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Florida Bringing Hacking Felony Charges Against 13-Year-Old

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The definition of hacking in Florida might get a whole lot broader if Domanik Green is found guilty, now that the Pasco County, Florida prosecutors have apparently not yet decided to drop hacking charges against the 8th grader.

The Serious Crime of Changing a Desktop Background

hack youthTo be clear from the outset, all this boy did was change a desktop background of a teacher that him and his fellow students disliked. This is not unlike writing on the blackboard behind the teacher’s back, a crime punished with detention. But the Pasco County Sheriffs believe that Green violated Chapter 815 of the Florida law, specifically chapter 06 thereof, which classifies the boy’s activities, technically speaking, as a felony in the third degree.

Also read: Michigan High School Student Facing Charges After DDoS’ing School Network

Technically speaking. If people who don’t know what they’re talking about are railroaded by an overzealous prosecution looking for a Supreme Court loss down the road. Certainly a higher court would see the ratiocination of this case to be a miscarriage of the spirit and letter of the law. In any case, the legality pertaining to Green reads:

A person commits an offense against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, or electronic devices if he or she willfully, knowingly, and without authorization […] accesses or causes to be accessed any computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device with knowledge that such access is unauthorized [and] […] introduces any computer contaminant into any computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device […]

Or at least that’s the only part of the computer crimes section of Florida law that Hacked has been able to apply to the County Sheriff’s assertion that young Green committed “offense against a computer system and unauthorized access.” These two violations are both listed as third degree felonies, which in Florida are punishable by up to five years each and can carry fines of $5,000.

How did he violate the law? Allegedly, he used the well-known password of the (absentee) teacher he didn’t like, logged on, and changed the background of the desktop to a picture of two men kissing. The image must be the “contaminant” and the use of the password use must be the unauthorized access. Law is a tricky thing, even for those who administer and prosecute it, and there is a fatal flaw in the legal strategy of the sheriff, who is most likely expecting the young man and his mother to stand down.

Teenage Ignorance of the Law

The case gets more interesting when you hear the words of young Mr. Green himself. The boy, whom school officials said had previously been in trouble for similar activities (and they hadn’t felt the need to call the police that time), claims he had no clue he was breaking the law. Now, remember what you just read above: “knowingly, and without authorization […] with knowledge that such access is unauthorized.”

Here is what he said to the local news, when they approached him shortly after he was released from jail. It is unusual for a minor criminal to be identified, but the boy and his mother were eager to speak to the news, apparently realizing immediately that an injustice was being carried out.

If they had notified me that it was illegal, I wouldn’t have done it in the first place, but all they said was, you shouldn’t be doing that.

Further, the boy claims that accessing the systems using teacher’s passwords is a regular occurrence, and that many students in the district do it. It must be why the teacher’s passwords are so easy to know.

The computer crimes law in Florida seems to be written, in spirit, to deal with malicious hackers who do actual damage. For instance, it has a specifically harsher sentence for those who disrupt hospitals. It also makes immune police agencies, which is troubling.

The court could set a very dangerous precedent if they convict Green of any crime in relation to his activities. Next, parents will be having their children locked up for unlawful use of their data plan, which the court could conceivably consider a network. Rationality has to start somewhere. It may not be the job of the Sheriff to drop charges, only to make arrests and enforce his understanding of the law, but it is most certainly the job of the prosecutors to weed out frivolous or unnecessary cases.

A conviction of Mr. Green will only teach the other students that the administration is insane, and their parents that they should move to a more intelligent district. It will most likely, one might not, ruin his life before it’s even begun. It is exactly the kind of case that should have stayed within school walls.

Meanwhile, the very same administrators who felt authorized to create a national news story out of a classroom prank have a suspiciously missing public policy on student discipline. Interesting.

13-floridaUpdate: the EFF have picked up on this case, there is a crowdfunding campaign to fund Mr. Green’s legal defense, and there is now a petition online to have him acquitted. Rational people nationwide seem to be striking back.

