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It's *not* rocket science, guys... (5, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#13457986)

This is one of the dumbest articles I've read in a while...

From TFA:
Internet Explorer hides nothing from police and other investigators who examine PCs to discover which sites the user has visited.
Implying that 'alternate browsers' such as Firefox and Opera, 'hide' data? Shenanigans! These other browsers don't 'hide' just have to know where to look.

Also from TFA:
These programs use different structures, files and naming conventions for the data that investigators are after. And files are in a different location on the hard drive, which can cause trouble for examiners.
You can't be serious. If it's this easy to thwart the authorities, maybe I should tender my resume.
God help these 'professionals' if a suspect's computer happens to run Linux...which brings up a disturbing the presence of a 'non-standard' browser or OS now going to be 'suspicious' to investigators, because they can't seem to penetrate its 'arcane secrets'?

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13457997)

One word response: Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (5, Funny)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458005)

Oh come on, it's nearly impossible to find the URL history! Ctrl-H is a very, very complex cracking method.

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458115)

Well, you just proved the authors point.

On the BeOS version of Firefox it's ALT+H, not CTRL+H! ;)

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (4, Funny)

Valiss (463641) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458140)

Oh come on, it's nearly impossible to find the URL history! Ctrl-H is a very, very complex cracking method.

Good job. Now you've flagged yourself and the FBI is undoubtedly on its way. Giving away what is most likely a National Secrect! Please don't let them look here [] .

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458199)

Oh come on, it's nearly impossible to find the URL history! Ctrl-H is a very, very complex cracking method.

Of course it's hard to crack, who would ever think to use *backspace* to view a browser's history? These idi^H^H^HFEDS know what they're doing.

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (4, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458027)

Is is dumb, but not for the reason you suggest. It is dumb because software isn't to be designed with 'criminal investigator usability' as a design consideration.

Simple as that.

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458149)

Is is dumb, but not for the reason you suggest.

Actually it (TFA) is dumb for precisely the reason the GP suggests.

Which doesn't mean that you're wrong: just that TFA is wrong on multiple levels.

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458035)

I penetrated your mom's arcane secrets.

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (2, Insightful)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458037)

More frightenly, IMHO -- why does *ANY* browser leave this stuff unencrypted on a hard drive anyway.

That's just begging for a virus/trojan that might infect a PC to steal confidential data.

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (5, Informative)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458138)

If you're using windows (2000/XP Professional), right click on the directory you want to use encryption. Then select Properties, on the general tab click on Advanced and tick Encrypt contents to secure data.
There you go, transparent encrypted directory.
Also, Truecrypt [] is capable of encrypting stuff too.

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458064)

This is one of the dumbest articles I've read in a while...
it's not the article that's dumb, it's the police and the -spit- private "investigators"...

does this say something about education? (2)

millahtime (710421) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458073)

I would say this says something about the level of education and intellegance of authorities. They aren't very educated and smart. If the techie authorities can't handle browser differences how are they supposed to find info on computers are trying to hide.

If I were the authorities I would be insulted by this article and it implying they aren't smart.

Re:does this say something about education? (1, Offtopic)

plott (865223) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458144)

Your grammar and spelling doesn't favour you either.

Another article with the same logic (5, Interesting)

baryon351 (626717) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458094)

It's the silliest thing I've read about non-IE browsers, and how they're BAD since I read this one. []

Re:Another article with the same logic (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458156)

Thanks for the link...that's the most psychotic thing I've read in quite a while.

Mod parent up, please.

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (5, Funny)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458097)

Actually, FireFox Deer Park (pre-1.1) which I am using right now has a right-in-your-face menu item to remove this kind of data. Those bad evil criminals don't even have to dig through the options to purge the evidence for their wrongdoings. Clearly, this browser must be a work of the devil and should be banned.

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (1)

fractalrock (662410) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458124)

"This is one of the dumbest articles I've read in a while..."
I concur. And how, exactly, do other browsers 'impede' the forensic analysis?

The fact that the investigators have to go physically obtain the hard drive is 'impeding' the investigation.

