back to article Vandals break into congressman's office, install Linux on PCs

A US congressmen has been left incensed after miscreants installed Linux on computers at his campaign office, possibly thrashing some data in the process. Michael Grimm, a Republican who represents a district in New York covering Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, has slammed the weekend break-in to his offices on as a " …

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Bronze badge

Well yes of course it will be recoverable

Or most of it will, even if the drive has been reformatted, which it is likely to have been - from NTFS to Ext4 for instance. The original data is there unless you overwrite it, and a normal disk format does not do that. Adding an OS is likely only to use a small amount of the disk - probably that which used to contain system files rather than data anyway. But it could be rather tedious to restore, and it's likely to have many small holes in it from the formatting process.

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FAIL

Re: Well yes of course it will be recoverable

not if it was dbanned.

And certainly not if it was was zeroed. dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda

never assume you know what you're talking about.

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Re: Well yes of course it will be recoverable

Did you miss the part where he said it would be recoverable if you hadn't overwritten it.

Overwriting with zero's is, well, overwriting.

I quite like the stink this guy's kicked up, especially when you see the follow up story explaining that an 8th grader broke the window, and a member of staff accidentally formatted the drive by using a Linux install disc!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well yes of course it will be recoverable

Hmmm .... dban a lot of disks that way do you? Know how long that would take with your average sized hard drive these days?

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Overwriting with zero's is, well, overwriting.

I'm sure I've read before that under laboratory conditions, it is sometimes possible to retrieve information from a hard disc even if it has been later overwritten with zeroes, or even random bytes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overwriting with zero's is, well, overwriting.

Umm, I doubt they would have been able to do that in the space of a weekend, unless the disks were tiny by today's standards.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overwriting with zero's is, well, overwriting.

I imagine if the actual aim was to erase incriminating records of dodgy donations, the 'perp' probably had as much time as he needed before the alarm was raised.

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Mushroom

@Wilseus

Under lab conditions very small amounts of data can be obtained from disks overwritten with zeros very, very expensively. It's to do with the thermal movement of disk heads - if the overwrite is at a different temperature from that at which the original write occurred traces obtainable through electron microscopy may be obtainable. Those protecting nuclear weapons codes and keys need to be aware of this kind of thing, but it isn't likely to be a practical data recovery technique unless the data is of abnormally high value. So the chances are that your old PCs can be donated to charity if you do half a dozen cycles of zeros followed by ones followed by crypto strong pseudorandom. That's probably for spinning media only though. It's not yet known to be reliable if you are using SSDs or hybrid spinning media with SSD cacheing, due to the effects of wear leveling and blocks being put out of use, without equivalently audited as secure and easy to use erasure methods normally being used or available.

If you are into nuclear secrets though, you should certainly consider grinding your storage devices into dust and then incinerating the dust the moment they are taken out of active service.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well yes of course it will be recoverable

"I quite like the stink this guy's kicked up, especially when you see the follow up story explaining that an 8th grader broke the window, and a member of staff accidentally formatted the drive by using a Linux install disc!"

Indeed. Reading about his reaction, I'm kind of surprised he's actually stopped short of genocide and other crimes against humanity. Is this really the sort of bloke who stands for democracy and 'freedom' (haha) these days?

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FIA

Re: Overwriting with zero's is, well, overwriting.

I'm sure I've read before that under laboratory conditions, it is sometimes possible to retrieve information from a hard disc even if it has been later overwritten with zeroes, or even random bytes.

That used to be true with old HDs, but not for anything built in the last 15 years or so.

More <a href="http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/secure_del.html#Epilogue">here.</a>

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Anonymous Coward

Re: under laboratory conditions, it is sometimes possible

IIRC that depends on retrieving out-of-track traces of previous bits, but modern drives work at such high density and with such precise tracking that it's unlikely to work.

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Devil

Re: Overwriting with zero's is, well, overwriting. (@ Wilseus)

", it is sometimes possible to retrieve information from a hard disc even if it has been later overwritten with zeroes, or even random bytes"

True! I can guarantee ~50% of the bits can be recovered.

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Joke

Re: Overwriting with zero's is, well, overwriting. (@ Wilseus)

True! I can guarantee ~50% of the bits can be recovered.

Pah! I can guarantee a 100% recovery of the bit so long as there's no physical damage. Just not necessarily in the correct order. (with thanks to Eric Morcombe)

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Devil

Re: Overwriting with zero's is, well, overwriting.

But of course the congressman would have had a recent off-site backup, wouldn't he?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overwriting with zero's is, well, overwriting.

Actually, the article says yes, he did. Planned ahead for 8th grade attacks and ubuntu disks.

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Linux

Re: Well yes of course it will be recoverable

... hear, hear ... "Linux" is talking (lovable and annoying) ... but hey, how about the political aspect of this ... Hint: I always thought federal campaign offices where an attack on democracy as a whole ...

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Devil

Re: Well yes of course it will be recoverable

Yep. Seems to be a bit of a non-story here. Grimm is just making shit up and/or trying to erase damaging material concerning the investigation about him.

