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Do you approve of the BBC using a botnet to send spam from innocent users' computers? (Poll Closed)

Total Votes: 847

  • Bill - 15 years ago

    First of all was this a Fair test, Where did they get the IP Address's.
    did they get them from the BBC's Server's or did they let the botnet do it's thing.

    They could have just as easy set up some test machines. as they did when they did that show on Firewall's and how easy it was to infect a System.

    To me this is just Advertising by Click.
    Anyone else think Malware/Spyware.
    and those annoying pop-up you get.

  • Anonymous - 15 years ago

    I much prefer BBC controlling my computer and disabling the bot-control thing after they were done than criminals using it for purposes that do not involve educating me about viruses and such.

  • MyNameIsMike AndYourADick - 15 years ago

    Old Ideas and Traditions have us where we sit now, an internet thats like the old American Wild Wild West.

    Im happy this offended yourself and all the others, it should, its just that easy to do, this could have just as easily been performed by a 12 yr old, moreover it is performed by 12 yr olds everyday.

    Take half your fingerpointing parade energy and focus it on some realtime research and discovery and get out of the old stale, staginate 90s you appear to be trapped in.

  • neophyte - 15 years ago

    did you all forget that this is not the people who infected the PC's in the first place? practically what they did is they liberated so many.... if my PC had a virus and i didn't know i wont mind BBC changing my wallpaper to let me know!

    this has been in the industry for years! and people like that are known as "white hat hackers" who gain control of some server or something and leave visible markers that they have achieved a brake in and they used this and this attack!

    just to mention it again... if the program didn't pull this stunt right now there would be 20k more zombies out there. generating MORE USELESS traffic!

  • Dave Ashton - 15 years ago

    The law isnt wrong. The BBC's defense is similar to that of R v Daniel Cuthbert ( An IT consultant jailed for white hat hacking. He "knew" what he was doing as well. The BBC didnt need to do this.

  • Mark ( ISP Review UK ) - 15 years ago

    I'm off to import some slaves from Africa, but don't worry it's only to raise awareness.. I promise to send them right back afterwards :) . Illegal, they should have thought before taking action, but on the plus side this level of publicity should make people think about security.

  • Bob - 15 years ago

    Can't wait until they do a Show on lock picking.
    They can break into peoples houses.
    But as they don't have any Criminal intent,
    then this would be legal right.

  • Roy - 15 years ago

    By acquiring the botnet the BBC obtained what in effect is stolen goods. And we must assume they paid for the goods and the thieves profited thereby. Receivers of stolen property are often punished more severely than the thieves.

    And then they made use of their illegitimate goods. Need I say more? The question is not should the BBC be prosecuted, is there one good reason why they should not?

  • WeAreTheMachine - 15 years ago

    They certainly broke the terms of use of Hotmail and Gmail by intentionally using *their* servers for this experiment. The way they carried out the experiment by gaining access to other peoples computers was irresponsible in my opinion.

    But hey, the suits and corporations get away with it don't they? If it was a hobbyist tinkering in their basement and they were caught but had 'no criminal intent' it would be a different story.

  • Bob Lutz - 15 years ago

    This shows the law is wrong. Anyone who is upset by this should be upset about how the laws are written, not that the BBC broke the law. White hat hacking (hacking for good) should NEVER be illegal.

  • Peter B - 15 years ago

    I agree with the points Richard and mercenario 1991 make.

    A simulation would have been just as effective to demonstrate the point.

    Click is technically not the soundest of programmes going and what they have done here in the so called interest of their viewers and raising awareness of security issues amongst the general public is little more than poorly considered and ill thought through sensationalist journalism.

    It never ceases to amaze me that when a reputable Security Vendor such as Sophos raises a valid issue they are accused of competitor bashing.

    Lets get real shall we Sophos are contributing more than their far share of awareness raising to non corporate and non enterprise users who in essence do not constitute a part of their core market.

    Keep it up Graham. Sophos are doing a grand job.

  • Ben Collier - 15 years ago

    If prank hackers who do no real harm get locked up, the journalists here most certainly deserve to be too.

    By causing the computers to send email, computing resources were denied to the legitimate owners. What if they were trying to work on an assignment or do work at the time. The machine would have likely slowed to a crawl. If the machines were on metered connections, the data transfer also cost the owner money. The ISPs in charge of the affected machines will also have to have paid for the data transferred. If the owner of the PC was unlucky, they could have had their account suspended or blacklisted as the stream of email moved through various filters and gateways.

    There are plenty of other reasons that the BBC ought to be pulled up on this, not in the least the fact that, as Graham Cluely observed, these machines might be abroad, in which case the journalists would be subject to possible extradition without trial, in the case of the USA.

    I would like to see the owners of one of these PCs press for a prosecution.

  • mercenario1991 - 15 years ago

    It sets a precedent to other "non-criminal" organisations, signalling that it's OK to employ botnet techniques for transmitting material that the senders (genuinely) believe are "in the public interest". The BBC claim that this exercise had a genuinely educational component to it, and for many viewers of Click, that may well be true. But how long will it be before less scrupulous "non-criminals" see the BBC get away with it, and start pushing the boundaries. For example, it would be easy for the so-called educational message to go out with a little bit of "harmless" promotion. At what point would the other media organisations conclude they have to do the same thing, just to keep up? Then, it would escalate until a reaction from the law attempted to stop it. That reaction should come immediately. It should never become acceptable for this technique to be used. History shows us that dangerous and harmful ideas never go back in the bottle. The BBC broke the law, and to stop this practice spreading, they need to be seen to be pulled up short.

  • Anonymous Coward - 15 years ago

    Storm in a teacup. Technical breach of the law. Competitor bashing basically.

  • Richard Caves - 15 years ago

    This is no defence in the eyes of the law, if they had wanted to demonstrate what was possible they could have set up a demo using their own machines. I think the police should investigate, so called 'journalism' is not an excuse for breaking the law, if they try to use 'whistle blowing' as an excuse i.e. in the public interest then this is hardly news as there is a law in place to prevent this and to bring the culprits to justice if and when they get caught. Doing it all on film for what is monetary gain (they got paid for doing it) seems totally unjustified.

    As you can see I feel very strongly about this, take them to court and lock them up.

  • Rob - 15 years ago

    What dangerous precedent does this set? Criminals already use these things, and the police will if the law's changed. Neither looks to the BBC for precedent, so who exactly are we setting this precedent for?

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