Poll: Child abuse suspicion no excuse for hacking

Nearly two-thirds of computer users are against illegally infecting or hacking into a computer, even if it is suspected of belonging to a paedophile, a new poll shows.

The online survey, conducted this month by Sophos, sought the views of 233 PC users from across the UK. The results show that 64 per cent of those people questioned do not believe it is ever right to unlawfully access a computer, despite suspicions that its owner is engaging in child abuse.

“Having a 'hunch' that someone might be involved in child pornography is not a justifiable reason to infect and hack into their PC,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “Two wrongs do not make a right, and hackers should not take the law into their own hands.”

Last week, a 66-year-old former judge from California, was convicted for possessing child pornography on the basis of evidence obtained by a hacker. Ronald C Kline was brought to the attention of the US authorities after his computer was infected with a Trojan horse by Canadian hacker Brad Willman.

He posted child pornography images on an internet newsgroup visited by paedophiles in 1999. By downloading the pictures, the Trojan was installed onto the suspected abuser’s machines. The hacker was then able to access the infected PCs and gather evidence for the police.


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