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Man Fired When Laptop Malware Downloaded Porn

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the your-computer-wants-porn dept.

Security 635

Geoffrey.landis writes "The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents fired worker Michael Fiola and initiated procedures to prosecute him for child pornography when they determined that internet temporary files on his laptop computer contained child porn. According to Fiola, 'My boss called me into his office at 9 a.m. The director of the Department of Industrial Accidents, my immediate supervisor, and the personnel director were there. They handed me a letter and said, "You are being fired for a violation of the computer usage policy. You have pornography on your computer. You're fired. Clean out your desk. Let's go."' Fiola said, 'They wouldn't talk to me. They said, "We've been advised by our attorney not to talk to you."' However, prosecutors dropped the case when a state investigation of his computer determined there was insufficient evidence to prove he had downloaded the files. Computer forensic analyst Tami Loehrs, who spent a month dissecting the computer for the defense, explained in a 30-page report that the laptop was running corrupted virus-protection software, and Fiola was hit by spammers and crackers bombarding its memory with images of incest and pre-teen porn not visible to the naked eye. The virus protection and software update functions on the laptop had been disabled, and apparently the laptop was 'crippled' by malware. According to Loehrs, 'When they gave him this laptop, it had belonged to another user, and they changed the user name for him, but forgot to change the SMS user name, so SMS was trying to connect to a user that no longer existed ... It was set up to do all of its security updates via the server, and none of that was happening because he was out in the field.' A malware script on the machine surfed foreign sites at a rate of up to 40 per minute whenever the machine was within range of a wireless site."

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do you remember? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23846993)

do you remember the old toys the girls would sit and rotate on do you remember nights in the autumn when the trees would burn and we'd sit there with marshmallows and the cars would laugh in our faces as they passed and out came the shotguns and do you remember when i'd sit beside you and call you mildew do you remember when i'd ram my fist through your flesh and all would come crumbling out and the butterflies would move inside my veins and take up esidence 'cos jem i remember how we'd walk through the streets on 3am and the world was nothing and our torches would burn out BUT LISTEN THERE IS A FIRE INSIDE OWOWOWOW WHY DID I EAT A BOX OF MATCHES THAT WAS FOOLISH

What is the real truth here? (4, Insightful)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847025)

It just seems immensly more likely that he got infected by malware from surfing porn sites, than getting infected by porn from having malware.

Re:What is the real truth here? (3, Insightful)

Paul Pierce (739303) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847079)

It just seems immensly more likely that he got infected by malware from surfing porn sites, than getting infected by porn from having malware.
But Child porn? Would he be that dumb? I've seen many really infected machines, and let me tell you so nasty stuff pops up, and I really hope if they were surfing porn that they were able to find better stuff than that.

Oh, and by the way, the real Truth is here. (check my name)

Re:What is the real truth here? (4, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847107)

Sounds like it may have been the previous user that got the machine infected.

Re:What is the real truth here? (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847511)

"Sounds like it may have been the previous user that got the machine infected."

Sounds like a good reason to either demand a clean install when being issued a machine (and check it yourself anyway) or (if dealing with clueless types) wipe it, hand it back, and play the luser:

"Uhh, I can't log on..."

Re:What is the real truth here? (5, Funny)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847271)

Hey, this trick worked on my mother when she busted me with (regular) porn on the family computer back in the day. I just showed her some flashy sensationalist article from the newspaper about 'malware' and 'popups' and told her the internet must have done it. Obviously it was that evil internet that had filled her computer with pornography, and not her pure-minded, cherub-like son. Curse that evil internet.

I wonder if she ever noticed that 'the internet' preferred brunettes?

Re:What is the real truth here? (5, Funny)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847553)

Let me guess: Your mom is a brunette...

Re:What is the real truth here? (5, Funny)

blofeld9999 (1010357) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847619)

She is. I know this because I also prefer brunettes.

Re:What is the real truth here? (1)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847657)

She is - maybe she was just upset that the internet was seeing other girls?

