Legal News

Update: Canadian Colleges Go Dark Following Expulsion of Whitehat

Editor’s Note: Updated to clarify that the sites were unreachable outside Canada, but accessible from IP addresses within that country and to add comment from Skytech on the Internet filtering. – PFR (1/22/2013) The web sites of a number of Canadian General and Vocational Colleges were unreachable from IP addresses outside Canada on Tuesday, after news spread that Dawson College, in Montreal, expelled a student who uncovered and reported security holes in a web-based student portal used at the school. The web site for Dawson College, dawsoncollege.qc.ca returned a 403 “Access Denied” message on Monday evening and Tuesday morning, along with the web sites for John Abbott College, the Collège de Maisonneuve and Cégep de Trois-Rivières. The schools all use the Omnivox software by local firm Skytech Communications to manage their student portals. The web site for Skytech Communications could not be reached either early Tuesday and returned the same 403 error. Calls […]

Citing Facebook, Mobile Devices, FTC Updates Online Protections for Kids

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued updated rules on Wednesday that will ban online advertisers from tracking the online behavior of children without explicit consent from their parents. In a press conference in Washington D.C, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz announced new guidelines for implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Among other things, the changes expand the list of information that cannot be collected from children without parental consent to include photographs, videos and audio recordings of children and geo-location information. “Unless you get parental consent, you may not track children and use their information to build massive profiles of online behavior,” said FTC Chairman Leibowitz. The new rules are a major revision to the COPPA rule, which was first passed in 1998. The law is a kind of privacy Bill of Rights and applies to children 13 years old and younger. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, […]

The Good News for Newtown Investigators: Destroying Hard Drives is Harder than You Think

Adam Lanza knew what he was doing. The 20 year-old man, who has been named as the killer of 27 people, including 20 children, six elementary school staff members and his own mother, deliberately destroyed the hard drives to personal computers he used before leaving his home to launch his attack on t the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The hard drives are believed to contain valuable clues to Lanza’s online activities and could help establish a motive for the otherwise senseless crime. According to reports from various news outlets, Lanza removed the hard drives and “smashed” them using what’s described as a hammer or possibly a screw driver. The drives are described as “broken into pieces.” A report on CBS quoted an unnamed source that was “working with the drives” as saying that they were “so badly damaged that authorities face a significant challenge in retrieving any data […]

FBI Issued Alert over July Attack on HVAC System

The FBI issued an alert to businesses in July after unknown attackers breached a computer used to control the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system of a New Jersey company, accessing a graphical user interface for the system, including a floor play layout of the company’s office. The attacks came after an Anonymous affiliated hacker, using the handle @ntisec, published links to vulnerable ICS systems running software from the firm Tridium online. The links included the address of an administrative system that controlled the HVAC system used by US Business 1, a New Jersey company that installs air conditioning systems for other companies, according to a copy of the July, 2012 Situational Information Report (PDF), issued by the Newark Division of the FBI. The alert concerning the February and March, 2012 attack was released by the web site Public Intelligence on Saturday. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment from Security […]

Report Warns of Growing ‘Dark Side’ of Cyberspace

The head of a prominent human rights groups has warned that increased state involvement in cyberspace, including surveillance, censorship, propaganda campaigns and offensive cyber operations threatens the future of the Internet as much as endemic problems like cyber crime – part of a growing “dark side” to cyberspace. Writing in the Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs,  Ronald Deibert, Director of Citizen Lab and Canada Centre for Global Security Studies said that threats to human rights and individual liberties come from a variety of states – from authoritarian regimes, to Latin American narco-states to liberal democracies in the West, as governments increasingly leverage the power of the Internet to monitor citizens’ behavior and impose limits on free expression. Citizen Lab, part of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, has played a key role in high-profile investigations of cyber espionage including the now-infamous Ghost Net attacks on […]