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What's the best way to answer someone who asks a question that amounts to wanting to pwn their users' machines? All of the questions I've seen in this sphere seem more ignorant than malicious, but questions like this seem to be coming up a lot lately.

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In many of these situations they're probably just trying to do what the boss/client has asked them to do, and therefore it's best that you provide an answer that reflects that. But I think the reasons why X is a bad idea or can't be done (or why solution Y will not work in numerous situations) should also be made clear to them - again, in an attempt to dissuade them/the boss/client from pursuing the idea.

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In the cited case, the questioner was asking about mucking with students' computers in ways that could make them potentially unusable. This is over the line as far as I'm concerned. Tell the questioner why this is such a bad idea, and don't tell him how to do dangerous things with other people's computers. – David Thornley Nov 28 '09 at 23:45

I would downvote it and vote to close it (if I could). While I'm sympathetic to the desire for SO to be a comprehensive site, I've seen more questions about subverting users' machines than protecting them, and I have no real desire to help a random stranger hack peoples' machines.

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Well, help them, by all means! Do you know how hard it is nowadays to come across good ways to pwn users' machines? Especially now with Win7 and all... I mean, c'mon... where should a poor developer find help in writing a good-ol' virus or keylogger or such, if not on SO?

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If I knew enough about current virus techniques to write one, I'd also know enough about current virus techniques to prevent one. SO is a Q&A site, let's make it the most comprehensive there is.

(Because let's be honest, there are better places than SO to learn about creating viruses - easier ones, too)

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The problem isn't that the asker is going into "dangerous" territory as much as it is that they're showing a pretty cavalier attitude towards the security and integrity of their user's machines. Rather than encouraging ignorance, I'd like to know if anyone has an effective way to tell someone that their e-learning-cursor-changing-kitten-viewer application shouldn't be topped off with a rootkit. – user138940 Nov 16 '09 at 16:03
I don't understand why anybody would want to uninstall a kitten viewer? A rootkit in this situation would just serve to prevent accidental misclicks from being potentially cute-removing! – Phoshi Nov 16 '09 at 19:28
In the cited question, the questioner at least seemed to have some reluctance to mess with other people's computers, but simply didn't seem to understand why this is a really bad idea. – David Thornley Nov 28 '09 at 23:42

for a kiosk application, this is a legitimate question...

...of course, the OP could be lying about the context...

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