The fact that the investigator will have to set the drive jumper to 'slave' or 'cs' is 'impeding' the investigation.

Hell, gas prices are impeding the investigation. This is just dumb...who posted this "news"? Oh, yeah....

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (1)

EvilNTUser (573674) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458128)

What's even more worrying is that the article seems to assume that the "authorities" have some kind of right to see what's on our computers. Now we're not only communists, but also terrorists? Fuck you, cnet.

Besides, if I was a criminal, the authorities would not just have to understand Firefox, they'd have to break Blowfish...

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (5, Interesting)

BJZQ8 (644168) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458141)

This is NOT a joke. I have dealt with some state police "computer forensics" people that were little more than a rookie cop with a "Computer Forensics for Dummies" book under their arm. It was THAT bad. They used undelete utilities and such to get a file off of a ZIP disk. Wowee. They are given virtually unlimited budgets and permission to buy practically any computer item, all in the name of security...but you can't change the fact that they are LEJA majors, not CS majors.

New Firefox Ad: even the popo can't touch this (4, Insightful)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458161)

If the police has problems looking through the firefox files, I think I'll remove all the IE browsers from my lab and install Firefox or Opera.

In other words, they seem to be slamming Firefox, but actually it is pretty good advertisement for Firefox. They should put on their front page.

"Even the brightest police investigators can't look at your browser history! Get Firefox today, the most secure browser."

Impede is too strong a word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458174)

I think that "potentially more difficult" is better appropriate (grammar?). I agree that this is a silly article in the general sense but given that we [software developers] have the ability/time/curiosity to tinker around with the source and modify the browser's behaviour--is it so hard to believe that IE is easier from an investigative standpoint?

In any case, I'm looking forward to seeing "hide_data.xpi" appear in the Extensions section of the Firefox website.

Re:It's *not* rocket science, guys... (4, Informative)

beacher (82033) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458182)

Here's the best part - "One specific challenge with Firefox and Opera is identifying which Web addresses have been entered manually as opposed to having been clicked on in a hyperlink"..

Cmon.. any advanced porn^H^H^H^H surfer knows to go to google, enter the url and click through google's url. That way you don't have a suspicious empty dropdown bar and you can simply delete the url and google's search url) from the history and for all intents and purposes, you never went there (just dump the cache).

I guess these guys were never married. Simply having an attentive wife teaches you that FED defeating trick. The location dropdown bar and autocomplete can be a lot of trouble.


Quick People! (2, Funny)

fembots (753724) | more than 7 years ago | (#13457992)

Switch back to IE, it's the best Homeland Security Friendly browser on earth!

While the summary sounds like a "problem", the article clearly indicated that someone has already figured how to deal with these alternative browsers and is sharing with the law enforcement agents.

Re:Quick People! (2, Funny)

neuro.slug (628600) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458044)

I can see it now:

"When you use Firefox, you are supporting terrorism!"

It's the kind of funny that makes you want to laugh and cry simultaneously.

-- n

Re:Quick People! (1)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458078)

Remember folks, you heard it here first -- real terrorists dpn't use IE.

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (1)

wiggles (30088) | more than 7 years ago | (#13457994)

Looks like the cops got this before those evil Firefox users could....

They have it backwards (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13457998)

Well these examiners must be idiots then, I would much rather sort through the files in ~/.mozilla/firefox and a swap partition than scattered IE files and the Windows registry.

One Word Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13457999)

RE: "they "use different structures, files and naming conventions for the data that investigators are after", which can "cause trouble for examiners."" ... GOOD!!!


Dear god no! (5, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458001)

Heaven forbid that they have to learn to deal with a different file layout. I mean, it's not like these are supposed to be skilled professionals practicing their trade here...

Browser concerns (2, Interesting)

bigwavejas (678602) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458007)

It seems to me this is the least of their problems. Finding the potential wrongdoer is much more difficult than actually locating data on their computer. With anonymous surfing methods Tor [] and drive encryption technologies TrueCrypt [] I would almost consider an unencrypted/ unsecure system a "non-issue."

