back to article Plod wants your PC? Brick it with a USB stick BEFORE they probe it

Criminals, activists, and whistle-blowers have a new tool to help foil police by shutting down laptops before they are examined. "USBKill" is a script that turns an innocent-looking thumb drive into a kill switch that, when unplugged, forces computers to shut down. Author "Hephaestos" (@h3phaestos) says their tool will …

  1. Andy Non Silver badge

    Automatic bricking...

    "Further they should be prepared to dig themselves a potentially bigger hole if they refuse police requests to hand over passwords."

    OK, what happens for example if instead of a password you use a key file (e.g. with TrueCrypt) and store that key file inside the encrypted volume. The only time it is temporarily copied to a USB stick is if the computer needs rebooting by the owner. If plod shuts down the machine or it is rigged to shutdown if tampered with, then the machine is unbootable (or encrypted volume effectively lost) and the user has no passwords to hand over. The temporary USB stick would be wiped (overwritten) between uses. What then Mr Plod?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Automatic bricking...

      You'd be well and truly shafted if there's a power failure or your system crashes etc. etc. You'd be taking a huge risk with your data.

      I had a basic script setup in my less-than-legitimate-youth that wiped out the disk, firstly by destroying the superblocks followed by a full write of random data. Thankfully I grew up before I got into any serious trouble.

      Either way this will help you little, destroying evidence is still perverting the course of justice, just the same as refusing to give up passwords.

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: Automatic bricking...

        Would it still be perverting the course of justice if it was in effect Mr Plod who triggered the loss of data by their own actions with the computer?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Automatic bricking...

          "Would it still be perverting the course of justice if it was in effect Mr Plod who triggered the loss of data by their own actions with the computer?"

          A good question, I don't know the answer, but would like to know. Still, this would likely only work once, after which they'll start asking if you have any security features that'll destroy data (if they don't already), placing the ball firmly back in your court: to lie, or incriminate yourself.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: Automatic bricking...

            You can have the encrypted data syncing to the cloud via a VPN that goes to TOR back through another VPN and back through TOR. If the USB device tied to your wrist is removed the encryption key for the hard drive is dropped and the contents of the SSD are instantly erased. That will also save you if something happens to accidentally trigger it. They won't be able to find out about that encrypted copy on the cloud because the hard drive will be erased.

            If you're clever you can resist arrest just enough that they tase you, and your lawyer can claim the Taser in close proximity to your laptop erased the SSD.

            1. Thorne

              Re: Automatic bricking...

              I don't know why you'd bother with a USB device. Can't you use have a program looking for a Bluetooth device? Lose communication with your FitBit or other pointless Bluetooth gadget/watch/key fob and it asks for a password. It shuts down and locks after five minutes. By the time they finished tazing you and dragging you away, they can't get in anymore.

              Personally I'd run a custom solution than an off the shelf one as it would be more likely that the police won't be able to work out how to stop it before it's too late and can't prepare for it.

              1. P. Lee

                Re: Automatic bricking...

                >Can't you use have a program looking for a Bluetooth device?

                +1 for this idea. You could bury it in a wall, floor, or on a timer so it allows a login for 5 minutes after you pass by your neighbours postbox.

            2. auburnman

              Re: Automatic bricking...

              "If the USB device tied to your wrist is removed the encryption key for the hard drive is dropped"

              You could probably tie <security action of your choice> to something more innocuous like when the system detects a device has been removed from the headphone jack. That way you could trip the switch by backing away from the computer with your hands up (assuming a reasonably sturdy set of phones round your neck.

          2. Andy Non Silver badge

            Re: Automatic bricking...

            "Still, this would likely only work once, after which they'll start asking if you have any security features that'll destroy data"

            In principle, you could brick not only the computer but any number of encrypted external USB drives at the same time, even if they weren't connected to the computer. Just keep the key files for those drives inside the encrypted volume of the computer (along with the key file for the encrypted volume itself). So one "hit" could brick any number of devices.

          3. jabuzz

            Re: Automatic bricking...

            You have a right to remain silent, aka you don't have to answer the Police's questions if you don't want to. It would also be in those sorts of scenarios unwise to answer any questions put to you buy the Police unless you where under arrest and had a solicitor present.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Automatic bricking...