Images from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 2 rated postsP. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at http://ico.phm.link




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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Illutian Kade

    April 17, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Figures…fucking police state in this country these days. All the while, the local buffoons go on a power trip.

  2. Hennessy Hemp

    April 17, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Sounds like they’re having trouble catching real hackers, and using this to bolster their stats.

  3. Ian

    April 17, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    I think if permitted, then U.S. lawmakers would incarcerate people from birth for the benefit of the nation as it supports the prison industry – creating more jobs – and helps prepare people for war and killing, again creating jobs and growth for the industry. With statements like, it is easy manipulate people into giving up their freedom.

  4. Ian

    April 17, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    The lesson being taught here is to respect authority. Whether the approved has dementia with the mental capacity of a three year old is irrelevant, they must be respected and believed, otherwise it’s off to prison.

    • Danix Defcon 5

      April 20, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      The issue with this is that he’s being charged with a felony. Even though his actions were tasteless, there’s no way his actions would actually merit a felony charge. It’s kinda like getting 30 to life for shoplifting some M&Ms from your local 7-Eleven.

      • Victor Masey

        April 22, 2015 at 8:10 pm

        Uh, don’t look now but 30 to life for shoplifting some M&Ms from your local 7-Eleven is ALREADY standard sentencing!!

      • englishvinal

        June 28, 2015 at 4:06 pm

        I had a neighbor whose dogs barked incessantly day and night. We went to him and asked him to please try to put barking collars on the dogs or train them to be quiet when told to be quiet…
        He said “What is wrong with you? The dogs bark…. that’s what dogs DO”..

        Well, charging 13 year olds with a felony, giving them a criminal record for LIFE because the boy changed the picture on the teacher’s computer….
        … by the “government” PO-lice and the bureaucrats……………………..
        …… “Is what they DO”…………………
        Got it?

  5. pacman7331

    April 18, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Bleh… this isn’t hacking. I don’t have much compassion for the kid, given his choice of desktop background. But really this isn’t hacking. That kid is too dumb to hack anything.

    • englishvinal

      June 28, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      Probably the teacher was suspected of something…..

  6. Schnitt

    April 18, 2015 at 11:58 am

    The entire state of Florida must be punished for the insolence of this Sherriff.

  7. Victor Masey

    April 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    “Florida Bringing Hacking Felony Charges Against 13-Year-Old”

    Not surprising for a collapsing Third World kraphole that openly practices legalized torture, legalized kidnappings, legalized financial fraud, legalized war crimes, legalized massive surveillance of absolutely everyone & everything, a legalized system of privately run Prisons-For-Profit, legalized market data manipulation, legalized highway robbery (aka Civil Asset Forfeitures), legalized secret FISA courts that issue legalized secret warrants, legalized police brutality, legalized drone bombings of children playing soccer on some beach 7422 miles away from here, legalized military invasions of foreign nations based on false pretenses & fabricated evidence, legalized benefits for illegal immigrants, legalized & purposeful dumbing-down of the entire national educational system, legalized usury, legalized bail-outs of failed private corporations at public expense, a completely corrupt judiciary operating a two-tier ‘justice’ system, legalized assassinations of 16 year old U.S. citizens with no judicial review whatsoever (Abdulrahman al-Awlaki), a completely corrupt legislative arm, a completely corrupt & ineffectual president who seems to believe he possesses dictatorial powers, a completely corrupt and subservient newsmedia that only reports what it is told/allowed to report, legalized blacklists, legalized censorship, complete elimination of Constitutional Rule of Law and legalized forcing of the population into buying worthless overpriced “healthcare” plans practically at gunpoint.

  8. englishvinal

    June 28, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    The whole US “system”… (government rules regulations, bullying bureaucrats and career sell-out politicians) needs to be de-funded.. hacked and crashed…
    And then maybe the people could find REAL representatives with the ability to do deductive reasoning and use logic…. and start OVER.

  9. Robert Genito

    August 8, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    . . .

