Posted On: April 30, 2008

Police Can Seize Computer and Cyber Evidence Quicker and Easier

In a recent news article delivered to me by a friend of mine, Mark Mulroney, the technology used to search a suspect’s computer has taken a giant leap forward. No longer are police and investigators required to track cables, label machines, and photograph the exact location of every device. With this new device from Microsoft, the Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor, commonly referred to as COFFEE, law enforcement can literally have your information at their fingertips.

COFFEE is a USB thumb drive that contains 150 commands that can dramatically cut the time it takes to gather digital evidence, and decrypt passwords and analyze a computer's Internet activity, as well as data stored in the computer. What could have taken days, weeks, and months, to crack can now be done in a fraction of the time. What does this mean? Well let’s look at it from a law enforcement point of view.

For law enforcement, it means less time on scene taking down computers, and quicker analysis’ of machines (possibly depending on the purpose of the investigation), to name a few benefits. Therefore, faster turn-around time on pending investigations and prosecutions, and ultimately, it could lead to saving law enforcement a lot of time and money, which we all know they can use with budget cuts all over the country, especially in Florida.

What does this mean for the non-law enforcement individuals? Well, for now until the entire scope of what this device is capable of, not much will change. I am certain that this device will be challenged as to authenticity of the material recovered. I have yet to see how exactly is can re-create a clone or image of a hard drive, which is what is needed to preserve the integrity of a computer’s hard drive. It looks like all this does is a quick search of the drive for whatever the investigation calls for. Some interesting discussions that may follow as a result of this are whether or not inserting a thumb drive into a computer can trigger a virus, or alter any computer data, or trigger a program, which all can compromise data. I am sure Microsoft has explored all those possibilities, but as the world goes, so do technological advances and someone will figure out a way to trip this device up. It is inevitable. Food for thought, what happens if this gets in non-law enforcements hand, then what…?

For the more information on COFFEE, check out:

Microsoft device helps police pluck evidence from cyberscene of crime

Microsoft Calls on Global Public-Private Partnerships to Help in the Fight Against Cybercrime

Microsoft COFEE (Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor) for law enforcement

Posted On: April 19, 2008

Barry University Update on Campus YouTube Incident

So my clients had their hearings, which were supposedly impartial. There is good news and bad news, but I am still unclear about the bad news. If you recall from the WSVN Channel 7 story the young lady who was victimized and sucker punched in the altercation, she was suspended for the remainder of the semester and kicked off campus. She now has no where to live and no money, and of course, the University will not return the money she paid for housing and tuition. She is however, allowed to come back to school next semester, so long as she pays her tuition and expenses. Go figure...This is not the end of her story...

As for the budding cameraman, he was allowed back into school and into housing, with certain restrictions. The question is, due to the amount of time he missed because of the University's suspension, he may not be able to complete the semester, which again will require him to pay more money to the University to make up the classes. All for videoing an incident on school property and posting it on YouTube.com. But again, his future has been affected and this may not be the end of this situation for him either.

The University showed their true colors here for what clearly appears to be financial gain. As I said in my interview with Channel 7 WSVN Fox, the University was not happy for the "black eye" this incident gave the University. Over 500 people saw the video on YouTube.com and god forbid that affects the Universities enrollment as there was a physical altercation on campus.

I have learned that last year a student broke down a door on campus and pulled a knife on another student in the dorms. End result, that student was not expelled and continues to be a student at Barry University. Another incident involving a female and a fight on campus, still has that female student enrolled at Barry University. So why has my client, who is CLEARLY the victim in this incident, and solely protecting herself and her safety, no longer a student this semester at Barry University? My client was a good student, involved in student leadership, and would give tours of the campus to prospective students. I am at a loss for the way the University is handling this situation, but then again, the saga continues...

Posted On: April 19, 2008

Cyber Crime Takes on New Face...Are you Safe

Is your information safe? People take a lot for granted when it comes to the internet and their financial information. For example, the simplest thing that most people forget to do when using a public computer is making sure they are logged off and thus, the person after you doesn't access your information. Internet security is an issue that it is at the forefront of countries security all over the world. Internet hacking is the crime de jour, and the new target for organized crime. No longer do people walk into banks and rob them like Bonnie & Clyde, they do it from the comfort of their living room. What are you doing to make sure that your information is secure?

Posted On: April 8, 2008

Barry University Stomps on First Amendment

So when did we lose the right to freedom of speech? The law doesn't allow private institutions to thwart the law, so why does Barry University think they have the right to bully around two young students? Kids will be kids, and I am the first one to state that all parties may not have clean hands in this situation, but as far as Barry University is concerned, while on SCHOOL PROPERTY, my clients did nothing wrong.

If you haven't already heard, Barry University has initiated expulsion proceedings against two students, both of which have 3.0+ grades, and one of whom is a student leader. Both students have aspirations of higher education and distinguished professional careers. Now the only thing that stands in their way is private politics.

