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Is it more unethical to release an "honest cryptolocker" or one that lies and never gives the files, degrading the trust the entire cryptolocker grift relies on?

It's pretty obvious that it's worse to be an actual criminal, than someone who goes around and pretends to be one.

In the same way that it's worse to shoot someone with an actual gun than to threaten to shoot them with a Nerf gun.

The negative network effects on other scammers are also nice.

In this case both are actual criminals but one returns your data after payment while the other doesn't

I'm not so sure.

An "honest cryptolocker" helps support more cryptolocker use, as people trust that if they pay the criminal they'll get their stuff

If dishonest ones were the norm, than maybe cryptolocking would cannibalize itself as nobody would pay since they know its useless. So in a sense the dishonest one while having less ethical intention has more ethical results. But only at scale. Hmmm.

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