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Altcoins

Crypto-Security Testnet Surpasses Key Milestones

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Security and has been combined with micro-compucomputing are a combination which ascended to greatly relevant, both economically and financially, since the early days of commercial internet technology, the John McAfee associated era of anti-virus software, and fears of ‘millennium-bug’ (‘Y2K’)-induced societal meltdowns.

As a market player, ‘cybersecurity‘ is hailed for its continuedvalue and growth, with recent implementations advancing in tandem with technological development. With ‘blockchain’ having become a key buzzword in recent years, it comes as little surprise that digital security providers have been attempting to identify and provide protection against cryptocurrency related scams.

Examples of these include ‘malware‘ AKA ‘malicious software’. They are often created with the aim of illicitly subvert the processing power of the victim’s device for use towards the mining of cryptocurrencies, or lock and potentially delete highly sensitive data (such as Ransomware’).

Cybersecurity and Blockchain

Crypto attacks can affect almost any person or institution: from private wallets and exchanges, to cryptocurrency operators, and even sometimes unsuspecting users of internet browsers with no relation to blockchain based services.

In an article published at CCN in August 2018, I wrote about the large prolificity and news coverage of cyber-attacks carried out against cryptocurrency organisations: with a majority of them involving the theft of high-value quantities of tokens or sensitive data.

Key points raised in the piece include the identification of wallets and exchanges as high-value targets for potential thieves, as well as a discussion surrounding a study of over 1000 participants in which none of the top exchanges were “lauded for security”.

As cybersecurity has been exposed as a fatal flaw in the unauthorised access / theft access of finances and data, it has also drawn a spotlight on the various methods employed by the companies which suffer these attacks.

Middleware, Wear and Tear

Some teams attempt to protect their data and finances through the creation and implementation of their own proprietary cybersecurity solutions whilst others seek the tender of others,

‘Middleware’ is nothing new and has long been utilised as a means of implementing third-party solutions as a means of shifting professional a legislative liability regarding essential functions of a brand technology.

It’s a creation by third party product / service providers that sits between external and internal code in order to facilitate functions or protections.

Decentralized Security Testnet

REMME is a project harnessing blockchain technology to create a distributed cybersecurity solution for enterprises.

Its now-released testnet has already demonstrated the efficacy of storing hashed Public Key Infrastructure certificates on the blockchain, and with 300 pilot program participants signed up, REMME isn’t short of applicants eager to trial its distributed identity and access management solution.

‘Distributed Identity and Access management’ (IAMd) and ‘Public Key Infrastructure’ requests (PKId) count amongst two of the primary features of the proprietary REMChain testchain network infrastructure. Both claims of which have come from CEO Alex Momot, who additionally praised “The interoperability of the public blockchain and sidechains”.

Additional features include the ‘REMchain block explorer’ – ‘node monitoring’ (connected to five nodes worldwide) – REMME WebAuth demo application.

While a pilot program reportedly attracting over 300 global enterprise applicants, REMME feels confident about the future of their long terms plans: which include full integration existing enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, Accounting software etc.).

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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MyEtherWallet Compromised in Security Breach; Users Urged to Move Tokens

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Popular cryptocurrency service MyEtherWallet (MEW) is urging users to move their tokens after the platform succumbed to its second cyber attack of the year. As the company reported earlier, hackers targeted MEW’s popular VPN service in an attempt to steal cryptocurrency.

Hola VPN Users Compromised

Rather than target MEW directly, hackers took control of the Hola VPN service, which claims nearly 50 million users. For the next five hours, MEW users who had the Hola chrome extension installed and running on their computer were exposed.

MEW took to Twitter to urge users to move their funds immediately.

“Urgent! If you have Hola chrome extension installed and used MEW within the last 24 hrs, please transfer your funds immediately to a brand new account!” the company said. It added the following message shortly thereafter:”We received a report that suggest Hola chrome extension was hacked for approximately 5 hrs and the attack was logging your activity on MEW.”

At the time of writing, MEW’s Twitter feed had no further updates.

