FBI Hacking Case Judge Doesn’t Understand Computing

A US Judge, during a case regarding the FBI’s use of Network Investigative Technique (NIT) – effectively a form of hacking – was found to have little knowledge or understanding of the concepts being discussed.

During a hearing in Seattle on Friday (15th March), Judge Robert J. Bryan presided over the case of Jay Michaud, a public school administrator in Vancouver, Washington, who was charged with possession of child pornography. Michaud was caught in a sting operation by the FBI, during with the law enforcement agency seized a hidden Tor service called Playpen, hosted it from its own server, and used NIT to bypass the Tor encryption to obtain his real IP address. The use of NIT in the case is being contested.

During the hearing, Judge Bryan appeared confused as to how NIT works: “I am trying to understand,” he told the court. Below is a transcript from the hearing (via Vice Motherboard), during which Judge Bryan fails grasp how NIT is implemented:

Judge Bryan: “Do the FBI experts have any way to look at the NIT information other than going to the server?”

Colin Fieman (Michaud’s public defender): “Your Honor, they don’t go to the server.”

JB: “Where do they go? How do they get the information?”

CF: “They get it from Mr. Michaud’s computer.”

JB: “They don’t have his computer.”

CF: “That’s what the NIT is for.”

Struggling to wrap his head around NIT, Judge Bryan later said, “I suppose there is somebody sitting in a cubicle somewhere with a keyboard doing this stuff. I don’t know that. It may be they seed the clouds, and the clouds rain information. I don’t know.”

While, on the face of it, Judge Bryan’s comments are amusing – though, to be fair, the ideas being conveyed during the case can be impenetrable to people without an inclination toward technology and computing – it is worrying that someone without a grasp of the subject being discussed is then expected to make a ruling on the matter, and that Judge Bryan’s ignorance, though not necessarily his fault, does not automatically recuse him from presiding over the case.

Or, as Vice Motherboard puts it:

““If a smart federal judge still has trouble understanding after hours of expert testimony what is actually going on,” then the average judge signing warrant applications has little hope of truly understanding what the FBI is proposing, Nate Wessler, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told Motherboard in a phone interview.”

Image courtesy of HackRead.

Tickets for Dota 2 The International Sold Out in a Record-Breaking Six Minutes

The biggest eSports event of the year, Dota 2 “The International”, is approaching and fans are getting really excited for the even. Possibly too excited.

The previous tournament took place in Key Arena, Seattle, between July 18th and 21st. The tickets have sold in less than an hour, so fans were urged to be quick on buying a ticket sine then. But nobody expected all the tickets for this year’s event to be sold in… six minutes?

It is said that this year’s tournament will be held in the same Key Arena in Seattle, but in August this time around. The lucky people who were fast enough to buy a ticket are likely to be eagerly looking forward to the start of the tournament.

Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information

Seattle Police Launches YouTube Channel to Share Body Camera Footage

Police body cameras have been a big source of contention lately. With various police shootings in the US, and the subsequent protests, many have called to have body cameras introduced for officers. Well, Seattle Police have gone one step further.

The force has begun uploading footage recorded from the cameras to YouTube. Now you might wonder how they can do this with there being many members of the non-consenting public being filmed in these videos. Well, if you watch one of their videos below, you’ll see how. They essentially turn the videos into a hazy blur, using a filter to make individuals indistinguishable.

So, while you might be interested to experience life as a police officer in Seattle, be prepared to experience life as an officer with an eye condition.

Source: The Verge

AMD CEO Claims “We do not Live in the Shadow of Intel”

The battle will be raging until the end of time, Intel vs AMD, who’s better? Who’s faster? Who’s more affordable?

Recently, AMD CEO Rory Read announced that his chief operating officer, Lisa Su, would become the new top dog – effective immediately. In one of her first statements, she made it clear that AMD will not live in the shadows of its competitor – Intel. Lisa marks the first female CEO of this kind in the industry and has been given the task of taking on the transformation of AMD through three clearly announced points. Being described as a ‘straight shooter’, Lisa described simply the new direction for AMD.

The first and highest priority is to produce great products, IP, technologies, system software platforms and customer relations. Her first tasks as the CEO will be to oversee the new AMD releases of K11 and K12 chips, the Seattle ARM server series and the Radeon 20nm graphics series, will they live up to these expectations?

This is followed by improved customer satisfaction. Lisa claims there will be 50 billion connected devices by the year 2020 and AMD wants a large market share. They plan to do a lot of this through their company partnerships which currently boast big-name companies such as HP, Lenovo, Acer, Dell and Apple.

Lastly she’s made it clear that AMD needs to release its products on time, focusing on simple, fast and decisive qualities. As we said before, Lisa doesn’t mess around – she’s made it clear that she’s got high expectations of her company’s future and she’s envisioned AMD as a world leading company in the years to come.

Is this a solid push in the right direction that AMD needs, or is this a front that they’re putting up to draw attention to their brand? Either way, we’re excited to see what Lisa and her staff can accomplish in 2014 and beyond.

What is your preferred platform and why? Most of all, what do you use your platform for?

Image courtesy of Silicon Valley Business Journal

Norse Providing Real-Time Hack Monitoring Map

With all the rambling going on the Internet regarding cyber crime and hacking, nobody can see the full extent of what is really going on. China and the US are reported to constantly ‘clash’ about online spying, having companies and businesses suffering from their actions as a result.

A company from the US called Norse is apparently providing a map which reportedly displays real-time cyber-attacks occurring all over the world. The map can be viewed here (map apparently working best with Chrome), having the company stating that “attacks shown are based on a small subset of live flows against the Norse honeypot infrastructure, representing actual worldwide cyber attacks by bad actors”.

Defence One reports that business hours on Monday in Hong Kong, China has led the list of countries where attacks originated, having the US as China’s top target. The attacks are said to include protocols such as SSH, Telnet, as well as the Windows hacking tool named Crazzynet.

The report also gives examples of targeted and well-organised strikes from China occurring at 1:30 pm on Monday in Hong Kong, having Seattle and Washington as targets. Another example stated originated from Hong Kong and targeted St. Louis just after 4 pm.

Norse is reportedly founded by a former intelligence expert, having previously worked with the US Department of Homeland Security, and a technology consultant.

Thank you Defence One for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Defence One