Ok, now that I'm living in a wormhole again I remember that there are times when you can get very bored. And boredom causes me to do stupid stuff. I'll admit I now have a guilty pleasure in suicide ganking people when I get bored. I know that it's a horrible thing and everyone hates a suicide ganker, but it's a natural part of Eve, and there are very easy steps you can take to prevent someone else from suicide ganking you.
One of the biggest things you should do if you're carrying any loot you don't want to lose, avoid using autopilot. There is also a ISK to Gank ratio that you should to take into consideration. If you're flying a tech 1 hauler, and you're carrying more than 100 million in loot, you're a target juicy target. You might even get ganked for carrying 50 million because tech 1 haulers blow up so easy. If you're in a freighter and you're carrying more than 1 billion in loot you "might" be a target but maybe not a juicy one. It takes a LOT of DPS to bring down a freighter so autopiloting is typically safe as long as you stay below the 1 billion isk benchmark. If you start carrying 1.5 - 2.0 billion in loot in a freighter, you just became something everyone wants to shoot. If you've got the extra low slots, think about using some warp core stabs as well, they've saved my life on more than one occasion.
As a ganker, you have to accept that half the loot will drop, the other half will vaporize into space dust. So if you blow up something carrying 100 million in loot, only expect 50 million of loot to drop. If anything more than that drops, count yourself lucky. Using this basic formula you shouldn't risk more than probably 20-30 million in ships to gank someone carrying 100 million in loot.
This morning me and my CEO decided that we wanted to try and make some easy ISK and go suicide gank someone. We headed out to a nearby .5 system, him with a catalyst, me with my alt in a Talwar. I used two of my mid slots to equip a passive targeting system and a cargo scanner so he had to equip the tackle mods. People can tell you're still scanning them even with a passive targeting mod, but they have to be looking for the long yellow scanning beam coming from your ship to theirs. If you're hauling something you don't want to lose, and you think it's likely you might be ganked, fly to a safespot immediately and wait out the storm.
Our target was just going to be one of the tech 1 haulers out there, like the Iteron Mark V or a Badger II or something like that. If we attack on gate the sentry guns will instapop my Talwar, so I'm only good for one volley, but luckily that volley will get me up to 1500 damage. The catalyst will get a few more shots off than me, but we'll end up with very similar total damage in the end. We've also got a third person in a hauler ready to scoop any loot we may be lucky enough to have drop.
Twenty minutes go by and I've been scanning ships left and right and not seeing anything really worth it. All of a sudden a Cheetah arrives at the gate and he's autopiloting. You can tell someone is autopiloting when they land about 15km from the gate and start slowing approaching it. I decide to go ahead and give the cheetah a scan.
I about shit myself when I see that he's loaded up with faction mods. I inform my CEO that we need to pop the Cheetah now. I'm already in range so I light him up, one volley and I'm dead, but I've knocked him down to about 50% armor. The catalyst joins in and the cheetah pops like zit. Our cargo hauler swoops in and scoops the loot as we warp away in our pods.
My CEO posts the killmail and the cheetah was worth almost 800 million and he ended up dropping almost 600 million of it, well above the 50% expected drop. Not a bad exchange for the 20 million in destroyers we lost.
I don't feel sorry for suicide ganking him and taking his stuff. I do feel a little sorry him because now he has to go explain to his corp/alliance how he got ganked in a covert ops frigate in high sec. It's very hard to catch a covert ops frigate in null sec when you've got bubbles and cans to help you. It's near impossible to catch a covert ops frigate in high sec unless he's autopiloting, and if you're autopiloting, you shouldn't be carrying 700-800 million in loot on you. Period.
Last week a member of our corp was flying an Iteron V with over a billion worth of loot in it. He had a T3 cruiser with all the fittings and a deimos with all the fittings in his cargo. As you may suspect, he got ganked and lost it all. He rage quit that night pissed off at suicide gankers. I understand his anger, but you're asking for it if you're carrying that much loot in a very soft, slow, and easy to catch ship.
Whether you hate gankers or not, they are a reality in Eve so you have to take precautions so as to not fall victim to one, and as long as people are willing to fly around in very soft ships carrying way too much loot, I'll be happy to shoot them and take it from them.