MyEtherWallet is used to access cryptocurrency wallets, where users can send and receive tokens from other people.

The company reportedly told TechCrunch that the attack originated from a Russian-based IP address.

“The safety and security of MEW users is our priority. We’d like to remind our users that we do not hold their personal data, including passwords so they can be assured that the hackers would not get their hands on that information if they have not interacted with the Hola chrome extension in the past day,” MEW said, as quoted by TechCrunch.

It’s not yet clear how many users were compromised in the attack or how much, if any, was stolen from their wallets. MEW suffered a similar incident in February after a DNS attack wiped out $365,000 worth of cryptocurrency from users’ accounts.

Cyber Attacks on the Rise

The attack on MEW came less than 24 hours after Hacked reported another major cyber breach involving Bancor, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. The security breach compromised roughly $23.5 million worth of digital currency, including Ethereum, NPXS and BNT, Bancor’s native token.

Last month, a pair of South Korean exchanges fell prey to cyber criminals, prompting local regulators to expedite their approval of new cryptocurrency laws.

It has been estimated that a total of $761 million has been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges in the first half of the year, up from $266 million in all of 2017. That figure is expected to rise to $1.5 billion this year.

CipherTrace, the company behind the estimates, told Reuters last week that stolen cryptocurrencies are mainly used to launder money and aid criminals in concealing their identities.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 649 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Mt. Gox vs. Bithumb: That Was Then, This Is Now

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Bithumb now shares something in common with the Tokyo-based shuttered bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox — both suffered a hack on about the same date, June 19. It’s a club that no exchange wants to belong to and that Bithumb happened on the seven-year anniversary of Mt. Gox’s maiden attack has to be more than an eerie coincidence.

It’s a stark reminder of the risks involved with keeping funds on an unregulated exchange, vulnerabilities that cost South Korea’s Bithumb some $36.6 million in digital cash and Mt. Gox $450 million in hacked bitcoin and its future. The Mt. Gox theft unfolded over a series of hacks that culminated in 2014. Though it’s still early on in the Bithumb hack, it appears the South Korean exchange will recover from the security breach. So what do we know now that we didn’t on June 19, 2011?

Then vs. Now

Former Coinbase official Nick Tomaino, who is also the founder of crypto fund 1 confirmation, reflected on the Mt. Gox hack in what proved to be a prescient tweet given the Bithumb attack that was about to surface.

The thing to note about Mt. Gox is that the Japan-based exchange in 2011 controlled most of the BTC trading volume, approximately three-quarters of it by average estimates — more if you ask Tomaino. Since bitcoin fever caught on in 2017, there are more than 500 cryptocurrency exchanges on which trading volume is shared. Binance boasts the highest trading volume and captures nearly 15% of bitcoin trading. It’s much less than Mt. Gox days but still a little high.

The other thing to note is that the Mt. Gox hack or actually hacks, as there were multiple attacks on the exchange over several years, was a mysterious event that was shrouded in controversy and mistrust of a key executive. Bithumb, on the other hand, confronted the hack seemingly right away on Twitter and has not let any grass grow under its feet in the interim, which is a key difference in the way Mt. Gox was handled.

Also, the bitcoin price didn’t tank in response to the Bithumb hack. It traded lower for a while, but less than 24 hours it was back in the green, which is a reflection of the fact that bitcoin trading is no longer dependent on a single exchange.

Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin (LTC), the No. 6 cryptocurrency by market cap, was among the first to respond to the Bithumb hack. He tweeted:

Indeed, Bithumb does expect to be able to cover the losses via their reserves.

Crypto Security

It’s still early on in Bithumb’s security breach, and more details are sure to emerge in time. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to use the hack as an opportunity to examine the security of your cryptocurrency investment portfolio. There are several hardware wallet options out there for you to choose from — whether it’s Trezor or Ledger Nano S, to name a couple — and as Charlie Lee advised, “only keep on exchange coins that you are actively trading.”

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 69 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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