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Thread: Knowledge vs. Use of Knowledge

  1. #1
    Just burned his ISO
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    Question Knowledge vs. Use of Knowledge

    Since I cannot post anywhere else at the moment, I'm going to pose this question here.

    Which is the illegal part? The accumulation of knowledge or the use of that knowledge?

    For instance, if I know how to get the key for a wireless network through the use of tools X, Y, and Z, have I broken the law? No, clearly not. This is akin to the thought pattern "you know that to break into the house across the street all you have to do is throw a brick through the window and crawl in." So, the knowledge isn't illegal.

    Now, if I were to go and get the key to the wireless network through whatever means, have I broken the law? I don't think I have. This would be the same as accusing the kid who's baseball just broke through your window of trying to rob you. So, is getting the key illegal? I'm not sure.

    Any form of use of the key is clearly illegal. Using it to check your email, etc...that is beyond a doubt illegal. Going back to the house entry analogy you've just put a baseball through the neighbors window then climbed in, when the police arrive you don't have a chance of saying it was an accident.

    But, there is a contradiction in this logic, which is the part that's puzzling me. If it's illegal for me to get the key, but not use it then it follows suit that it's illegal for me to know how to get the key since both are just knowledge. Now for those of you who are thinking that because you had to actively obtain the key, this makes knowing the key illegal, I have a curveball for you.

    For those who follow Hak.5, you already know what a Pineapple is. If you don't Google it (Hak.5 Pinapple) it looks like fun. Back to my point. The pineapple works based on network probes. When a laptop probes for a network, asking "Hello, is there a network named 'linksys' in the area?" the Pineapple responds "yes, I am a network named 'linksys'". The laptop then tries to authenticate against that Pineapple. Of course the pineapple accepts whatever key the laptop provides, and logs it.

    No crime was committed (at least in Canada) because the owner of a network is able to audit whatever data flows across this network, which includes logging the data. So, the owner of the Pineapple just legally got the key to whatever network the laptop was trying to access, legally.

    Now, I pose my question to you once again: is knowledge of the key to a protected network illegal, or is use of the key illegal? Same conditions apply before, if knowing they key is illegal then the knowledge itself is illegal, making knowing HOW to get the key illegal. I want to be clear that using the key is illegal without question.

  2. #2
    Moderator KMDave's Avatar
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    The knowledge itself is not illegal.

    But in your example it is illegal to accquire the key in that manner. The owner of the key is not giving it to you with his knowledge and agreement. It would be like telling someone: "Hey, this is your front door, unlock it with your key" and he would put his key into the lock and you would theoretically be able to copy the key when the user put it into your faked front door's lock.

    If you'd try that out with your key and you being fully aware that your key is being copied and consent to it, it is not illegal. But to just create a copy without someone knowing it is most likely illegal. Same with cracking/bruteforcing the key. Even if you don't use it, just attemping to is illegal. In which way you accquire the key without the consent of the user, you commit something illegal.
    Tiocfaidh ár lá

  3. #3
    My life is this forum thorin's Avatar
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    IANAL

    Now, if I were to go and get the key to the wireless network through whatever means, have I broken the law? I don't think I have. This would be the same as accusing the kid who's baseball just broke through your window of trying to rob you. So, is getting the key illegal? I'm not sure.
    Perhaps the kid isn't a thief but he has damaged your property, take him to small claims court.

    Law:
    State Hacking Laws
    Laws You May Not Even Know You're Breaking (US)
    C-46, Section 326 (Canada/Federal)
    C-46, Section 430 (Canada/Federal)

    For those who follow Hak.5, you already know what a Pineapple is. If you don't Google it (Hak.5 Pinapple) it looks like fun. Back to my point. The pineapple works based on network probes. When a laptop probes for a network, asking "Hello, is there a network named 'linksys' in the area?" the Pineapple responds "yes, I am a network named 'linksys'". The laptop then tries to authenticate against that Pineapple. Of course the pineapple accepts whatever key the laptop provides, and logs it.