Re:What is the real truth here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847327)

Do you know Tami? If so the rest of this comment doesn't really apply. I reckon that in matters that aren't reasonably trivial (like deciding where responsibility for getting images of child abuse on a laptop lie), you're best off acknowledging whatever your intuition tells you and taking note of it. That way your much better equipped to count-act the selective perception bias that you might otherwise not notice. Honestly, imagine you discovered one of your employees had child porn on your laptop. With your frame of mind you'd be likely to jump to the conclusion that he has breached your IT policy - instead of considering that as one of many possibilities that need to be investigated.

Certainly sounds fair... (5, Insightful)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847039)

Good to know they researched heavily before firing him. At my company when re-deploying hardware like a laptop it is standard to wipe it completely and load a ghosted image. Who WOULDN'T do at least as much?

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (4, Informative)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847105)

Who WOULDN'T do at least as much?

Government employees in Massachusetts, the state that is so corrupt and dysfunctional it gives government all over the rest of the U.S. a black eye.

Seriously. I just escaped (to D.C., which, despite its warts is a million times better) from three years of living in that hellhole. I don't think I encountered a single effective or competently run state agency the whole time.

I expect the employee who would have been responsible for wiping this laptop is probably a relative of some high official, and probably doesn't know how to do anything except reinstall Windows from a factory CD.

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847545)

I work at TJX so it's not only the state agencies. We'll be getting rid of the old security vulnerable hardware in a couple of months. A few months later it's the same thing. When I worked Corp side I ran into many infected machines. Unfortunatley the PCI guys kept sending it down for cleaning but they failed to understand we could only do so much remothely. No one ever heard of safe mode with them and proper disposal of viruses. Hell, all they had to do was reimage the machine.

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847653)

Who WOULDN'T do at least as much?

Government employees in Massachusetts, the state that is so corrupt and dysfunctional it gives government all over the rest of the U.S. a black eye.

Seriously. I just escaped (to D.C., which, despite its warts is a million times better) from three years of living in that hellhole. I don't think I encountered a single effective or competently run state agency the whole time.

I expect the employee who would have been responsible for wiping this laptop is probably a relative of some high official, and probably doesn't know how to do anything except reinstall Windows from a factory CD.

so that is why Kennedy has lasted this long !

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (1)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847661)

well, ya, Kennedy's the one who corrupted it.

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847655)

Actually, I hear that their tax collection services are quite effective and efficient, if not fair.

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847109)

Maybe somebody without Ghost?

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (5, Informative)

wtfispcloadletter (1303253) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847251)

Then there's projects like Unattended that work great and can have a laptop or workstation back up and running in a default state, with all programs and updates applied in 60-90 minutes.

There is no excuse for giving someone a used laptop or workstation that hasn't been cleaned. We don't concern ourselves much with our workstations since they never leave our network, but any laptops get a thorough cleansing before being re-issued to someone else.

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (2, Interesting)

SuperQ (431) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847447)

Hell, at my work installations are self-service over PXE boot. When ever I have changed hardware with our support people I wipe and clean install the machine myself anyway just to be sure I have a clean linux image.

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (4, Informative)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847323)

Maybe somebody without Ghost?
If you don't have something similar to Ghost, then you sure as hell don't fire someone with something illegal on the HDD. That is one certain way to open yourself (as a company) up to lawsuits. If you cannot prove what was on the laptop when you gave it to him, the firing surely is on shaky grounds.

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (4, Interesting)

Secrity (742221) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847163)

They did fire him -- they fired him and never asked any questions. The investigation was by the prosecutor, not his employer. I wonder if he will be hired back with back pay.

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847473)

I wonder if the employer will be investigated... Isn't this probable cause? A computer of company X contains child porn, can't they go in there and investigate the other machines owned by said company?

Where's the party van when you need it...

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847167)

At my company when re-deploying hardware like a laptop it is standard to wipe it completely and load a ghosted image. Who WOULDN'T do at least as much?
The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847175)

And for every PHB story, we have a story about IT workers just as incompetent.

Sorry, I guess that comment makes me flamebait. AC suit on!

Lawyer: This, boys and girls, is why . . . (3, Informative)

hawk (1151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847183)

I am a lawyer, but this is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, the attorney in this story might be a good choice . . . (but I cannot endorse him).

