April 24, 2001 2:01 PM   Subscribe

It must hurt for M$NBC to report NT hacks. Then again, I suppose the article wasn't about security but rather another triumph for deception and chicanery. For the 'good' guys this time. FYI [thanks for the lowdown Mike Brunker] (MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)
posted by donkeysuck (8 comments total)
Apparently, US law prohibiting entrapment ("FBI AGENTS LURED the two suspects to the United States with job offers from a fictitious security firm...:) and protecting privacy ("U.S. authorities hacked the computers of two suspected Russian computer criminals to obtain evidence against them...") don't apply to the FBI? Or just not to Russians?
posted by jpoulos at 2:13 PM on April 24, 2001

entrapment is when the police entice individuals into breaking the law:

"hey, will you sell me some drugs?" said the police man?
"sure", said the naive web designer.
"great. you're under arrest."

the tactic the fbi used has been used by local law enforcement for a long time. there have been cases of wanted criminals being sent letters that they've won an award; and, when they go to collect, they're arrested.
posted by bliss322 at 2:23 PM on April 24, 2001

Sigh. Enough with the "MSNBC must hate to report bad news about M$oft". Please. It's not true. I know. I worked there for years. It's evidenced by years of their reporting, sometimes harsher on MSFT than other news orgs. I just get really sick of seeing this over and over and over. Especially on slashdot. As much as you may want it to be so, it really causes nobody at MSNBC any pain to report bad news about billg & co.
posted by kokogiak at 2:27 PM on April 24, 2001

Jpoulos, entrapment usually refers to law enforcement 'tricking' people into committing illegal activities and then detaining/prosecuting them for that specific activity.

Undercover Cop: [grabs Hard Up Guy's crotch], hey baby, wanna take a walk on the wild side

Hard Up Guy: Sure, here's $50, let's go.

Undercover Cop: You're under arrest.

[please note, depending on your state of residence, the crotch grab and money transfer is important]

Luring people with promises of jobs (or more commonly, prizes) so they can be easily detained isn't, as far as I know, illegal.

The whole search warrant thing is kind of fascinating from a legal perspective. If hackerscrackers break into a machine but don't look at anything can they be prosecuted? (using the FBI's logic here, no).

At what point should a search warrant be required? Before you trick people into revealing their password information, before you download information, or before you look at downloaded information?

I can't wait to see what bizarre legal precedent comes out of this one.
posted by alan at 2:38 PM on April 24, 2001

Kokogiak, I sense your frustration: rest assured, some of us noticed how fair they've been. And, in addition to being susprised at how un-newsworthy this story is, I'm also pleasantly amused by the really clever use of the dollar sign in reference to Microsoft.

M$... get it? Instead of MS? Because they have a lot of money! Get it?
posted by anildash at 2:46 PM on April 24, 2001

As anyone who monitors NT Security already knows, this hack was caused more by bad Web Server Admins than by Microsoft.

A “patch” for the vulnerability has been posted on the Microsoft Web site for almost two years, but the companies hit by the cyberbandits hadn’t updated their software.
posted by internal at 2:52 PM on April 24, 2001

In the words of Cheif Quimby, "Nice work boyz".
posted by clavdivs at 3:39 PM on April 24, 2001

And MSNBC has excellent, and unbiased, reporting on computer security issues. This is hardly the first time they have done a story that dealt with a Microsoft security hole. donkeysuck's snarky characterization is one that I see all the time, and it's grossly unfair.
posted by dhartung at 4:35 PM on April 24, 2001

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