/search/*.jpg, *.html, *.gif, *.etc...

Firefox and Opera may use a different method of file structure/ naming, but they *do* have a fundamental process and that process does not vary from system to system.

If you use Firefox... (4, Funny)

1zenerdiode (777004) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458009)

...the terrorists have already won.

Why do you... (1)

Deitheres (98368) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458176)

hate Microsoft^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Freedom?!?!

Well (1)

Mastadex (576985) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458010)

Isn't that exactly why we switched for Opera and Firefox?

In other news... secret hideouts (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458011)

In other news, bad guys hide in secret hideouts, which makes it hard for the Police to do their job.

Re:In other news... secret hideouts (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458080)

Even better:

In other news - a home was found today without a second story bedroom. Police could not find any sign of the perp, as they were in a downstairs basement instead.

TOR (3, Funny)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458012)

Damn I have deployed TOR for nothing. Installing Firefox was enough.

Professional white-hat script kiddies (5, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458016)

It sounds like a lot of the people doing this kind of investgation aren't actually computer experts, but using pre-packaged software or following a list of directions someone has tailored for IE.

Effectively, they're professional script kiddies working for the common good instead of against it.

The lesson? Training. You wouldn't put a detective in the morgue and hand him a scalpel, and you wouldn't drop him in a science lab. You'd hire a coroner, you'd hire someone trained in forensic science. If you're going to search someone's computer for evidence, hire an expert or train someone to become an expert.

Re:Professional white-hat script kiddies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458126)

But they have their nicely framed certificates to validate their degrees and computer/network literacy so they must be experts.

Re:Professional white-hat script kiddies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458158)

More like AGAINST the common good. These investigators are common criminals.

Re:Professional white-hat script kiddies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458184)

Ah, yes, the old "cops are evil." Next time someone steals your car or breaks into your house (excuse me, the basement where you live), try that one on them.

Profit! (3, Funny)

pwnage (856708) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458017)

I have decided to submit a patent for this. "A Method of Obfuscation of Law Enforcement Data through the use of Better Internet Browsing Software."

Help me out, /.!!!

1. Submit patent.
2. ???
3. Profit!

Oooohhh. (0)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458018)

Oooohhh. The poor suckers. No, really. Poor suckers. I mean, the poor police, they can't catch criminals because we don't use Exploder.

I mean, if the police is too stupid to learn other things, we really should do like the police wants.

If we'd had to listen to what the police want, we'd still be using GOPHER...

Well, mister the police, if you're too friggin stupid to cope, though noogies!!! You're not the guys calling the shots.

Re:Oooohhh. (1)

freralqqvba (854326) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458110)

"they can't catch criminals because we don't use Exploder."

Well shit, now all they have to do - in your case - is browse to Slashdot using IE and they've got your admission right there!

Boohoo! (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458019)

I have a WAY harder time developing apps that run on the same three browsers. Yes, it's a pain. Yes, I don't like my job being any harder than it should be either. So please don't whine to me about how invading my privacy is harder to do.

Dear investigators... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458022)

Dear investigators,
Your current guidebook reads as follows.

1. Search IE cache directory.

Please append the following lines.

2. ???
3. Search Firefox cache directory.
4. Search Opera cache directory.
5. Profit.

Repeat as necessary for any other browsers. Problem solved. Yeesh, some people are morons.

This explains everything! (2, Funny)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458023)

Now I understand why the police or 'special' agencies can't find their terrorists: they rely on MS in general, and IE in particular! ;-)

Um, Duh? (5, Interesting)

NorbMan (829255) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458024)

From TFA:
Firefox and Opera store information on typed URLs in a different file than IE does, and the files are somewhat tough to decipher

You would think since Firefox is open-source, it would be a trivial matter to determine the format of the cache files by examining the source code.

Re:Um, Duh? (2, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458067)

Quick question: is the average detective familiar with C or C++?


What good is the source code going to do him?