This, in a nutshell, is why lawyer's represent guilty scum.

Sometimes, it turns out, they are neither . . .

Personally, I'm skeptical about the idea of malware that secretly downloads and hides kiddie porn--why would the malware developer do that? I really can't fault the emploeyr for not considering such an idea and investigating it.

The defense attorney, though, is to advocate for his client, even if the client claims seem far-fetched.

hawk, esq.

Why? lots of reasons (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847279)

* to disrupt society
* to provide a plausible alibi for any of his perverted friends
* to drive up the cost of prosecuting this type of crime so prosecutors will have less money to prosecute his brother-in-law who runs an organized crime family
* kicks/jollies/juvenile reasons
* someone paid him to do it
* Why ask why
* He wanted his work to get on CowboyNealBoard, er, I mean Slashdot

Re:Why? lots of reasons (5, Interesting)

secolactico (519805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847607)

* To create mirrored websites to ensure availability of the material.

It happens with malware spreading sites, why not illegal porn?

If the malware can run a distributed dynamic dns based site, it will achieve a highly distributed network that would be hard to shut down easily.

Re:Lawyer: This, boys and girls, is why . . . (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847299)

Because the sites the malware connects through pay via click through.

What that bit of malware probably did was go around to a bunch of sites that the author gets fees from and makes it look like someone is browsing them.

Get a botnet of 1,000 computers going and it looks like hacker X convinced 1,000 people to view the site over and over.

Re:Lawyer: This, boys and girls, is why . . . (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847305)

If the intersection of child porn distributors and malware authors is larger than 0, the malware author may have written the malware to distribute the child porn. Or to keep it in circulation to gain later access to it, etc.

Re:Lawyer: This, boys and girls, is why . . . (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847311)

Personally, I'm skeptical about the idea of malware that secretly downloads and hides kiddie porn--why would the malware developer do that? I really can't fault the emploeyr for not considering such an idea and investigating it.
Providing a layer of protection between the source nad the potential customers? I doubt an ad server serving up illegal images would be alive for very long.

Re:Lawyer: This, boys and girls, is why . . . (3, Informative)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847363)

I would say that the scripts surf a list of shady sites to get hits on banner ads. I imagine that, even though they don't stay up as long, kiddie porn sites may have ads too...

Re:Lawyer: This, boys and girls, is why . . . (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847643)

Probably, the malware itself is a temporary webserver to help distribute the load of an illegal kiddie porn pay site. Look up Fast Flux (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_flux [wikipedia.org] ) spammers use it all the time and it is very simple to set up.

Re:Lawyer: This, boys and girls, is why . . . (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847503)

Personally, I'm skeptical about the idea of malware that secretly downloads and hides kiddie porn--why would the malware developer do that?

I've actually seen this sort of thing a couple times... not for kiddie porn luckily. Just movies (hollywood) and warez back before p2p.

As you can imagine finding servers to host and distribute this sort of stuff can be difficult. So why not compromise some random persons laptop, setup an ftp server, irc, dynamic dns, and whatever else... and then use it as a free and 'anonymous' remote host and storage.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least that this could be in use for kiddie porn distribution.

I really can't fault the emploeyr for not considering such an idea and investigating it.

When dealing with any case of child abuse including kiddie porn, one should ALWAYS be extremely cautious. Because whether he is innocent or not, people will never look at him the same way again.

Re:Lawyer: This, boys and girls, is why . . . (4, Insightful)

Sparks23 (412116) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847601)

From my (admittedly cursory) read of the article, I gather they claim the malware was trying to pop up the images to a broken account. I.e., the malware downloaded the images (hence their being in the temp directory) and tried to display, but then failed. Thus, the user never saw that the laptop was doing this, or else he could've gone, 'uhm, something is very wrong with this machine.'

If this is true, though, the real question then becomes how they didn't notice the virus on the machine when reconfiguring things (poorly) for the new user. At that point, if the defense argument is accurate, the malware should have still been able to display this stuff, and you'd think the IT guys would have noticed...

