Don't hack other people's killboards, it's a crime in the real world you know…

I was reading the EVE forums this week and yes, I know how dangerous that can be.  You see post after post of good and not so good content.

Something caught my eye and yes, I did respond on the forums.  Head over and read this thread:  http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=884478.  Tibalt Avalon wrote:

After Emergency Conditions First War Declaration R.E.P.O. have Been Caught Posting Fake Killmails on Our Killboard. Just a Heads Up for Future Reference to Corporations these Guys are and do Post Fake Mails.

Ive Reported the On Our End to our Web Hosts but R.E.P.O’s Childish Move should be Made Public, dont know if anyone else has had the same problem with them. Kinda Sad to be Honest.

Fake Kill Mail Example:
http://img294.imageshack.us/my.php?image=repofakeen7.jpg

Now, there is always smack talk between organizations that are at war with each other and to be honest, I have been a fan or R.E.P.O.  from well before their alliance days.

But this is disturbing to me as the first response on this thread was from R.E.P.O. and what is said made me blink.  Hans Gates from R.E.P.O. wrote:

I shouldn’t even reply to this, but this guys seems to want to question REPOs reputation.

Your killboard has/had a blank password. WTF…

Our guys seemed compelled to update the board with actual kills, since you don’t seem to post losses.

I’m sure one of my guys posted the kill on your killboard, who wouldn’t screw around with a web site that had a blank password.

Anyways, last thing I need to do is try to defend our rep from you. I’m sure we have enough peeps to vouch for us without your lack of forward thinking about passords and such trying to attack our reputation.

Now for the smack talk, I did call this guy a moron repeatedly in public chat. (ha beat ya to the smack accusations!)

Fly Safe and Good Fights.

I can understand the frustration of a mercenary organization not seeing loss mails posted by their target, but, in case you did not see it, Hans admits that they actually  posted kills on someone else’s killboard, without the owners permission.  I read further along and Magus Nebula admits to posting kills on their target’s killboard:

I will admit I Did post most of all the legitimate killmails on your board, funny to note how all those were deleted too! And funny no losses at all in your corp, hmmmmm, trying to frame us maybe? but none of that matters, i will be editing this post to reflect everything you have lost to date from us, so the rest of the peeps here can see.

REPO 41 Kills – Emergency Condition 1 Kills

Ixoz – Reaper (Emergency Condition)
Ixoz – Retriever (Emergency Condition)
Jinmei Sang – Brutix (Emergency Condition)
Ngaro – Hurricane + POD (Emergency Condition)
Jinmei Sang – Thorax (Emergency Condition)
EbonWanderer – Condor + POD (Emergency Condition)
Ardaeik Marconea – Ferox + POD (Emergency Condition)
Aurther Haden – Jaguar (Emergency Condition)
Arktour – Rupture (Emergency Condition)
Fionnlagh – Rupture (Emergency Condition)
Aurther Haden – Hound + POD(Emergency Condition)
Jinmei Sang – Thorax (Emergency Condition)
Callus Rem – Cyclone + POD (Emergency Condition)
BY1 – Hurricane + POD (Emergency Condition)
EbonWanderer – Ibis + POD (Emergency Condition)
Jinmei Sang – Thorax (Emergency Condition)
Callus Rem – Rifter + POD (Emergency Condition)
IngenCor – Dominix + POD (Emergency Condition)
Malekev – Hound + POD (Emergency Condition)
Oaack – Tristan + POD (Emergency Condition)
EbonWanderer – Cormorant + POD (Emergency Condition)
Noob Bait – Scorpion + POD (Emergency Condition)
Aurther Haden – Hound + POD (Emergency Condition)
Ardaeik Marconea – Blackbird + POD (Emergency Condition)
Ardaeik Marconea – Drake + POD (Emergency Condition)

Magus Nebula – Arbitrator (REPO)

Hacking a person’s website, no matter how soft the security may be, is still a crime.  Updating their target’s killboard to reflect the actual outcome of a battle does not justify breaking the laws concerning computer security.

There is no justification in the real world for changing the content of another person’s website without their permission.  R.E.P.O. should have stuck to simply updating their own killboard and called them out on the forums for not posting their loss mails.

The only formal statement I could find from CCP was by CCPStevieSG:

Moved to crime and punishment from Corp and Alliances summit- StevieSG

Seriously, that’s all?  The thread was moved.   Does CCP condone the hacking of a website of another player organization?   I would hope not, but we have not seen anything positive so far.

Many of us remember the Ginger Magician incident, where real world threats were made in game.  R.E.P.O. has done something similar here, they have admitted to hacking a website, on the forums.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this one as it sets a dangerous precedent.  I know that CCP can not be the police for the entire world, but they need to make a statement that they do not condone such real world harassment and hacking of another player organization’s website.

Additional commentary added 10-23-2009:

I must extend a healthy thank you to everyone who has commented here on this article so far.  I do enjoy a good debate and for everything that has been contributed I am thankful.  Given what I have seen in the on the comments here,  the comments on the thread on the EVE forums and the various communications I have received both in and out of game, I am left a bit puzzled.

Many people seem to not make the distinction between what constitutes is an illegal act.  It seems that people only think something is illegal if they can be caught and punished and/or if damage was done.

If you are driving your car and you are exceeding the speed limit, does the fact that you are violating the traffic laws become less a illegal if the cop behind you does not pull you over and issue a speeding citation?

Does something become less illegal if you are not punished for breaking that law? Does it become less illegal if you are not caught?   In reality, no, it does not.  It just means that you were not held accountable for your actions.

Is this what we have become?  Do we honestly believe something is not a crime when the law has been broken but no one was hurt, no damage was done and/or you are not caught?

We have been dancing around many questions on this debate, but the core of the issue is this.   Someone put up a website and admittedly did a poor job.  They did not engage in good security practices and effectively left the key in the lock on the door.  Someone else exploited that weakness to correct an error in data on that website.  Someone opened a door that was supposed to be locked, but was not and in reality did no damage, only update some missing data.  The owner of the website was upset that these individuals were able to exploit his poor security and correct an inaccuracy in his data which did cast the owner in a poor light, but justly so as we all can agree on that one point.

Was this act of updating a crime?  Under the laws we have discussed here, yes.  Is this crime one for which these people should be punished?  That is a question that should be left to a judge if it were to go that far, however unlikely.  A slap on the wrist for exploiting weak security on a website is enough in my mind and honestly, the slap they received on the EVE forums should suffice in this observers opinion.

Should CCP take any action against these individuals?  Only as so far as the EVE Online terms of service allow, which in this case amounts to simply talking about an illegal act they committed, which if I am not mistaken, would be a simple forum ban for a few days.  Given that this original thread is over a year old, I would be willing to wager that too much time has gone by for that to be done now if it had not already been done.  CCP is usually pretty good about that sort of thing.

I will be leaving the comments on this post open for the time being as I know that there are people who still wish to weigh in.  Something to note, I have not approved 2 comments that were submitted, both of which were abusive in nature and for the record, one did support my arguments here.

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~ by J. Riley Castine on October 22, 2009.

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