Re:Um, Duh? (2, Insightful)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458146)

None...but if they divert some of the money they spend on, say, hiring Psychics(tm) hiring a programmer (or for that matter just "someone skilled with computers") THAT person may be helped by it, and can certainly develop some simple "how to find where Firefox puts stuff" training for them.

Re:Um, Duh? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458134)

What? and tread the dangerous waters of the DMCA? I think not.

I laughed (5, Funny)

Approaching.sanity (889047) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458026)

And then I realized that they were serious.

Now I weep for them.

Are they kidding? (2, Insightful)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458028)

Have they SEEN how IE stores history data? You want to talk about hidden data, sheesh.

Another reason to use them (1)

jcoxatonce (228245) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458039)

From my perspective, it seems this is just another reason to make sure I am using the most obscure browsers available.

Not only do these browsers avoid most of the common exploits for IE, etc, but they foil law enforcement?? Sign me up!

Wait a second! (4, Funny)

Brandon K (888791) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458047)

So with a few low-res pictures of some metal objects in Iraq we can determine they have biological weapons... but the 'trained professionals' working for the police can't figure out how to find Firefox's internet logs?

Totally hose 'em up... (5, Funny)

JackTripper (798804) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458049)

...Firefox... on Linux! "Find what they've been browsing? Hell, we can't even find C: !"

precisely!!! (1)

jshaped (899227) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458051)

"cause trouble for examiners."

People have more trouble figuring out what I've been up to!!!

Investigators need to change (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458055)

Investigators need to change, they can't expect people to bend over backwards to make it easier.

Adaptation is a key necessity for investigators. If they can't adapt to the future and to other changes, then we need to find better people. Simple as that.

Re:Investigators need to change (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458191)

Investigators expect you to bend over forwards.

Good old America... (1)

tpjunkie (911544) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458056)

In other news, law enforcement officals have become lazier than ever.

What am I missing? (1)

rminsk (831757) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458057)

What am I missing here? How is this a problem?

Guilt by association... (3, Funny)

amcdiarmid (856796) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458065)

Let me see now (Jon Stuart grin), the police haven't learned how "alternative" browsers store data. Users of these "alternative" browsers even have been known to "flush" their data caches. This , um, "flushing" is a suspicious behavior - AND these "alternative" browsers are resistant to spyware that we normally use to "spy" on our "citizens."

I say, if these "citizens" don't want to be "spied" on, they are SUSPICIOUS! SEND THEM TO GUANTANAMO!

Meanwhile, in Soviet Russa...

In a word: (2, Interesting)

commo1 (709770) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458068)


That's one of the reasons I use Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird, etc...

Security by obscurity is not essentially valid, but it can be useful.

The government can't force people to organize their thoughts or ideas written down on legal pads with sworn oaths as to dates & times, why should ANY information be handed to them. I run may trace eliminators, for this purpose. I encrypt my file system. If this is going to slow them down or prevent them from gathering evidence, it's done it's job. Just another reason not to buy into the Microsoft way. (I'm not being facetious, it's true: Microsoft has an agenda to be on the side of the law, they HAVE to be lobbying quietly to get stuff like this out and laws passed to enforce it.)

Re:In a word: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458190)

Why are you acting so suspicious? What do you have to hide? Just follow the law and you won't have to be so paranoid.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458069)

So... are they trying to say that using Firefox and Opera makes it easier to be a terrorist?


This just in . . . (1)

geekwithsoul (860466) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458071)

Investigators are lazy and stupid! I'm surprised they could gather the energy to complain.

Are You Kidding Me? (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458082)

They can figure out IE's convoluted way of storing data such as cookies but they can't find out how Firefox stores its data? Bogus!

Compliant (1)

daviqh (906581) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458084)

What if we told them that IE wasn't stanards compliant.

That's right!!! (1)

orion41us (707362) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458087)

"use different structures, files and naming conventions for the data "...

What??? They are not following the Microsoft IE standard? WTF!?

