back to article Judge accuses hacks of hacking cannibal ruling

A state judge in Oklahoma has publicly accused reporters covering a high-profile murder trial of hacking into her computer and stealing a secret ruling she issued in the case. Cleveland County District Judge Candace Blalock made the allegations after a local TV station reported that portions of a confession police obtained from …

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Better cause:

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"

Probably leaked by some stupid clerk. The malice of hacking a computer seems WAY off base. It is a convenient way of applying spin.

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Okay, so the ruling is now public knowledge...

Will she change her mind just because of that, or what?

I find the lack of judges in this country who barely (or in some cases don't) even know what the internet is or how to protect their computers staggering.

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Joke

I'm in ur computer, hacking ur rulings.

Everybody knows the real hackers spend all their time stealing emails that judges send to themselves.

Or maybe the script kiddies scrounged up the intellect to know to check her home computer and how to obtain her IP/email address to plug into one of their downloaded tools.

Heaven forbid one of the people who she actually shared the ruling with in person could have distributed such information.

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Heart

It's her own fault...

She made the mistake of e-mailing it to an account where her home computer could access it. Just about everyone here knows the weaknesses of using e-mail to correspond. The e-mail was either intercepted by:

1) Packetsniffing off the local net (or anywhere the message may have travelled, assuming it all went along the same route)

2) Harvesting it off any email server.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

The heart because you just gotta love 'em...no matter what they get themselves into..

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In other news...

... a Judge in another municipality wrote a secret ruling on a postcard and mailed it to himself. He's now claiming that someone must have reached into his mail slot, taken the postcard, copied it, and put it back where it was. That's the most likely explanation for how it ended up in the hands of a local news station.

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Idiot

Does she truly believe this? Or is she trying to gain publicity by making noise on computer misuse, in the hope that a US leadership change will prompt a series of promotions and legal shake ups?

Or, which is more likely, she has no idea on what is going on and either mailed it to the wrong address (spelling mistake?) first before fixing and resending to herself or something just as stupid.

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Her own fault?

You must be joking.

It is not her own fault. She used non secure methods, but in no way that is her fault.

If a have a thin door, is it my fault if some "nice" people break into my house, beat and rob me? NO. It is THEIR fault.

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Silver badge

It might have been her fault to some extent

But that doesn't mean anyone should be able to steal a report they have no right to see.

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Anonymous Coward

Better analogy...

"If a have a thin door, is it my fault if some "nice" people break into my house, beat and rob me? NO. It is THEIR fault."

If you have no curtains in your house, and somebody walks past and sees something you don't want them to, is it your fault? Well... yes.

If she'd shut the curtains, and the leak had still happened (very likely) then at least she could know it wasn't because she'd negligently left her curtains open...

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Anonymous Coward

Backward judiciary

This isn't the first time that judges in the US* have shown themselves to complete morons when it comes to that there newfangeld technotrickery.

From the judge who decreed that wikileaks should be banned/ brought down/ never present again on the interweb, to the Californian judge who didn't understand how a fixed-wheel bicycle works. Utter morons.

* - that's not to say that judges over here are any better, just that I haven't read any stories that have really stuck in my mind about them.

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Stop

Evidence?

I'm with Herby on this one. I suspect the source of the leak was more likely to be loose lips than hackers.

As judge, isn't she supposed to know the difference between an unsubstantiated assertion and an argument based on evidence?

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Re: Her own fault?

Well there have been metric shedloads of caselaw that says that emails are NOT confidential.

Shit, she's a judge! She should know that!

So if it's OK by the judicial system for my email to be scanned and intercepted because it's plaintext, the judicial system sending plaintext emails can't really complain about people reading it.

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metric shedloads

hmm, I'm now curious as to what an imperial shedload is?

elreg, please update your standards of measurement to include these

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Why go public?

If you were a judge who honestly suspected that your email was compromised, wouldn't you call in professional investigators (FBI?) rather than make public statements of your suspicions?

FFS, if you suspected any hacking, you'd want to know ASAP where it was happening, since it could be on your work PC and nothing to do with email at all.

