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DOJ Convicts ex-Cybersecurity Chief for Child Porn

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The security community has experienced shockwaves in recent months as it becomes clearer that Tor may not be the panacea of anonymity and security it was dreamed to be, with the network being compromised on more than one occasion, and a top developer warning that some nodes, central to the operation of the network, would be going offline. The story has taken a new twist with the discovery that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has hung up a federal employee on what many consider to be one of the most heinous crimes committed: child pornography.

Also read: Tor Network May Face Disabling Attack

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Cybersecurity: A Government Insider Whose “Mission Was to Defeat Tor”

doj convictionTimothy DeFoggi, 56, of Germantown, Maryland was convicted of child exploitation for his part in a child pornography ring started, prosecutors say (and have won convictions in so doing), in Omaha, Nebraska. The man who is said to have begun the darknet site, which could only be accessed via Tor, is Aaron McGrath, of Omaha, who received five years less than DeFoggi. Five others have reportedly been convicted in connection with the same illegal pornography.

The US attorney who spoke to the press afterward, Deb Gilg, said with an eerie level of confidence that Tor is not going to protect people’s anonymity.

Today’s sentence and the others imposed earlier demonstrate that those who exploit children will be aggressively pursued and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Those who think they are acting anonymously on the Internet will be found and held accountable.

DOJ Child Porn Charges: Preponderance for Even the Most Doubtful

DeFoggi was a member of a darknet site which had nearly 30,000 files related to the exploitation of children. His user account there actively socialized with others on the site and plotted fantasies about raping children. His account was there until the site was shut down in December, 2012, and then four months later, while he was director of cybersecurity for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, he was downloading pornography when FBI agents apprehended him at his home.

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Without a trace of irony, DeFoggi stated, “My mission was to defeat Tor,” when speaking about his long career with the federal government. Prosecutors made clear that because of the line of work he was in, he was even more a problem than a civilian committing the same sorts of crimes. The government had evidence that he had viewed child pornography at least four times. Someone operating at his level of expertise, it can be inferred, could easily have done it on a regular basis without ever being detected. Worse, it could have gone on for decades more. Most egregiously, the government said, some of his messages encouraged others to actively exploit children in order to produce new content. That is, in order to produce new sexual gratification for the truly disturbed.

Engaging in child pornography online is seen by many as the most reprehensible of digital crimes. While producers of the content are certainly the most guilty, the mere act of looking at it – with or without possession – is also illegal. Despite steep penalties in case after case, new child porn cases come to light every year. This, it can be said, is why it is important for law enforcement to restrict child pornography cases to cases where children are being exploited by adults. This case in Virginia where a teenager was charged with sending pornography to a minor because he sent an inappropriate selfie to his girlfriend only puts legislation that actually, honestly seeks to protect the interests of children at risk.

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San Bernadino iPhone Case: Major Press Agencies Are Suing the FBI

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The Associated Press, Gannett, and VICE Media are suing the FBI to know more details about the agency’s hack of the San Bernadino killer’s iPhone.

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Toward Unbreakable Quantum Encryption for Everyone

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Hacked recently covered the efforts of the Chinese government to build unbreakable quantum communication networks. According to analysts, quantum communications networks are so expensive that they could have a “recentralizing effect,” enabling states to recover the ground that they have lost to decentralizing digital technologies. But what if ultra-secure quantum cryptography could be made available to everyone at low cost?

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The Chinese Quantum Satellite QUESS: Toward Unbreakable Quantum Networks

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One year ago Hacked covered the race between the US and China to develop “military super-powers” by harnessing quantum science, and noted that Chinese scientists were developing quantum communication satellites that support unbreakable encryption. A few weeks ago, China launched its first quantum satellite.

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