It's not the software . . . (5, Informative)

crimguy (563504) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458088)

As a criminal defense attorney specializing in computer crimes, I can say authoritatively that the investigators are typically poorly trained. Most that I have dealt with are not IT or CS degree holders. In fact, the norm is for it to be a police officer who has taken a 2 week course in Encase, nothing more. Their knowledge of operating systems is lacking to say the least. Of course, this can result in some poor schmuck being convicted for something he didn't do, both because the cops don't know any better, and the juries - who typically take the word of the police as gospel down here in Arizona, know even less and rely on the uninformed testimony of law enforcement.

"you want to frustrate law enforcement, use a Mac" (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458089) om_the_fbi/ []

A visit from the FBI
By Scott Granneman, SecurityFocus
Published Wednesday 28th January 2004 13:05 GMT


I teach technology classes at Washington University in St. Louis, a fact that I mentioned in a column from 22 October 2003 titled, "Joe Average User Is In Trouble [] ". In that column, I talked about the fact that most ordinary computer users have no idea about what security means. They don't practice secure computing because they don't understand what that means. After that column came out, I received a lot of email. One of those emails was from Dave Thomas, former chief of computer intrusion investigations at FBI headquarters, and current Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the St. Louis Division of the FBI.

Dave had this to say: "I have spent a considerable amount in the computer underground and have seen many ways in which clever individuals trick unsuspecting users. I don't think most people have a clue just how bad things are." He then offered to come speak to my students about his experiences.

I did what I think most people would do: I emailed Dave back immediately and we set up a date for his visit to my class.

It's not every day that I have an FBI agent who's also a computer security expert come speak to my class, so I invited other students and friends to come hear him speak. On the night of Dave's talk, we had a nice cross-section of students, friends, and associates in the desks of my room, several of them "computer people," most not.

Dave arrived and set his laptop up, an IBM ThinkPad A31. He didn't connect to the Internet - too dangerous, and against regulations, if I recall - but instead ran his presentation software using movies and videos where others would have actually gone online to demonstrate their points. While he was getting everything ready, I took a look at the first FBI agent I could remember meeting in person.


Dave had some surprises up his sleeve as well. You'll remember that I said he was using a ThinkPad (running Windows!). I asked him about that, and he told us that many of the computer security folks back at FBI HQ use Macs running OS X, since those machines can do just about anything: run software for Mac, Unix, or Windows, using either a GUI or the command line. And they're secure out of the box. In the field, however, they don't have as much money to spend, so they have to stretch their dollars by buying WinTel-based hardware. Are you listening, Apple? The FBI wants to buy your stuff. Talk to them!

Dave also had a great quotation for us: "If you're a bad guy and you want to frustrate law enforcement, use a Mac." Basically, police and government agencies know what to do with seized Windows machines. They can recover whatever information they want, with tools that they've used countless times. The same holds true, but to a lesser degree, for Unix-based machines. But Macs evidently stymie most law enforcement personnel. They just don't know how to recover data on them. So what do they do? By and large, law enforcement personnel in American end up sending impounded Macs needing data recovery to the acknowledged North American Mac experts: the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Evidently the Mounties have built up a knowledge and technique for Mac forensics that is second to none.


For the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458090)

Micro$oft to congress: to protect our children from the terrorists we should modify the Patriot Act and outlaw all operating systems other than Windows and all browsers other than IE. Yes, for the children!

For many of the users (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458091)

this is going to be a reason *to* use these browsers. I doubt the police will get much sympathy here.

Re:For many of the users (1)

apt142 (574425) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458173)

The web developers out there sure won't have any sympathy. They have to deal with the differences between browsers everyday and petty shit like different short cuts and file folders is the least of their troubles.

Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458093)

Another microsoft drone quoted at Slashdot, nothing worth reading here, move on people! move on!

Government luddites (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458098)

OMG, the terrorists have already won!

Seriously, way to go, guvvies. Advertise to the world that you are too stupid to be able to locate data in a Firefox profile directory, why don't you. Something tells me you should be bitching about your own tools and training methods rather than the tech industry's ability to move forward and create new, better things for everyone's sake, like superior non-bug-ridden/non-Microsoft software.

Ah (1)

yootje (770109) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458099)

So that's why they can't find my legion of cybernetic rabbits!