Re:Lawyer: This, boys and girls, is why . . . (4, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847671)

Your skepticism is mis-placed.
There is more than one kind of malware.
One kind sends Phishing Spam / Viagra spam / etc.
Another performs DDoS attacks.
A third acts as a distributed FTP/Fileshare server so that the guilty have a place to hide & share their wares and not have a single point of being shut down by the authorities. Whether this be lists of CC numbers or kiddie porn is immaterial.
-nB

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (0, Flamebait)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847377)

Good to know they researched heavily before firing him.
+5, WTF? The company didn't research worth a shit. They handed it over to the prosecution as evidence, and the defense attorney did all the research. If it had been just a "firable but not illegal" offense they probably would have just ghosted it and bye-bye any defense. Not that you really have any defense against being framed out of a job in an at-will state.

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (1, Flamebait)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847421)

Good to know they researched heavily before firing him.
+5, WTF? The company didn't research worth a shit. They handed it over to the prosecution as evidence, and the defense attorney did all the research. If it had been just a "firable but not illegal" offense they probably would have just ghosted it and bye-bye any defense. Not that you really have any defense against being framed out of a job in an at-will state.
I see sarcasm is new to you :)

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (-1, Redundant)

IronMagnus (777535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847477)

Hello Kjella, I'd like you to meet my friend, Mr. Sarcasm.

Most organisations wouldn't (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847441)

Many companies only have limited IT capability and many will just hand over a computer from an ex employee to a new employee with very minor changes. Saves a bunch of work reinstalling stuff.

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847561)

Are you kidding? A complete reload of an average secure corporate image on an average pc or laptop can (and does) take an hour or two. Most companies these days are so tight they won't spend the money on the labour involved to do this. Labour is, after all, the largest cost component in IT as a rule.

Most managers assume that two different employees will be using much the same software, so why waste time and money starting with a fresh image? Of course most managers have about as much IT nouse as my dead grandmother....

Re:Certainly sounds fair... (1)

kernelphr34k (1179539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847679)

At my work when someone gets fired or leaves we take their machine and whip the drive, and then reimage it. New user, 'new os'. Makes sense to me.

I submitted to the Firehose at 6PM! on the 18th (-1, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847041)

I guess I'm not going to rant about allusions of nepotism or "who you know" being the key to getting article submissions in one's own name....

http://tech.slashdot.org/~davidsyes/journal/ [slashdot.org]

(submitted with no karma bonus/ no subscriber bonus)

Re:I submitted to the Firehose at 6PM! on the 18th (2, Funny)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847071)

Why don't you try writing your submissions intelligently and professionally?

Re:I submitted to the Firehose at 6PM! on the 18th (5, Funny)

hummassa (157160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847355)

Why don't you try writing your submissions intelligently and professionally?
Because then it would eliminate any chance of them going to the /. front page? :-)

Re:I submitted to the Firehose at 6PM! on the 18th (0, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847665)

Geez, i was half-assed expecting some bullshit polemic such as "don't offend or insult" the readers outside of slashodot, bekauze after all, we're trying to look like a responsible journal that can be referenced by The New Yourk Tymes...

yet another (5, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847045)

case where you can't help but think "this can't be right".. making certain types of information illegal to possess just doesn't make practical sense in the context of the Internet, no matter how morally objectionable we find it.

Re:yet another (3, Interesting)

Ethan Allison (904983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847317)

I'm not disagreeing with you here, but how can you stop people from exploiting kids if you make possession legal? Make obtaining it illegal? That seems like a huge loophole waiting to happen...

Re:yet another (3, Insightful)

Mr EdgEy (983285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847395)

Production (!), and distribution.

umm?! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847649)

Arrest those exploiting kids?

Re:yet another (2, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847663)

No, make production illegal (which it is), and possibly make it illegal to purchase it.

I mean, you wouldn't punish someone for having videos of people being murdered, would you? You would only punish those who did the killing, and perhaps those who purchased it, providing that the purchaser knew that they were encouraging such behavior, which is a stretch, I know. That's why I'm not sure if purchasing kiddie porn should be illegal.

