Suggestion: Don't Name Your Illegal Computer Spying Business 'Hackers Are Us'

from the just-a-tip dept

While everyone has different ways of going about marketing various businesses, you would think that if you're involved in something illegal, you wouldn't refer to your organization in a way that reveals the illegality of what you're doing. Apparently, a private detective firm in the UK had a separate group which they proudly named "Hackers Are Us," which was making quite a bit of money by helping people get info from the computers' of others. There's no real mystery (and no real "hacking") in how they did so. They just sent an email and used some social engineering to convince people to click on the attachment, which loaded a keylogger. Pretty straightforward. Of course, the group is now in court trying to defend these actions -- but the use of the name probably doesn't help.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Tarky7, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 3:36pm

    1st !

    that firm was probably owned by some cops !

    reminiscent of out current head cop, Mr. Gonzales.

    Pigs on the Web !

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    ehrichweiss, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 3:48pm

    had to be careful myself..

    I own/run a business that is named in that type of manner but it's legit; we do security audits and then teach people how to avoid such a situation. Not-so-strangely pretty regularly I get some twerp emailing me to ask if he can hire us to break into some website for them, and most of them can't spell, or read for that matter since it states clearly in our FAQ that security audits are performed legally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Sea Man, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 3:51pm

    thinning the herd

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Joe Smith, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 6:19pm


    It reminds me of the guy who named his pit bull "Jaws" - the name did not help when the dog bit the neighbor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    rEdEyEz, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 6:30pm I know, who woulda thunk it?

    I always wondered why the bill I submitted before congress, entitled " 'House of Representatives' to change name to 'Douchebags R Us' " was voted down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 7:13pm

    Re: I know, who woulda thunk it?


    phunny cuz itz tru yo

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 8:20pm

    Hey, at least they were honest. LMAO

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Wolferz (profile), Apr 26th, 2007 @ 10:07pm

    hacking is not illegal

    First and foremost, hacking does include social engineering. In fact that is a massive percentage of how most hacks are preformed.

    It seems the poster here has fallen into the same habit that the media has. The habit of thinking of hackers as simply people who make viruses, used obscure security flaws to access restricted data, and cause mayhem for amusement.

    Hacking is not limited or restricted to computers or even electronics. Hacking simply put is the act of finding ways around the intended functionality of an item in order to achieve something not normally possible with it. This could be getting an apache web server to spit out the contents of the server root folder or it could be getting the security dude at a companies front desk to hand out information about the system that allows you to compromise it.

    Further more not all hacks are illegal as not all hacks involve gaining access to restricted information.

    In short I have two major issues with the post. The idea that hacking is inherently illegal, and the idea that hacking is restricted entirely to technical endeavors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Chris, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 10:11pm

    good ole lawyers

    If this company was smart, they would have only taken on clients who owned the property being "hacked." In the case of the banker it's more than likely he owned, or partially owned, the telephones and computers that are in question. In which case he gave consent to the company to do whatever they pleased to his possessions. If such were the case I 'd fail to see how anything but being a bad spouse was committed.

    If they did however invade another persons computer and start monitoring it without prior consent, well I'm sure they'd bring up some other court ruling pointing out that by opening and clicking whatever was necessary to install the malicious software in the first place, although perhaps done with complete ignorance, was indeed consensual agreement. Considering the guy’s a “banking heir” I’m going to bet he can afford the legal fees to defeat what meager taxes can do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 10:31pm

    Socially engineered hacking is the easiest hack ever, remember sub7? It was so easy, you pretend to be the opposite sex of your target and message them showing interest. Like when they say "I'm into cars." you pretend to be estatic like, "OMG I LOVE HOT CARS. I have this awesome car screensaver, want it?

    Now assuming they dont have virus protection, the server will be running once they open the file. Now you need their IP address. Easy. "Hey, nothing happened." Oh really, here's where I downloaded it from, (link here) Now it's not really a link its your IP address and you should be running a IP grabber. And thats it. Open sub7, enter IP address and connect.

    Of course these days things are harder with computers being behind routers and firewalls. The above example was good about 5 years ago and I haven't checked to see if the program has been updated to work around it.

    sub7 was the most popular back in the day. It really gave you full control. My buddies and I used to load it on the computers in the lab and prank everyone during classs since we were always there early. We'd do stupid shit like open drives, flip their screens upsidedownbackwards, make porno pop up. It was hilarious. We'd even record sleazy AIM convos, copy them, and throw em around the halls before the lunch bell. Good times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Mike4, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 9:18am

    Re: hacking is not illegal

    Wolferz, are you new to techdirt? Most of us who come here are either hackers ourselves or have done some sort of hacking. You're argument is absolutely correct and I'm sure most of us would argue with you, but it doesn't apply to this story. The hackers in this story were clearly using their powers for evil.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Mike4, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 9:19am

    Re: hacking is not illegal

    "I'm sure most of us would argue with you" was supposed to read "I'm sure most of us would agree with you." Sorry for the confusion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Kyros, May 2nd, 2007 @ 6:53pm

    Wolforz, as mike4 said(or meant at least), your right, but, in this case, usually when you hire a firm, your hiring them to be coders, not engineers of the social branch.
    I do tend to think that anybody stupid enough to use questionable legal methods with such an obvious name ( should be jailed though..

    (side note- whats with the non-capitalizing n00bs on the thread? The word "hacker" attract them all from gizoogle?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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