Yet just another reason to use Firefox or Opera... (1)

bmwatm (649536) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458100)

Add this to the list of reasons not to use Internet Explorer.

Non-default locations (1)

th3axe (690230) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458102)

I fail to see the point of the article. Tech changes, cops have to adapt. That's not news. Here's a related question - how do you wiretap a VOIP system? There's a problem we haven't heard much about, and I imagine we'll hear about that pretty soon.

If we start using real encryption more widely, that's going to make the lives of cops much tougher. I can only imagine a cop finally cracking an encrypted hard drive, and then being stymied by a non-default install.

Looking for nonstandard information (1)

xmorg (718633) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458104)

Kinda funny that the investigations are focusing on things that are not standards complient to begin with. So non-"standard" browsers impede investigations, because investigators are looking for a nonstandard browser. Although the nonstandard that they ignore doesnt meet the nonstandard that they are looking for, the nonstandard that they are looking for doesnt meet the standards of the net. Yet the standard that they are not looking for is not being looked for because it doesnt meet the standard nonstandard.

Get it?

It's the Microsoft Keystone Cops..... (1)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458105)

..protecting us. May God have mercy on our souls!

Slow news day? (1)

Wile_E_Peyote (805058) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458107)

Wow, CNET is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for tech news isn't it.

damn it! (0, Flamebait)

tont0r (868535) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458113)

investigator 1: DAMN IT! HE USED FIREFOX!
investigator 2: well shit i dont know what to do..
investigator 1: i heard they dont work the same way as IE.
investigator 2: fuck that, im not changing the methods of finding shit. i only solve crimes where the answers are handed to me on a silver platter.

message: stop bitching and get with the times

On the other hand... (1)

doxology (636469) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458118)

With IE, however, the user will contract some virus that will clear their hard drive. Try tracking browser history after that!

Dumb law enforcement vs. dumb criminals (4, Insightful)

code65536 (302481) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458120)

This is going to be moot if the law enforcement is dealing with people who are serious about what they're doing. I'm sure that if someone is planning an elaborate high-profile attack, they would have the sense to be careful as well, so it won't matter if you use IE or if you use Firefox or if you use Lynx--it's not that hard to wipe out all traces of activity from your computer no matter what browser you use. So I doubt that this is going to be of any help in dealing with smart criminals.

And if the law enforcement can't figure out how to write a simple tool to decipher the files that are left behind from alternative browsers (especially one like Firefox that is open-source, meaning that the format of such files would be easy to determine), then that's just, well, pathetic.

And finally, I think that this is a good thing. Most people in this world will probably never ever have to deal with law enforcement. But they do have to deal with snooping parents, snooping friends, snooping girlfriends, snooping spouses, snooping bosses, etc., so I welcome this as good news. ;)

Real Murkians use IE terrorists use Opera/Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458129)

So says dear leader in this time of crisis. I'll be heading down to my nearest walmart to buy only true Murkian merchandise and software from now on.

Sadly his 30% base and the other idiots who vote for him would be like this.

Well, (1)

kurt_ram (906111) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458131)

The advent of Firefox and other alternatives to Internet Explorer means cybercops have to learn new tricks for their investigations. Well, if we never had internet, we would have never had the need for Cybercops. It doesnt mean we have to destroy the internet. It means we need to train Cops to become Cybercops.

Are you *kidding* me? (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458145)

Thi is the reason all my illicit activity done on a computer, is done on really obscure platforms.

That way, if I'm ever caught, it'll be hard for the authorities to find out what I did, cuz my machines are all arkane and shit, or something like that.

Mainly I just like using weird platforms.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458152)

Any serious criminal who knows enough to use a non-IE browser would know enough to clear their cache and history logs regularly to cover their tracks.

Heck, I regularly clear my cache and history logs in case my kids click their way inquisitively to the alternative browser and go where I've been.

...takes up space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458153)

I normally flush the cache, history, et al. for firefox simply because it takes up space and I don't like to sift through pages of stuff that I manually entred, especially for that URL I typoed 3 months ago. I wonder if that and regularily defragging my hard drives counts as suspicious activity?