Re:yet another (3, Interesting)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847677)

You rely on child exploitation laws which are already in place perhaps? If a child is harmed there are plenty of laws in the way to make sure there is a measure of justice.

This pretty much equates to outlawing the symptoms of a problem such as the tremors of an alcoholic in need of smooth refreshing goodness.

In that context the video is simply evidence against the person who actually harmed a child. That sounds like appropriate punishment to me.

I don't think that will happen though and I actually agree with the current law, at some point I think certain kinds of content serve no use to society, such as malware and kiddie porn but I can understand that information should always be legal. I think in this context we could argue that it is not information and is simply objectionable content.

When something is no good for anyone I think it's safe to say that it should be illegal. If someone comes along that can prove it does some good then the issue needs to be readdressed and evaluated for legitimacy.

Re:yet another (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847559)

Let's say you own a large rural property, and someone sets up a drug lab deep in the forest. Just because in some cases people might be unaware of what's happening on their property, it doesn't make sense to make drug labs illegal? Because in some cases people might be unaware of what's happening on their computer, it doesn't make sense to make information illegal to posess? I'm sorry but that'd be a pretty strange world. If things are uncertain, it's the prosecution's job to stick it to them "beyond a reasonable doubt". The defense tries to tear that evidence apart, like they just did. I don't see the problem with that system.

This Is What Lawyers Are For... (2, Informative)

reallocate (142797) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847063)

This guy should get one. And, meanwhile, insure no one touchs that laptop.

Who would want to??? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847137)

And, meanwhile, insure no one touchs that laptop.
Who would want to?

Um, nevermind, I don't want to know.

Re:This Is What Lawyers Are For... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847321)

Where do you buy insurance that pays out when someone touches a laptop? :)

Re:This Is What Lawyers Are For... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847459)

No, lawyers are for throwing to the ground and kicking to death. Slowly. That's pretty much all they're good for.

Alas (5, Insightful)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847075)

If people hadn't jumped to conclusions and had done a more thorough investigation, this man would not have lost his job and reputation.

Re:Alas (4, Interesting)

PhoenixAtlantios (991132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847479)

What safe actions could they have realistically taken in that situation to investigate it? If you mess around with investigating that yourself and don't immediately hand the situation over to the police don't you risk incriminating yourself by 'protecting' the person from the police?

I'm honestly curious to know; how could they have possibly investigated this more?

That's a nice HUGE FREAKIN' BLOCK OF TEXT (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847081)

That's a nice HUGE FREAKIN' BLOCK OF TEXT you've got there, buddy. Maybe you'd like some PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE to wash it down.

Re:That's a nice HUGE FREAKIN' BLOCK OF TEXT (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847567)

Can I have a SIDE ORDER OF CAPS LOCK with that, please?

A poorer man would've been convicted (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847085)

I've heard of people getting screwed by their bosses before but this is ridiculous.

If he hadn't had the resources to hire his own expert, he would be in prison and branded a sex offender for life, all because his boss didn't practice safe hex.

Tough lesson learned... (5, Informative)

Muckluck (759718) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847087)

This is a tough lesson learned for Mr. Fiola, but the lesson is, always request a clean build when receiving new equipment in the workplace. That would have eliminated the malware and given him a clean system to work on.

Re:Tough lesson learned... (2, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847149)

And they say "No, you take this laptop as-is and use it" with the same unthinking and unresponsive attitude with which they fired him, and then where is he?

Of course that is probably a better circumstance under which to be looking for a new job than the one he's in now...

Re:Tough lesson learned... (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847609)

I'd imagine that if he's got a half decent lawyer that he'll never have to work again.

Re:Tough lesson learned... (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847639)

Remember, this guy was not very good with computers. But his boss, the attorney that told them not to talk to him, and perhaps others, are all incompetent and need to be taken out of government jobs, permanently.

The majority of computer users are unaware... (3, Informative)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847187)

So expecting them to ask for a clean build is asking to much. Their IT department should have known better and done this automatically.

