computer system.

It is frustrating to observe the naivety and yet arguably the good will 
of these individuals who are sentenced to a jail terms (each case on 
it's own merits/demerits of course). I think generally the professional 
community is evolving through professionals bodies, and doing a good 
job. However I believe it is important to maintain the distinction 
between the professionals who follow a code of ethics and maintain good 
morals and practices, with those that are not and do not.

As ever the balance between liberty, freedom of speech, and suppression 
by the state/corporate entities is ever present as we walk through life.


Interesting times.

Stu

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