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Ru

@Aitor

Your insurers may have something to say about that. You might not have done the stealing, but your negligence allowed it to happen. By using an insecure communications method, she was negligent.

If she hasn't broken any laws or codes of conduct by doing this sort of thing, then the system is at fault because this sort of silliness should be thoroughly discouraged.

See also: the organisations which lose 20 million customer records by leaving a laptop lying around. It wasn't the laptop user's fault that it wasn't where they'd left it, surely? It's not their fault they weren't more careful, right?

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Her own fault??!

I'm sure we're all aware that email is insecure, but do you seriously believe that journalists were packet-sniffing her office's LAN? Maybe they broke into AT&T and sniffed it in transit? Maybe they hacked into Hotmail and stole it from there.

Or maybe, just maybe, it got leaked by an insider.

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Paris Hilton

It's her own fault.

Hasn't she ever heard of a USB memory stick, FFS?

PH because Paris could outsmart this judge!

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Anonymous Coward

@Aitor

If you're going to rely on the goodness of others for your own protection, why even bother having a door in the first place? Just because it's illegal to break in to a house and steal the owner's stuff doesn't prevent people from doing it-- they're criminals, that's what they do for their daily bread.

A much better solution would be to have a door so intensely hard to penetrate that the average opportunist will ignore it in favor of easier pickings.

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Flame

Not Housebreaking

The house-breaking analogy is false. This involved a confidential matter. No matter how the reporters obtained the information they should have respected the confidential nature of the information. The information related to a serious criminal matter before the courts FFS not some celebutard gossip. If at all possible, the reporters should be prosecuted.

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Tom

@ Karl

An imperial shed is an old converted anderson shelter with potting shed appendix.

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Jobs Horns

Probably just warning the attorneys to keep their traps shut...

"That's what I think happened, and I think that because I do not believe any of the lawyers involved here would violate" the confidentiality order.

She's a judge, of course she knows the lawyers involved would violate the confidentiality order if they thought it was in the best interest of their case. Now if they keep chattering they know she'll sic the district attorney on them for conspiracy and computer crimes, aside from the contempt charge...

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Re: metric shedloads

The metric shedload is slightly less than the metric shitload (because the shed container has been cleaned...).

The shitload is based off a number of buttloads (imperial or metric).

The metric buttload is slightly smaller than the UK imperial buttload which is itself smaller than the US imperial buttload.

Of course, the actual size of the buttload and how many buttloads go in to a shitload (and how much of that needs to be cleaned up when you make it a shedload) is, of course, undefined.

I, for one, do not wish to investigate metrology in this case...

(this complete lack of information bulletin is brought to you by the Office of National Statistics and the number eft)

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Or maybe, just maybe....

... she was stupid enough to mail it to the wrong account.

Even the fact that she mailed a confidential document should get her fired.

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Go

Errr

One of the local IT geeks mapped a drive to her admin share, copied the file, gave it to some pretty reporter with a filthy mouth. That's my guess.

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If she admits she is to blame...

does that mean she will find herself in contempt of court???

The fact that she was STUPID enough to email something like that to her home computer should be an automatic disbarment for her.

Idiot.

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So...

She sent an unencrypted e-mail containing confidential data? That would get most people fired.

The house-breaking analogy is false, but not because "reporters should have respected confidientality" but because containing confidential information is the sole responsibility of the bearer. Just ask the DoD what would happen if someone sent an e-mail with TOP SECRET classified data, unencrypted, to his Hotmail account. Oops!

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Flame

@ ImaGnuber

"If at all possible, the reporters should be prosecuted."

Oh, absolutely. It will be very entertaining to see the reporters ordered to violate the First and Fifth Amendments and incriminate themselves by revealing the source of their information - who will almost certainly be whichever lawyer thought leaking the information (without telling the reporter that it was privileged information and not to be revealed) would help his case.

FFS! People like you are the reason our rights are being eroded, day by day! Bush and Blair must love you.