Re:Tough lesson learned... (5, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847197)

And how does the average corporate employee even know whether he/she has a "clean build" when issued a new laptop. Most times a laptop arrives pre-imaged with an OS and a standard suite of software tools. Unless you go poking around the filesystem you can't really tell how "clean" the machine is.

Re:Tough lesson learned... (1)

rocker_wannabe (673157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847563)

You can always ask. If you're the CEO, CIO, or other executive it might actually happen.

When I started working at one company they gave me a laptop that had been on a job in South America for months and was so loaded with porn popups that it was unusable. That was the only reason they gave me another one. Fortunately for me, the laptop started acting up in an obvious way right from the start.

Dayam. (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847097)

Man... reason # 10,297,668 why I primarily use Linux as my desktop @ work.


Not that Linux (or OSX, or any of 'em for that matter) are 100% crack-proof, but putting one's career at the mercy of common malware and the only safety net is a sharp eye at the IT department?


OTOH, I suspect this guy (if he plays his cards right and has a sharp lawyer on retainer) may never have to work another day in his life.

/P

Re:Dayam. (1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847277)

I'm sorry, but I'm afraid your trolling simply doesn't measure up to the high standards we have here at slashdot. You see, unlike at digg or fark, we here at slashdot have a rich tradition of truly great trolling, and because of this we attract only the best and brightest of the trolling community. Our trolls gone on to lead very rich and lucrative careers in exciting and rewarding fields such as shills for Microsoft and Comcast management. Who do you think came up with the "Vista Capable" program? That's right, a former slashdot troll!

So please, in the future put more care and thought into your trolling. Remember that you are walking the path blazed by such luminaries as the GNAA and that you stand beside such greats as the shit eater troll and the ASCII goatse guy. So in the future try to remember the greats that came before you along with your trolling peers and live up to their high standards. Thank you for your time and may you have a successful career trolling here at slashdot!

Re:Dayam. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847381)

I hate to tell you this, but I got suspended from Hewlett Packard for running Linux! The corporate approved Red Hat Enterprise installed on the box by an HP admin and not reconfigured by me cycled randomly though screen savers. One of the screen savers simulated a teletype outputting fortune files to the screen... and one of the fortune files was the Zippy the Pinhead one which contained the quote: "I want to kill everyone here with a cute colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" So of course, one of HP's highly trained security professionals (otherwise known as rent-a-cops) was wondering through the building at 3 am and saw this message come up on the display, and immediately recognized this as the work of a dangerous terrorist! A couple days later they called me into a meeting (without my manager) a told me I was too dangerous to continue working there. Never having seen that particular screen saver, I couldn't explain why it was there, but there reasoning was "It happened on one of the machines in your cubicle, therefore YOU are responsible!" Asshats...

Anyway, they suspended me for a week with pay; I of course used that week to look for a better job with higher pay and closer to home! Meanwhile, my manager was forced to keep paying me while his project fell a week behind.

Re:Dayam. (2, Insightful)

Drgnkght (449916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847409)

I suspect this guy (if he plays his cards right and has a sharp lawyer on retainer) may never have to work another day in his life.
Which is a good thing because his chances of finding a decent job after this are about nil. Newspaper headlines are big when they can shout "Evil child-molester caught!", not so much when they have to say "oops, our bad."

Foreign sites? (1, Funny)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847119)

A malware script on the machine surfed foreign sites at a rate of up to 40 per minute

Pesky foreigners. Child porn peddlers, the lot of 'em.

TFA doesn't state (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847129)

...if the guy was re-instated. Man, to lose your job and then be prosecuted because of faulty virus/malware protection?

maybe their IT dept should be held liable for giving him a misconfigured laptop?

btw, why isn't this a YRO article?

He doesn't want his job back (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847315)

I read a different article that said he wouldn't work for them again because of the way they treat their employees.

The real crime here... (5, Insightful)

adsl (595429) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847155)

The real crime here is that the charges were dropped thru "insufficient evidence".... Why is this loophole allowed to prosecutors? How about. "We are sorry we should never have arrested you, fired you and will will formally erradicate all your arrest process so it never happened and give you backed dated pay and legal expenses".

