eBay Delists Compromised Vista Laptop

    April 2, 2008

There are a few things that we all know are banned from eBay: alcohol, guns, dead bodies.  And it seems we can add "hacked computers" to the list, as the auction site recently cracked down on a mildly famous example.

Shane Macaulay trieds to sale laptop
 Shane Macaulay

Last week, Shane Macaulay won the PWN 2 OWN hacking contest by compromising a Windows Vista laptop.  He got to keep the machine, and received $5,000 to boot.  But when Macaulay put the laptop on eBay – and actively promoted its history – eBay removed the listing.

"You can’t sell anything that would do harm," a company spokesperson told Robert McMillan.

This explanation caused more than a few eyebrows to rise, given eBay’s tolerance of knives and other physically dangerous items.  There’s been speculation that the company is either being nice to Microsoft or singling out hackers for punishment.

It’s probably just as well for Macaulay that the auction was ended, however; if he’d unloaded the laptop before Adobe could release a patch, the hacking contest’s sponsor "would have disqualified him from the program," according to McMillan.