Remove, encrypt or broke instantly on owned host

Hello dear experts,

I have a client who doesn't want to pay upfront until the job is done. I have an agreement with him but I don't want to go to court incase of anything. I want to put some php code on host in case I want to activate it and close website if agreement fails.

What can I do if he will change access to host?
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andreasSystem AdminCommented:
You cant do nothing (legally). Only go to court.

Leaving a backdoor I think would be unlawful in most countries.

Even if he doesnt lock you out, taking the site off after wenting online could cause you problems (e.g. laws against sabotage)

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Ray PaseurCommented:
Don't even get involved in a business arrangement like that.  If you don't have trust between the parties, you're just asking for trouble.  If you decide to go forward anyway, here is what I would do, in this exact order.

1. Develop on your own server
2. Demonstrate the system on your server to the client
3. Receive payment from the client
4. Deploy on the client's server
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
If you want to be safe, don't store any code on his server. Always do the full development on your server (allowing access to the interface), then transfer to his server once everything is in order.

To screen the clients, fragment the payments: 30% advance, 50% on project acceptance (after he agrees everything stated in the contract works as it should), 20% after you transfer everything to his server.

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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I like Ray's and Dan's ideas.  I never start work on a site without any money being paid.
SSupremeAuthor Commented:
I believe I can make backdoor for myself.
andreasSystem AdminCommented:
Technically its not too difficult to do this.

But legally you could get in big trouble by implementing a backdoor.

hacker finds backdoor and breaks in --> you will be liable
you use the backdoor and deactivate the site --> you might end in court for sabotage (for implementing the secret backdoor and for disturbing site operation) and blackmailing/coercion
you dont use backdoor and it wont be misused but discovered later --> you will find yourself in court again.

I wouldnt take the risk in implementing a backdoor, insted go to court and sue for the money if it really will be necessary after payment was refused.

If you implement the backdoor and he still does not pay you also dont have money but additional problems.
If he pays without any problem you also still have the problem of the lingering backdoor.  The backdoor most likely will make your problems bigger.
Natty GregIn Theory (IT)Commented:
IT is best to walk away, with a customer like that, walk away there is no need to work with such a person even if you can make a back door, walk away, you'll get to keep your integrity.
Ray PaseurCommented:
+1 for what nattygreg said.  If I EVER found out that a developer had deliberately built a back door into an application, I would NEVER do business with the developer, EVER.
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