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they never listen

management drones, political hacks, they NEVER listen to their IT guys. We tell them over and over that there's a REASON not to send stuff to machines we don't control. We tell them that's why there are regulations specifically prohibiting the use of "free" emails, and why it's practically ILLEGAL to send stuff to unsecured, non-county/city/state machines.

But noooo, they know oh so much more than us IT morlocks..they're Beautiful Smart People, good Democrats and Union people. They of the unscented feces. They put stuff on PDAs, bypass firewalls, load up on free USB sticks, burn stuff to discs and copy to local files, bring home laptops, and sneak in rules to auto-forward confidential and classified emails to their Gmail and Yahoo accounts.

And time and time again this sort of thing happens. And some poor IT drone gets the sack. Because even if he documents the decision, covers his @rse with a paper trail, he still gets it. Because the Union guys won't support you since they're protecting their own, ditto for Upper Management, and the same for local politicoes who prefer media silence. Attorneys won't touch it since there's not enough money to be made. And if the IT guy manages to not get fired for whistleblowing, his whole department gets budget cuts, the guy will never see a promotion-he's not a "team player"...

And no, this ain't some Bush Administration organization I'm referring to either. Rather a very large, very liberal, mostly Democrat, oppressively "PC" county government agency. Makes the Pentagon seem like a college coed dorm in comparison.

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An Imperial Shedload..

is 1.2 metric shedloads. I though everyone knew this.

Judges and the interweb, who'd 'ave thought that something could go wrong with that eh? Funny thing is no one is examining why she would consider it acceptable to email her rulings to her home computer.

So besides a number privacy laws, chances are she broke an imperial shedload of data retention laws too. Remember how Microsoft got themselves into so much trouble with the emails they forgot to delete? Well States and local governments took notice of this, and many decided to create laws and policies that limit the period of time electronic documents, especially email, should be kept. Therefore sending confidential emails outside of the system that safely deletes, erm I mean archives, such data? Well that's a big no no. Whether you wrote the confidential data yourself is not really relevant..

You see what you have is a judge that sent confidential data to her own, unsecured computer, and then has the stupidity to admit this in public. The brilliant part is what happened next is the exact reason you aren't allowed to do such things. And then she admitted it was her own fault. In public. Doesn't seem to be too much else for the eventual prosecutor to do does there?

Knows she shouldn't send confidential data to a personal, unsecured computer. Check.

Knows the reasons why you shouldn't do such things. Check.

Knows the consequences of her actions were the exact reasons listed above. Check.

Finishes by not only publicly confessing she did it, but that she knows why she shouldn't have done it and that she knows it's her own fault confidential data made it into the public domain. Check.

Now explain to me what usually happens next if you're not a judge..

NB

Yes I do know that sending this information home via email was probably not how it ended up in the public domain. If anything this only makes it even funnier. Her public declaration that it was her fault makes using that as a defense for her actions impossible.

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IT Angle

shedloads

An imperial shed is a bit bigger as 4 foot is bit over 1200mm

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"filthy mouth"?

I wouldn't hand over sensitive information from my employer to some reporter with a filthy mouth. She'd have to be cute, too.

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Paris Hilton

What I want to know is...

... the gory details of the case! What form of cannibalism? What did it *taste* like? Google is strangely reticent on this case.

On a more serious note, the postcard analogy is a fair one. Carrier pigeon would work too.

Regarding email as 'secure' or 'private' shows a very basic ignorance of how both email and public packet-switched networks function. The judge might just as well have shouted her ruling through a megaphone.

PS: note to El Reg's icon mavens; please substitute Paris's face for that shot of her getting out of a car. In close-up. Please.

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Or maybe...

The judge had a virus. Looking at a little too much gay porn perhaps?

Script Kiddy 1: Duude, I have a judge's computer on my botnet.

Script Kiddy 2: Haha! Nice man! What's that she just emailed to herself.

Script Kiddy 1: Dunno man. Looks like some gnarly confidential documentation.

Script Kiddy 2: Duuuuuuuude. Send it to the mass media.

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