              >You have a right to remain silent

              You have the right to repeatedly fall down stairs, you have the right to have kiddie porn "found" on your home computers, you have the right to have a mix up in the DNA lab have you convicted of rape.

              Or if you do cooperate you have the right to have every electronic device in your home confiscated for 18months and then returned broken - never under any circumstances cooperate with the police.

          4. Bernard M. Orwell

            Re: Automatic bricking...

            ""You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

            Look familiar? If the plod asks you questions, you may refuse to answer. Note that your rights include mention that it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned.... nothing in there about you being required to answer or that it may harm your defence if you do not answer, only that your answers may be "used against you".

            Don't answer. Get a lawyer.

            1. elDog

              Re: Automatic bricking...

              Spoken like a lawyer. Ka-ching!

            2. phil dude
              Coat

              Re: Automatic bricking...

              I manage to corner a Queen's barrister a few years ago and asked about this change in the law. I will not say he convinced me, but he gave some clear examples of where it worked as intended.

              In short we need to reduce the number of ways you can get your collar felt by the police for arbitrary reasons. This should lead to a reduction in the number of abuses...

              It does look as if the only solution is to have a lawyer on speed dial....

              Better call Saul?

              P.

          5. King Jack

            Re: Automatic bricking...

            "they'll start asking if you have any security features that'll destroy data", "You have the right to remain silent." Yeah, right.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Automatic bricking...

        I'm not sure what we're talking about here is "destroying evidence". If the police haven't yet put it in one of their plastic bags, and haven't made a formal request for it to be provided, is it "evidence", or is it just data? If destroying data that the police might like to get their hands on were a crime then we'd all be criminals because we're all destroying data all the time; in many cases data protection law requires us to destroy that data.

        1. Andy Non Silver badge

          Re: Automatic bricking...

          On the downside to automatic bricking, I suspect that the "smarter" the approach to automatically destroy data, the more one's face will smart, as it repeatedly accidentally walks into doors at the police station. And as the police love smart-arses so much, they'd probably take great delight in trashing everything in your home while "looking for evidence" inside every breakable item they can find then progress to looking under the floorboard and inside the walls and ceilings.

        2. Mad Mike

          Re: Automatic bricking...

          "I'm not sure what we're talking about here is "destroying evidence". If the police haven't yet put it in one of their plastic bags, and haven't made a formal request for it to be provided, is it "evidence", or is it just data?"

          It's evidence. Companies (for instance) have a legal requirement to hold data for as long as it could be used in a court case (and therefore becomes evidence). I believe (please do check) that this also applies to individuals (e.g. tax information etc.). This is why destroying emails (even before a police investigation) is considered destroying evidence, although they would need to prove it was deliberate rather than just incompetence.

          The point here would be to make it something the police do that causes the destruction. You are under no obligation to help the police (as a potential suspect) in their enquiries and if something they do has a negative effect (e.g. wiping data), they can't claim you should have told them. If they don't take enough care when examining the PC, that's their problem...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Automatic bricking...

            "This is why destroying emails (even before a police investigation) is considered destroying evidence,"

            Does that include all the virus-laden spam I delete on a daily basis which is,by definition attempted illegal access to my systems. Plod might "need" it for evidence sometime in the next 10 years or so.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. cortland

        Re: Automatic bricking...

        "still perverting the course of justice"

        Some say Defence Attorney's do that all the time.

    2. Thorne

      Re: Automatic bricking...

      Doesn't truecrypt allow a second partition independent from the first based on the password?

      Give them the second password which leads to your Justin Beiber fan page.

      Any reasonable jury would believe you needed that security to stop people from finding out that you like him.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Automatic bricking...

        "Any reasonable jury would believe you needed that security to stop people from finding out that you like him."

        You should be handing out free screen wipes with comments like that.

      2. Six_Degrees

        Re: Automatic bricking...

        TrueCrypt's "plausible deniability" setting, one of it's very best features. The only downside was constructing a truly plausible collection of files that didn't look like stand-in crap.

        1. Cliff

          Re: Plausible deniability

          Big stack of mucky movies, some warez, and a bunch of virus source code etc may look plausible enough to the casual observer. Although it raises the question what you'd want to hide more than any of those!

