Mailing List

Popular Articles

Recent Articles

Follow Us

Could a Software Developer Whose Code is Used for Hacking Be Convicted of a Crime?

Written by on Saturday, April 29th, 2017 Print This Post Print This Post

If you are a software developer and you develop code that hackers then use to commit crimes, then you may be a risk for criminal prosecution, as an Arkansas developer named Taylor Huddleston recently discovered according to an article published by The Daily Beast.

According to The Daily Beast, Huddleston developed a remote administration tool called “NanoCore” that is popular with hackers but claims that he intended his tool to be adopted by “budget-conscious school IT administrators, tech support firms, server farms, and parents worried about what their kids are doing online.” The Daily Beast reports Huddleston is now being prosecuted on federal charges of conspiracy and aiding and abetting computer intrusions.

Could going after developers of software used by hackers be a new trend in law enforcement?

The Daily Beast article suggests that this could in fact be a new strategy in law enforcement, and points to the government’s 2012 prosecution of Michael “xVsiceral” Hogue, who had participated in “creating and selling a remote access program called Blackshades” which constituted ransomware, as possible motivation for the strategy, since the government subsequently entered into a deal with Hogue, which enabled U.S. & European authorities being able to successfully prosecute 100 users of the software over a two-year long investigation.

The bottom line is that developers who create code or products that may have legitimate as well as hacking applications should be on notice that they could become the target of a federal investigation or even be federally prosecuted as a result of their development activities.  The Huddleston case certainly suggests that software innovators should be considering how their innovations may be utilized once developed before they actually follow through with the development, and certainly should be seeing outside legal counsel on these issues prior to engaging in the development of a product that may have both innocuous and criminal applications.  Developers in such circumstances also may want to re-consider the wisdom of engaging in independent development and seek out corporate support for their development project.


Category: Software Crimes
Copyright 2008-2017 The Prinz Law Office.

The Prinz Law Office | Silicon Valley, CA | Los Angeles, CA | Orange County, CA | San Diego, CA | Atlanta, GA | Tel: 1.800.884.2124

Mailing Address: 117 Bernal Rd., Suite 70-110, San Jose, CA 95119. Silicon Valley Office: 2033 Gateway Place, 5th Floor, San Jose, CA 95110 (408) 884-2854. Los Angeles Office: 3110 Main St., Building C, Santa Monica, CA 90405. (310) 907-9218. Orange County Office: 100 Spectrum Center Drive, 9th Floor, Irvine, CA 92618. (949)236-6777. San Diego Office: 4455 Murphy Canyon Road, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92123. (619)354-2727. Atlanta Office: 1000 Parkwood Circle, Suite 900 Atlanta, Georgia 30339. (404)479-2470

Serving Silicon Valley, San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Irvine, Anaheim, Orange County, Santa Monica, Silicon Beach, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Sacramento, Atlanta. Licensed in California & Georgia.