Thursday, February 01, 2007

Teacher Convicted Of Being A Victim Of Cyber Crime

In one of the most disgusting abuses of law ... a substitute teacher was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for exposing her class to porn. Julie Amero was convicted of four counts of exposing a minor to injury.

She is the victim of a broken legal system, inept police work, and a school needing to pass the buck to an innocent person.

It appears that the school wasn't monitoring their PC's for spyware, and had shut off their spyware programs, and adult filters on the day in question. Well, guess what happened? Spyware infected the system, and began displaying pop-ups of adult material. Amero tried to close the windows that popped up on the screen ... only to find more pop-ups ... well, popping up. This is a common issue with spyware that is designed to generate "click" revenue.

Computer expert W. Herbert Horner tried to explain this very simple concept to the court. However, he was contradicted by an ignorant, inept police detective named Mark Lounsbury. Lounsbury claimed someone had accessed adult material by clicking on links. WELL NO F---ING DUH ... MORON! DON'T YOU THINK YOU WOULD PANIC A LITTLE IF YOU WERE A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER AND PORN STARTS POPPING UP ON A COMPUTER? DON'T YOU REALIZE THAT WHILE YOU WERE FRANTICALLY TRYING TO CLOSE THE WINDOWS YOU MIGHT INADVERTENTLY CLICK ON A LINK?

Oh yeah ... Lounsbury admitted there was no search made for adware, which can generate pop-up advertisements. You've got to be kidding me! Why wouldn't you check for malware of any kind in a case like this?

According to prosecutor David Smith, the police didn't check for malware because the defense didn't raise the possibility of a malware attack during the pretrial phase, as required by law.

So what exactly did Herbert Horner, the proprietor of the consulting firm Contemporary Computing Consultants, testify to in court?

His exhaustive independent forensic analysis of Amero's hard drive showed that the machine had been infected with multiple pieces of malicious software before she arrived at the school, and that these hidden programs were responsible for the pornographic deluge.

Horner arrived in court with two laptops filled with the voluminous records of his investigation. However, the judge only let him present two slides. Prosecutor Smith objected because his team hadn't been previously informed about the malware defense.

According to AlterNet:

ComputerCOP Pro, the software the police used to audit Amero's computer, is an automated user-friendly tool search tool designed for routine monitoring. It is not designed to definitively distinguish between user-generated clicks and the effects of malware.
Compared to Horner, the prosecution's expert witness has little formal IT training. Detective Lounsbury has completed two two-week FBI training seminars on computer security and other continuing education programs.
Another program called Pasco showed that malware had automatically redirected Amero's browser. Horner stressed that this particular form of hijacking is invisible to ComputerCOP Pro.
There is tons more to the case, and you can read the full article here. It also explains where the malware came from.

She also notified the school of the problem that day which is hardly the actions of a guilty porn addict.

Some of the discrepancies of the case was that she physically pushed a students face away from the screen when she noticed he was looking at it, and that she didn't unplug the computer. I'm thinking she pushed him away because she was protecting him, and not unplugging the computer is hardly worth 40 years.

I myself went to school, and graduated, for network systems administration. Basically, setting up computer networks, and protecting them from malicious attacks ... including malware. I have certifications, and real world professional experience in this particular matter. I assure you ... she was the scapegoat for the school involved, and the victim of a police department with inferior IT knowledge to handle the most basic of cyber cases.



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