Re:The real crime here... (5, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847201)

The real problem is that, as the summary said, they didn't change the security software username, and killed the old username at the server. Therefore, he was running unupdated software... leaving him open to any new Internet threat. Sounds like the IT Department deserves to be fired.

Re:The real crime here... (2, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847219)

Prosecutors and police can be sued.

Re:The real crime here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847675)

Police generally can't be sued, they have immunity when in uniform and performing their duties. In this case, too, they were given a complaint (which they're supposed to investigate) and evidence - which is sufficient to hold a person and probably charge them.

However, police interrogation practices are rarely designed to get at the truth, they are designed to confirm what the police think. The police would therefore not learn anything that might have persuaded them they had the wrong guy.

Re:The real crime here... (1, Insightful)

opusman (33143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847287)

That's the way the adversarial legal system works. EVERYONE is a potential criminal; those of us not in jail are only loose because of lack of evidence.

Telling quote from TFA (5, Interesting)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847189)

"As soon as you mention child pornography, everybody's senses go out the window, she [the computer forensics expert] said."

Sounds too familiar. What's really fucked up is that his former employers "stand by their decision", namely to fire the guy. The bare minimum would be a public excuse, an offer to let him work there again, and probably a hefty compensation if he refused. But that's not likely to happen since by definition, the government knows best.

Re:Telling quote from TFA (1)

acecamaro666 (1243364) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847425)

Perhaps the company used the porn on the computer as an excuse to fire him for something else that they couldn't necessarily fire him for, hence they stand by their decision. Or I bet the lawyers told the company to take that line and let the guy go on his way.

Unlawful Termination (2, Informative)

HannethCom (585323) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847191)

In Canada that would be unlawful termination.

Actually even if he was guilty, they would have had to tell him before he went outside why he was fired, or he would have grounds for compensation.

Re:Unlawful Termination (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847365)

Actually even if he was guilty, they would have had to tell him before he went outside why he was fired, or he would have grounds for compensation.
However, this is not Canada. In the US, employment laws vary from state to state. Massachusetts is what is known as a "right to work" state; one of the things that means is that your employer can fire you at any time without giving a reason or notice. Now, if your employer does provide a reason, the employee might have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit -- and personally, I think that's likely in this case, although IANAL. So, the employer was very stupid in telling the employee why he was fired.

The flip side of the coin is that in "right to work" states, you can also quit your job at any time without giving your employer any notice or reason, and that your employer cannot force any kind of agreement on you that would prevent you from working for a different company.

Re:Unlawful Termination (2, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847669)

Typical canadians, with thier pesky protecting employees. Do you know nothing about capitalism? it only works if you give the employer COMPLETE power.

"We stand by our decision" (5, Insightful)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847239)

DIA spokeswoman Linnea Walsh confirmed Fiola "was terminated," but declined to say if any internal discipline has been meted out as a result of his name being cleared in court.

"We stand by our decision," she said.
So now the DIA is trying cover it's own ass for giving him "a ticking time bomb" and then firing him for it and ruining any social life he had.
The worst part is that the assholes at DIA responsible for the horrible "roll-out" of a replacement laptop, and the PHB's responsible for firing him w/o doing proper research into the issue will not be punished in any way. THEIR lives won't be ruined. Even if he wins a lawsuit. It'll be money from the DIA, but no real punishment to the people involved.

Somebody find all their names and contact info (I'm too lazy) and post it. Let's send the info to Russia with requests for Viagra and child porn.

Seriously though, The Office is funny on TV, but tragic in real life. These people should be arrested for harassment and criminal negligence at the least.

What kind of laws can we enforce (and/or pass) to truly punish the individuals responsible for shit like this? Lawsuit money from the organization isn't even close to justice.

Been there to an extent (4, Interesting)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847241)

I've worked for the state of MA and I've run into the same problem many times on their computers. Depending on where you work their IT people are really not that knowledgeable or hardworking and I can't blame them, they have to work with microsoft crap, I would be slacking too.

I was even fooled by it once. I found pr0n bookmarks under a cute girl's login and I was thinking "Daaamn this girl is a freaky.." for a few seconds until I realized what it was. I could easily see how people would jump the gun and over react when they find actual material on a computer and not just bookmarks however they should at least ASK the person if they're guilty and send it for investigation first.

