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Innovation in Information Security

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You can Only Blame Technology so Often

Is the latest defence against embarrassing or criminal emails, text messages, and Internet activity that a hacker did it? Detroit's Mayor is currently the subject of a lawsuit alleging that he and a former aide conspired to lie under oath in a previous investigation.

That in itself isn't too much out of the ordinary, but the Mayor's lawyers are arguing that allegedly incriminating text messages that are supposed to have been sent between the parties were actually the work of hackers.

It is assumed that the text messages will provide sufficient evidence of guilt but it does make for an interesting defence tactic to prevent the release of the messages. What it leaves most people with is the impression that the text messages will implicate the Mayor and his aide and that it is a wildly speculative attempt from his defence lawyers to avoid them having to be shown in court.

It has been pointed out that while it is technically feasible to have had hackers create the messages, it is fairly straight forward to correlate messaging activity with other events on the Mayor's schedule. A further reason why the defence lawyers seem to be pushing hard to suppress release of the records is the belief that the messages are the key component to the prosecution's case, and without them the case will fail.

Making matters worse, when it can be shown that there is a reasonable assumption that the person involved has actually been the victim of a malware author / hacker, such as the Julie Amero case, it can be difficult to convince people that it actually is the case.

18 July 2008

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