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: Plausible deniability

            Windows 95 development environment...

        2. Mad Mike

          Re: Automatic bricking...

          'TrueCrypt's "plausible deniability" setting, one of it's very best features. The only downside was constructing a truly plausible collection of files that didn't look like stand-in crap.'

          The whole point of justice in this country is supposed to be (consider if you think it still is) innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, it shouldn't really matter what files are there. The fact you chose to protect them (for whatever reason) is your business. It is up to plod to demonstrate there is a secondary volume rather than for you to show there isn't.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: Automatic bricking...

            > innocent until proven guilty

            Semantically, that implies guilt. I prefer "innocent unless proven guilty".

            A bit pedantic, but...

            1. Mad Mike

              Re: Automatic bricking...

              @JetSetJim.

              I agree totally. 'Unless proven guilty' is very true. Mind you, the way things are going, innocence and guilt are becoming rather irrelevant. If they want to get you, they will!! You can see this with all the far reaching and high interpretable laws being implemented.

            2. auburnman

              Re: Automatic bricking...

              'Semantically, that implies guilt. I prefer "innocent unless proven guilty".'

              I disagree, because I think the time bound of 'until' is important is important in the framework of law. Even the guilty have the right to be treated innocent UNTIL PROVEN guilty. So e.g. if an offender is caught red handed on camera and some newspaper calls him 'the offender' instead of 'the alleged offender' before trial, and then the offender is found guilty, the paper can still be sued/fined/cautioned whatever for violating the principle of innocent UNTIL proven guilty.

              If the wording is 'unless', you could make the argument that no-one can touch the paper after the guilty verdict comes down.

              TL;DR: My opinion is that from a law standpoint 'innocent until proven guilty' offers more protection tha 'innocent unless proven guilty'.

          2. Jyve

            Re: Automatic bricking...

            Alas not in regards to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_Investigatory_Powers_Act_2000 where you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent.

            It's horrible legislation and ripe for abuse, thus why it was implemented.

        3. DougS Silver badge

          "Plausible deniability"

          That's easy, have a separate partition from which you run a VM where you do all your "day to day" stuff. A nice innocuous gmail account where you collect spam and get notifications for Amazon shipments, ordinary web browsing where you post stuff to the Reg and surf for a bit of porn, have a few apps installed like Turbotax and do your taxes there.

          Since you'd be using it on a daily basis it would look 'fresh' but the other VM where you do Bad Things would disappear without a trace by the time police get their hands on it.

        4. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

          Re: Automatic bricking...

          I use a collection of weird / extreme pornography for that purpose, since even the UK bans that stuff, it gives more than plausible deniability, it also gives a reason for acting nervous when the customs folk poke around my electronics. The most trouble I've gotten into by doing such stuff was that I was forced to delete the data before being able to proceed into the country.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Automatic bricking...

      I believe under RIPA you would be looking at an instant two year prison sentence in this case.

  2. Ole Juul

    Reaction time

    Further they should be prepared to dig themselves a potentially bigger hole if they refuse police requests to hand over passwords.

    I agree with Andy above (who posted while I was writing this) that it would indeed be better to destroy the contents of the drive. However, in the case of Ulbricht didn't they take a photo before he had time to react?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Destroying the contents is no good in the UK

      If I send you a file full of random numbers, and the police demand you decrypt it, you are going to prison for up to five years. The fact that you cannot 'decrypt' the random numbers does not matter. If you want to keep a secret, you have to destroy the _device_ before they can copy it.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Destroying the contents is no good in the UK

        I think most SSD support a "secure erase" instruction that wipes the device. They would have to prove you did it (harder to prove if the wipe software was on the SSD when it wiped) but that way there is nothing encrypted to be forced in to decrypting (or trying to prove that random data is in fact random data, for example, as I have from the Numerical Recipes CD). Might also be useful if your device is stolen/confiscated for espionage (industrial or nation state) reasons.

        What is a bit sad is the fact this discussion is taking place. That people feel enough of a threat of 'data' being used/abused to convict them when in the past you generally had to be shown to have physically done something and/or have corroborating evidence from others.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Destroying the contents is no good in the UK

          We had a speaker from the police at a conference talking about this new law when it was first created.

