The BBC’s Click program has been getting quite a bit of publicity after it “acquired” a botnet. It used the botnet to send spam (to specially created addresses) and bring down a website (with the consent of the site’s owners). This was all done in the name of consumer education.
Normally, the BBC does a great job telling people about the potential dangers of computing. But this time they’ve gone about it the wrong way. The Computer Misuse Act clearly states that a person is guilty of an offence if “he causes a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer”.
I’m not a lawyer, and smart lawyers often manage to find loopholes in the law. But I do work for a security company, and it’s my view that the Click guys certainly broke the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.
Accessing other people’s computers is wrong. Accessing other people’s computers to create TV content, even with the best of intentions, is very wrong indeed.