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SAN FRANCISCO--Using a honeypot to detect and surveil computer intruders might put you on the working end of federal wiretapping beef, or even get you sued by the next hacker that sticks his nose in the trap, a Justice Department attorney warned Wednesday.

"There are some legal issues here, and they are not necessarily trivial, and they're not necessarily easy," said Richard Salgado, senior counsel for the Department of Justice's computer crime unit, speaking at the RSA Conference here Wednesday.

An increasingly popular technique for detecting would-be intruders, a honeypot is a type of hacker flypaper: a system that sits on an organization's network for no other purpose than to be hacked, in theory diverting attackers away from genuinely valuable targets and putting them in an closely monitored environment where every keystroke can be analyzed.

But that monitoring is what federal criminal law calls "interception of communications," said Salgado, a felony that carries up to five years in prison. Fortunately for honeypot operators, there are exemptions to the Federal Wiretap Act that could be applied to some honeypot configurations, but they still leave many hacker traps in a legal danger zone.

One exemption permits interception of a communication if one of the parties consents to it the monitoring. To that end, Salgado suggested that honeypots display a banner message warning that use of the computer is monitored. "You can banner your honeypot... and you've got the argument that they saw the banner, continued using the system, and consented to monitoring," he said. But most hackers don't penetrate a system through the front door -- telneting in or surfing to a web page -- and if they never see the banner, they haven't consented to monitoring. "It's not the silver bullet."


http://www.securityfocus.com/news/4004
 

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This is totally a$$inine. It's also widely accepted that a business network is totally owned by the business and the business has the rights to monitor an intercept communications on its network.

So, the business can monitor employee communications but not a hackers?

If I run a packet capture on our network, in the DMZ, that's wiretapping? Give me a break. :rolleyes:
 
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