          We asked him how we would prove that the petabytes of essentially random data from LHC wasn't encrypted?

          We didn't need to worry because the law was only for use against terrorists.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Re: Destroying the contents is no good in the UK

            LHC - that data could be encrypted.

            Any Blofeld lookalike scientists with pet white cats at CERN?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Destroying the contents is no good in the UK

        "If I send you a file full of random numbers"

        That's a great idea. Send them (anonymously) to various people you don't like and tip off the authorities... I guess is the same trick nsa/gchq/poluce use except they plant the stuff on your pc.

  3. Long John Brass Silver badge

    would it not be better to...

    Splat a clean file system image over the top of the partition? That way you can say, encrypted data? What encrypted data?

    All that random data? No that's just a very old install that I blew away ages ago

    Or better yet ... Nope; it's just a swap vol

    1. tony2heads
      Joke

      Re: would it not be better to...

      Nope its my test data file for my random number generator;

      Just waiting to try all the tests of randomness & needed plod to arrive for the Gorilla test

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: would it not be better to...

      Do you have any idea how long it would take to do a decent overwrite?

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: would it not be better to...

        For an SSD? A few milliseconds to trim the entire range of the partition in question. Big advantage for SSDs in that regard, erasing a hard drive partition requires actual writes and if you're doing Really Bad Stuff, a half dozen overwrites to be sure.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: would it not be better to... @DougS

          "Big advantage for SSDs in that regard, erasing a hard drive partition requires actual writes"

          Yes and no.

          For traditional hard drives you are spot on, but Self-Encrypting Drives ("SED") encrypt everything. Some SSD and HDD models have SED capability but not all.

          The drives have a default encryption key already set in the factory (and printed on the drive label). With the default key the drives are essentially unencrypted, but if the encryption key is set then the drive appears bricked unless the correct key is entered upon boot. The drive can be unbricked with a special software but that renders the previous contents unreadable and the drive appears afterwards as unpartitioned, clean drive.

  4. Thorne

    F da Police!

    If the evidence is going to put you in a worse situation than not handing over the password then f#$k PC Plod.

    "Clearly I suffered a traumatic head injury while being tackled to the ground which caused me to forget my password your honour................ "

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: F da Police!

      "If the evidence is going to put you in a worse situation than not handing over the password then f#$k PC Plod."

      Trouble is the law as it stands means they can MAKE non-compliance worse than compliance for anything bar something with a life sentence. Even after you serve a stint for failing to disclose your password or whatever, they can always ask again.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Just stick a post-it note on the USB saying; DO NOT REMOVE

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guilty

    until proven innocent.

    1. Wommit

      Re: Guilty

      Just GUILTY, there fixed it for you.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not??

    From personal experience, even if you get all of your kit back from the rozzers, none of it will work, and some of it will be beyond repair - fuckem.

    (False rape claim that took a few hours to disprove, but didnt get my stuff back - including car keys - for 12 months).

    Anon because in my job these days, you are always guilty, even if proven innocent.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: Why not??

      If you're accused of something, then probably true. Depending on your force etc

      I've given the cops kit when they where investigating some nasty stuff* done at my workplace that was easier to put on a portable hard drive. I covered in (and the powersupply) with "property of x" stickers, and they joked that I was worried I wouldn't get it back. They returned it within a week, when the forensics lot came back to finger- and palm-print us, and sample our DNA.

      *food and drink being poisoned.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why not??

      Different circumstances but when my MacBook Pro was returned (a commendable week) someone had used a screwdriver to lever out the battery! Presumably someone was attempting to remove a hard disk?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not??

        "Presumably someone was attempting to remove a hard disk?"

        Setting the PC power supply switch from 220v to 110v is not something that is done by accident. The PC only blows up a few weeks later. One wonders at the vindictiveness of some people when they don't find what they want to advance their careers.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    No

    We can do the whole chain of if-I-do_this_and_they-do_that-... chains all we want, but at the end of the day, they'll crucify you no matter what and no defense will get you off. Even in the "Land of the Free" where they supposedly can't demand your encryption key, I wish you luck, cause you'll need it, when they come gunning for you. The resources of the State against those of the individual generally is a highly uneven contest, which is why we try to bind the power of the State. It sure ain't working well these days.