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458155)

Foreign languages are deemed barrier to terrorism investigations; Esperanto declared new mandatory global standard

Clearly the manufacturer is at fault (1)

WAR-Ink (876414) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458162)

Perhaps we should make all guns the same calibur. All cars the same weight, size and color and all criminals the guilty of the same crime? Would that make it easy enough for them?

It would be called an "investigation" for a reason. And not just because it fit in well with the show title CSI: Miami.

In the US, there is an appaling lack of technical expertise in local police departments. Frequently extending to state and federal departments also.

I can only imagine what it is like in a less well funded or less progressive country.

Computer geeks could probably make a small mint on contracting with police departments.

Alternative languages impede investigators! (0, Troll)

RedLaggedTeut (216304) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458165)

Look, he is writing from right to left!
Quickly arrest him, he must be a terrorist!

How evil they are!

In other news... (1)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458169)

...perpetrator in high speed chases have grown increasingly accustomed to driving motorcars instead of their tried and true equine counterparts. Investigators have attempted to gain the advantage with performance enhancing drugs for their enforcer donkeys, but in the end are quoted as saying "It's just a pain in our asses."

About time. (2, Funny)

aquabat (724032) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458170)

It's about time someone linked the use of open source software to the War on Terror(TM). I was beginning to wonder if the authorities were asleep at the wheel...

This is a great idea! (2, Funny)

JavaRob (28971) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458171)

Somehow we just never realized this... we should also encourage businesses to only use ONE accounting method, so that embezzlement investigations can be simpler. There should only be a single gun manufacturer, with only one kind of gun available... imagine how much simpler investigations would be? "Well, we already know it was a Glock 32 handgun...".

What are people thinking, that businesses and products might exist to serve the needs of the people paying for and using them? What nonsense! Only law enforcement matters!

Seriously, even if this were a serious question, don't investigators get MORE useful data in the variations of people's setup? The more unique your suspect's setup, the easier it may be to track them.

And of course it's perfectly simple to find the Firefox cache -- can someone just drop them an email? They can print it out, tack it to the wall, and quit with the whinging.

Un Freakin Believable (1, Interesting)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458179)

I find it hard to believe that trained professionals couldn't figure out how to read other formats for cookies. Or find out where the cookies go. As a previous poster said, gimme a break... Heaven forbid they take my computer. They'd have to figure out what cryptic command starts the desktop, and which of 3 browsers (Firefox, Konqueror, Lynx) I was using. After all that, they'd find out I've got no cookies except for about 5 sites :)

Call me paranoid, but I think that the police like MSIE because they know that if push comes to shove, that MS will gladly cooperate and help in exchange for certain 'favors' likely involving no use of non-MS products or the dropping of the next antitrust lawsuit. On the other hand, FOSS developers are far less likely to agree (and will never, ever give the government backdoors to their software).

In other words, it's easier to manipulate one fat, greedy corporation than millions of individuals.

Especially difficult with Firefox (1)

elvisinmyhead (547182) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458185)

It's not like they have the source code for firefox, so they can't take a look and see how browser histories are handled. It is?

Having the skills to do the job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13458197)


If a forensic investigator can't analyze artifacts left my alternative browsers - he/she shouldn't be doing case work. This is what happens when an investigator is trained to run Encase scripts instead of learning to understand how operating systems and applications work, and how data is stored on media.

Inevitably, when doing a forensic investigation, you will run into something that you've never seen before. You have to be able to analyze the data, and find out how to extract meaningful information out of it - even if nobody has ever done it before. Without this ability, you're in the wrong profession.

The problem is that computer forensics is a new profession. It doesn't take much skill to get a job doing it, because not many people know how. That creates a low average when it comes to forensic skills and abilities among current practitioners. There are skilled examiners out there, and the average will improve as more people move to the profession (Hint hint).

Two Words (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 7 years ago | (#13458203)

Too bad. With the amount of money they have at their disposal they shouldn't be having this "problem". Another two words: tough shit.
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