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The BBC program Panorama last night investigated claims that the News of the World hired a hacker to break into a subject's PC to steal emails. In fact, it appears that the unnamed hacker installed a Trojan on the victim's PC. Which sounds like a fairly unequivocal breach of the Computer Misuse Act, which outlaws unauthorized access and unauthorized modification.
I haven't seen the program yet (UK viewers can see it on iPlayer using the link above), so I don't know if the BBC inquisitors who fired questions at Alex Marunchak made any reference to the legality or otherwise of the BBC's own Click programme, which apparently paid several thousand dollars a while ago to rent a botnet in the name of investigative journalism. But I suspect not.
Hat tip to Graham Cluley.
David Harley CITP FBCS CISSP
ESET Senior Research Fellow
Author David Harley, ESET