Thank God!!! (1)

data_monk (1055292) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847257)

Now I know how to explain all of those Jessica Alba pics on my machine.

I Smell work for a lawyer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847283)

I would sue, sue and, sue.

Whats interesting in this story is.... (5, Interesting)

tacokill (531275) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847393)

The fact the he was charged with child porn. I've been following this case in the news because it is such an odd case. As TFA says, they eventually figured out it was viruses and malware doing the downloading of images (over the web, BTW). Ok, fair enough.

However, another article (can't find the link, sorry) was interviewing one of the detectives involved with the case. What he said was something along the lines of "there was a LOT of porn on the computer. 99% of it was just gross stuff, not illegal. But we did find a few pics of young girls.". Which makes me wonder --- how, exactly, do they define child porn?

Are they just arresting people because pictures look young?

...or did they find real kiddie porn on there?

It just seems odd that all of a sudden there is all this kiddie porn out on the publicly available internet and it does not draw attention. I would presume, with Tor, Freenet, etc all of that activity would be driven underground (ie: encrypted). Is there really "spam" and popup based kiddie porn still going on in the WWW?

I ask because I have...err...my friend has not seen it since the early early days of the internet. Back then, you truly could stumble across it accidentally. It hasn't been that way for a long long time though, in my experience.

Re:Whats interesting in this story is.... (4, Funny)

locokamil (850008) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847505)

You mean your friend's experience, right?

Some teenaged Russian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23847519)

Teenaged Russians = "Child Porn!" or some such bullshit.

Re:Whats interesting in this story is.... (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847565)

presumably, the illegal stuff is stored on botnets to avoid pointing back to the actual collector. I poke around the seamy parts of the net, but it's all legal stuff AFAIK.

On a further note... (1)

changos (105425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847403)

The man was also happy to receive a DVD with all the images on his computer, including a 500MB file named NSFW.pst

I saw the movie (4, Insightful)

Ranger (1783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847475)

It's called Farm Sluts [youtube.com] . Hilarious! Well not for the guy in real life.

Virus? (1, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847495)

I can believe it was malware. Sure, there are a lot of malware out there that do a lot of things.

    What they're describing sounds like malware intended to run up the traffic rankings of a site. If so, why was it gathering pictures too? Poorly coded? It wastes more bandwidth to pull the entire rendering of the page, than just the HTML and JS. While conserving bandwidth isn't high on the priority list, to keep from being noticed, and to keep their efficiency up, the virus writer would do what they could to keep their impact low.

    I find it interesting that they don't mention what the malware was. They gave a vauge description of it, but not a positive description. This eludes to me that it could be the mystery virus defense. Beyond that, it could have been installed accidentally (or intentionally) at some point between when he got the laptop and when it was discovered.

    A possible scenario is this, including their facts.

    1) The defendant was given a laptop from work
    2) The laptop had it's antivirus disabled inadvertently by the IT staff.
    3) The defendant browsed to web sites, which may or may not have contained illegal images.
    4) The virus was accidentally or intentionally acquired through said sites.
    5) The defendant viewed web sites containing illegal images, before or while the virus was running.
    6) The virus would acquire web site content when near wireless access points.
    7) The defendant's employer found said illegal content on said laptop.
    8) The defendant was rightfully terminated, and the evidence given to law enforcement.
    9) The defense lawyer drew upon their mighty google-ing ability, and found the "it was a virus" defense.

the ultimate untraceable weapon (4, Interesting)

analog_line (465182) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847617)

Get child porn on your enemy's computer as long as he runs Windows (or whatever else), total deniability because there's so much malware out there. This scares the bejeezus out of me.

What an interesting article. (1, Redundant)

WelcomeOurOverlords (1309475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847645)

I, for one, welcome our new automatic-porn-downloading overlords.

Sounds like a lawsuit for wrongful termination... (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23847651)

is brewing. Rawls: unfair / unjust / unreasonable. His termination fits all three. Now, how much will he rake these people for?
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