    No crime was committed (at least in Canada) because the owner of a network is able to audit whatever data flows across this network, which includes logging the data. So, the owner of the Pineapple just legally got the key to whatever network the laptop was trying to access, legally.
    Knowledge of the key would not be illegal however the means by which you got the key could likely be considered some type of telecommunications fraud (in Canada).
    I'm a compulsive post editor, you might wanna wait until my post has been online for 5-10 mins before quoting it as it will likely change.

    I know I seem harsh in some of my replies. SORRY! But if you're doing something illegal or posting something that seems to be obvious BS I'm going to call you on it.

  4. #4
    My life is this forum thorin's Avatar
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    BAH...dbl post.

    WTF it told me I had to wait 30 sec to post and to post again in 15 sec, so I do and I commit the sin of dbl posting. What a piece of junk.
    I'm a compulsive post editor, you might wanna wait until my post has been online for 5-10 mins before quoting it as it will likely change.

    I know I seem harsh in some of my replies. SORRY! But if you're doing something illegal or posting something that seems to be obvious BS I'm going to call you on it.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Archangel-Amael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorin View Post
    BAH...dbl post.

    WTF it told me I had to wait 30 sec to post and to post again in 15 sec, so I do and I commit the sin of dbl posting. What a piece of junk.
    That's because vbulletin knows you are a thread killing spammer.
    To be successful here you should read all of the following.
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    Failure to do so will probably get your threads deleted or worse.

  6. #6
    Just burned his ISO
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorin View Post
    Knowledge of the key would not be illegal however the means by which you got the key could likely be considered some type of telecommunications fraud (in Canada).
    I like that answer, thanks .

  7. #7
    Super Moderator lupin's Avatar
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    Knowledge of the key itself wouldn't be illegal, but the method used to obtain knowledge of the key may be illegal. I the unlikely event that a wireless key is written on a billboard out the front of the neighbors house you could legally obtain knowledge of the key by reading the billboard. If however you needed to interact with the wireless network to obtain the key, either by sniffing or sending traffic then this may be illegal (depending on jurisdiction).

    Its generally "acts" (something that you have to actively do, or neglect to do) that are illegal, not thoughts or knowledge.
    Capitalisation is important. It's the difference between "Helping your brother Jack off a horse" and "Helping your brother jack off a horse".

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  8. #8
    My life is this forum Barry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lupin View Post
    Knowledge of the key itself wouldn't be illegal, but the method used to obtain knowledge of the key may be illegal. I the unlikely event that a wireless key is written on a billboard out the front of the neighbors house you could legally obtain knowledge of the key by reading the billboard. If however you needed to interact with the wireless network to obtain the key, either by sniffing or sending traffic then this may be illegal (depending on jurisdiction).

    Its generally "acts" (something that you have to actively do, or neglect to do) that are illegal, not thoughts or knowledge.
    Didn't thorin say that last week?
    Of course, if you really wanted to have some fun, go to Wal-Mart late at night and ask the greeter if they could help you find trashbags, roll of carpet, rope, quicklime, clorox and a shovel. See if they give you any strange looks. --Streaker69

  9. #9
    Super Moderator lupin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Didn't thorin say that last week?
    Yeah pretty much. I noticed that just after I posted.

    My mistake
    Capitalisation is important. It's the difference between "Helping your brother Jack off a horse" and "Helping your brother jack off a horse".

    The Forum Rules, Forum FAQ and the BackTrack Wiki... learn them, love them, live them.

  10. #10
    My life is this forum Barry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lupin View Post
    Yeah pretty much. I noticed that just after I posted.

    My mistake
    Okay, just checking.
    Of course, if you really wanted to have some fun, go to Wal-Mart late at night and ask the greeter if they could help you find trashbags, roll of carpet, rope, quicklime, clorox and a shovel. See if they give you any strange looks. --Streaker69

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