A video of the incident which occurred on Barry University's campus April 4, 2008, was posted on YouTube. What the video shows, is a loud discussion among some students that drew a crowd. My client, the budding camera man decided to film the altercation and include his own play-by-play commentary. My other client was involved in the debate, but as the video clearly shows, she WAS NOT the aggressor, rather the victim when she was sucker punched by another female. Present during this altercation was the resident adviser as well as numerous campus security. Kudos to the student RA, who was the only one from the school who attempted to stop the incident.

50 States security, one of Barry University's rent-a-guard patrols, is seen on video and asked if he was going to stop this incident, to which there was no response. Also, in violation of school policy, the security guards hired to protect the students failed to file incident reports.

Some great filming if you ask me. Lots of different camera angles, shots of the crowd, the interested parties, the school officials. Barry has taken the position at this time that only my two clients, and the girl who threw the punches are being expelled. Of course that position changed once Fox News Miami got involved. The University was planning on identifying every student who stood idly by and watched the altercation and expelled them in accordance with some obscure school policy. But of course, as the media got involved they backed off that course of action.

So what makes my clients any different, why are they being railroaded here? In an attempt to resolve this matter today, I contacted both the Dean of Students Office and the Legal Department. End result nothing was done. When asked if I can attend a meeting with my clients earlier today, answer no, the public is not allowed to attend hearings and meetings. Ok, so my clients then met with Jeff Edwards of the University who asked them to sign a document admitting the charges against them. Why would they sign a document admitting something that didn't happen, just to allow the school to expel them...Barry clearly has shown no interest in doing what is best for their students, rather, they are simply concerned with their image. My clients didn't break any laws. My clients are the victims here.

Here we have two students from out of state, with no money and no place to sleep. The University has informed them that if they return to their dorm rooms, which they are continuing to pay for, or to the cafeteria, to eat meals they are continuing to pay for, then they will be arrested for trespassing and charged criminally. So now I have to clients, which I will gladly continue to feed and make sure that they have housing, but what is Barry doing to protect these young students who they have made homeless? Are they going to give them back their money, voluntarily? Of course not, but then again that is why we have courts.

Below is the piece that aired on WSVN 7 Miami today. I am working of putting the entire video up, so check back soon so you can be the judge as to what is really going on here. This is a travesty of justice and the University is trying to sweep it under the rug. Well, I won't let them.

Posted On: April 7, 2008

Miami Criminal Defense Firm, with a Specialty in Cyber Crime Launches Website

It is with great pleasure that I announce the launch of www.davidsseltzer.com.

Please check it out and let us know how the Law Offices of David S. Seltzer, PA can help protect your freedom and rights. Don't delay, let a former Miami-Dade County Prosecutor help protect your good name and reputation. Contact us today.

DSS%20Color.bmp

Posted On: April 6, 2008

Virtual Childpornography and Steganography, What's Next?

So I was watching a television program and there was an interesting storyline. The program addressed a plethora of child pornography issues, which are clearly becoming an increasing concern for law enforcement as technology quickly advances. Without going into the entire show, the two interesting issues were: Youth Enhancement Software (Image Manipulation) and Steganography .

The program focused on the landmark case of Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002), possession of virtual child pornography is not illegal, rather free speech. And what has developed as a result of that is a world that law enforcement and the Supreme Court cannot control. Technology that is used for “good,” age progression software; is now being used in reverse – age regression. So essentially, legal aged girls are being photoshopped back into their youth, and the child pornography is legal. According to the Supreme Court, that’s legal. Virtual child pornography or manipulated images are going to make prosecution of child pornography a whole new world. As these images start popping up around the world, prosecutors will no longer be able to stand up there and state that the images are actual real children. Expert testimony is going to drive the cost of prosecution on these cases through the roof, and with cutbacks all over the country in law enforcement, it will be interesting to see what gives, the trial tactics, or the Constitutional right to “free speech…”? If anyone image in the defendant’s control is not “authentic,” the entire prosecution is compromised.

Another interesting issue addressed in the program was Steganography . Basically, it’s a secret image or text hidden behind another image. This is interesting because it is becoming more prevalent on the web and easily available to anyone who can download the necessary software. It’s not used solely for child pornography, but it’s been its most recent adaptation. To the naked eye, without the appropriate software, looking at a picture of the Statue of Liberty can really be pornography. When you decrypt the code, you will not see any lost pixels or portions of the image. So sending it over the internet can often allow the image to travel undetected through internet photo scanner programs (a discussion for another day).

It makes you wonder about technology today and its effects on the investigation and prosecution of child pornography, what does tomorrow hold? Technology is going to continue to be an uphill battle for all involved in protecting our youth. So again, what has to give to protect our children, whose rights, free speech?