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@jptech

Hopefully you'll read others' postings properly in future before you gleefully shoot yourself in both feet by accusing them of not knowing what they are talking about and by selecting the "FAIL" icon. It will save you immense embarrassment.

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And would this not have happened if the culprits had installed Windows 7? or AmigaOS? or OS/2?

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Happy

Or-

iOS6!

*gasp*

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Re: Or-

Don't be silly.

If they were iOS6 fans they would have never found the office.

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The Repuglican was...

probably worried about losing his collection of gay porn.

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Angel

Re: The Repuglican was...

More likely worried about them discovering it when they recover data from the disks ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Non-story

There were two separate incidents. A child broke the window. A staff member "inadvertently" installed Linux.

More here: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/09/rep_michael_gri_1.php.

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Silver badge

Re: Non-story

Party pooper! The thought of vigilante freetards was much funnier than your common sense explanation!

I hope you're proud of yourself!

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Big Brother

Re: Non-story

Well, so much for his 'I'm a victim of anti-democracy forces' wet-dream.

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FAIL

Re: Non-story

He also seems to compare it to Gabrielle Giffords's assassination attempt:

"... You know, especially in light of what happened with Gabby Giffords, we're not in the world today where we can shrug things off,"

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Re: Non-story

A staff member "inadvertently" installed Linux.

I could maybe see it if it had been one computer (still a stretch), , but the reports say "computers". How can you do it to more then one computer if you are not trying to get rid of something.

I wonder how much it costs to get an 8th grader to break a few windows...

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Happy

Re: Non-story

Linux on the Desktop!

Yes it is- how did that get there?!?

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Re: Non-story

"a "police source" tells the New York Daily News that it "appears that a campaign staffer wiped the hard drives accidentally after mistakenly inserting a Linux system disc into a Windows machine.""

Accidentally inserted the disk, rebooted the machine, clicked OK, YES, Continue a dozen times each...

Yes... a total accident.

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Windows

Re: Non-story

Er....At the link provided by a fellow commentard states:

"appears that a campaign staffer wiped the hard drives accidentally after mistakenly inserting a Linux system disc into a Windows machine."

Sorry, how the fuc*k can you do that without noticing??

Go on, enlighten me. Even with someththing as simple as an Ubuntu/Mint install, you've 7 questions to answer, before the thing works its magic. Surely, the 'qualified' staffer (No-one would let an unqualified staffer do something as critical, unless the reinstallations instructions came from Chennai). But, it's an ill wind...Think they're better off leaving it be.

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Go

Re: Non-story

Live boot disk? If I dropped one of those into all the machines at my place everyone would go nuts and I'd get an easy day "restoring" all the machines.

Not a bad idea...

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Bronze badge
Devil

It's an attack against what we stand for, for free elections.

Calm down dear.... its only a penguin!

(Sponsored by eSure... LMFAO)

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: It's an attack against what we stand for, for free elections.

Misread your title as free ELECTRONS! I'm totally behind free electrons ;-)

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Joke

Re: It's an attack against what we stand for, for free elections.

But then we would also have to allow free radicals.

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Unhappy

If only Batman had been there.

He'd have been able to stop the Penguin.

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Re: If only Batman had been there.

Yes, but these are zombie penguins.

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Is it just me or is Mr Grimmmm's statement dangerously close to the "attack on America" speech in Animal House?

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Mushroom

It was obviously a terrorist attack so let's go and bomb some poorly defended Arab contry that doesn't have any WMD.

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Big Brother

Interesting

So reading from the villagevoice link above we can see that this politician has taken two unrelated and relatively minor incidents and spins it into some kind of terror attack on democracy and free speech.

All in the name of making new laws to "keep us safe" of course.

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HMB

Re: Interesting

I doubt it, it will probably be so he gets attention without sounding like he's whining about his own problems. When you fart in his direction, you fart in America's direction... blah blah...

He's America you see.

It's just crass political maneuvering. He has some nerve IMHO.

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Coat

Re: Interesting

"some kind of terror attack on democracy and free speech"

Oh shit... So when will the invasion of Finland start?

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Coat

Re: Interesting

All in the name of making new laws to "keep us safe" of course.

It will be illegal to be in possession of a loose rock, or a Linux disk, for the purpose of breaking Windows. Get caught with both and they really throw the book at you.

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Coat

Re: Interesting

@Mephistro "Oh shit... So when will the invasion of Finland start?"

Sod the start. When will it Finnish?! (sorry)

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Re: Interesting

Oh shit... So when will the invasion of Finland start?

Don't invade Finland unless you're a real glutton for punishment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War

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Forced Entry

Since when does hurling concrete blocks through windows NOT constitute forced entry??!

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Non Event

Forced Entry

Since when does hurling concrete blocks through windows NOT constitute forced entry??!

---

When the windows was accidentally broken by an 8th grader ... and a staff member accidentally inserted a Linux ... and no crime was actually committed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Non Event

Windows *is* broken, so that's why they installed Linux... And yes - ddrescue can be used to restore the old data and even that is not needed if - as I was reading they had backups...

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Re: Forced Entry

"Since when does hurling concrete blocks through windows NOT constitute forced entry??!"

When no entry occurs, then it's just vandalism.

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