What The Trojan Horse Defense Will Mean For The Legal World

from the not-easy... dept

We've discussed the trojan horse defense before - and described how it's been used to get suspects off the hook for breaking into servers, child porn and tax fraud. However, there haven't been that many serious discussions about what the use of the trojan horse defense will really mean for computer crimes in the future. The way the trojan horse defense works, is that anyone who is accused of a computer crime claims that someone else hacked into their machine, and placed software on the machine that did whatever bad thing they're accused of doing. Using this defense seems to work well - even in very questionable cases (such as the hacking case, where no trojan was found - or the tax fraud case where the fraud only happened on the tax preparers own accounts, despite the fact that he prepared plenty of other tax returns as well without any problems). Now, former Justice Department computer crime head, Mark Rasch is looking at the longer term effects of the trojan horse defense. He points out what's especially frightening about the defense is that it could very well be true. So, you suddenly have a situation where people can get incorrectly accused of computer crimes - while at the same time, real computer criminals can get off by using the defense themselves. He also predicts that computer criminals will increasingly use this knowledge for computer extortion. This brings up, again, the issue of whether or not we should have technical courts to handle such cases, rather than just relying on "technical experts" brought in to explain situations (who often do more to confuse the issue, than to clarify it).

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  • identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, 19 Jan 2004 @ 8:59pm

    irresponsible use of computers

    At some point, people who use computers will be expected to use them responsibly, meaning they will need to take reasonable precautions against viruses (such as not running Windows on any computer connected to the net, unless Microsoft ever cleans up their act). People who cause an accident while driving drunk aren't off the hook just because their judgement was impaired by booze, because they should have known better than to drink and drive. The same logic should apply when it comes to computers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2004 @ 1:43pm

    Not the user's fault

    I sat down at a newly built computer the other day... after 15 minutes of surfing with IE, I discovered that I not only had spy ware installed, but found a modem dial-up device and connection had been created to call up a weird off-shore number. The funny/scary thing? The computer I was surfing on doesn't even have modem hardware.

    Never underestimate the stupidity of a user and the blatent malfeasance that exists on the internet at large.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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