    Me? I do use encryption, of all sorts, and challenging set-ups but sheerly for annoyance value, or gratification on their end that they succeeded after a bit of effort. I know they're systems. And another agency of government (prison system) will chain me to their computers, on the cheap, and aside from the poor decor and piss-poor food that I've become accustomed to, I won't notice much. Doing this stuff outside that context is what's different. But then again, I'm an outlier.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wonder if there would be a market for

    "Secure" SSDs with internal chemical (cough Thermite + intumescent graphite sheet /cough) that destroys the flash chips totally but doesen't set the whole machine on fire.

    I also came up with phosphorescent memory a while back, has to stay spinning to store its <500MB of data but totally secure and because it is analogue stopping the motor even for a split second scrambles it beyond recovery.

    Sort of like an optical Turing machine but using ZnS:Cu plated onto old hard drive platters and a UV LED stack + linear CCD for readback.

    Also read that the latest anti-snoops technique is to cut open the laptop's battery and install inside two drilled out 18650's a WiFi module and multi-GB storage chip using a thin wire antenna soldered to the outer cell and interlaced with the existing wiring to make it very hard to detect.

    Simple low frequency radio to enable/disable and if it doesen't detect the host machine within a certain time the drive eats itself and then bricks the host battery to make it look like a random failure.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Wonder if there would be a market for

      There's not only a market, there's a company that is actually manufacturing storage devices with built-in hardware self-destruct. It was reported here in the Register some months back. Sorry, can't remember the details. ISTR they were rather picky about who they'd sell to, and the prices were eye-watering.

      Suspect I could do much the same with an SSD, a large capacitor charged to 240V, and some homebrew electronics, if I had any reason to want to do so.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wonder if there would be a market for

        "...there's a company that is actually manufacturing storage devices with built-in hardware self-destruct...."

        Apple?

    2. Jyve

      Re: Wonder if there would be a market for

      yes, there'd be a huge market for this. Once had the wonderful meeting where thermite was seriously being considered to destroy a large amount of harddrives to a secure standard. It was only because they couldn't get an environmental impact report/waiver in time that we went back to the usual boring linux boot/secure wipe 7 times random data.

      But....

      man, would have loved to have gone the thermite route.

      But Secure ssd's with a secure method to nuke (the important part!) before shipping the now dead PC to a warehouse for decommissioning? Yeah, there's some people would go for that, might be cheaper for them to do it that way.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thermite

    Its the only way to be sure.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Thermite

      ... only way to be sure?

      I deduce you've never seen electronics that's been the victim of a lightning strike. High voltage and current is faster and more effective than any sensible amount of thermite. It gets at the electronics from the *inside*.

      A large HV capacitor deliberately connected to the LVDC would probably be an adequate substitute for lightning,

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thermite

        "lightning"

        I fixed a transceiver that had lightning damage, not a direct hit but the far more common indirect damage from a foot long spark. Four transistors in a row, nothing else. Easy fix.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    some Estonian hackers did this already

    a few years ago, they had a secret (alleged) hacking den, KAPO police successfully broke in, handcuffed all the (alleged) hackers who were presumably up to no good, great job-done!. One of the hackers asked to use the bathroom, but stood up on the sofa, with handcuffs still in place behind his back he pulled the dangling light-switch cord, which erased everything in the apartment.

    they went to prison for a short while for destroying the data, but allegedly it was never known just what bad things they were up to.

    Of course, as this was a while ago as I suppose they would now all be shot as terrorists on sight, except...

    ...in 2015 around one percent of Estonian ICT experts have joined the Estonian sunday-data-soldiers after a more formal actual-join-the-army campaign failed, now the small Baltic state is state-sock-puppet enabled with hobbyist-reservists

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does this work on Windows? How?

  14. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    Split Key

    On my machines, I only know half of the key for file server, the other half was set by my lawyer (He lives down the hall from me in my building). I also fix some of his systems, and as such, I have a couple disks with highly-sensitive information on them (I have all the proper NDAs and contracts set up to allow me to posses such things). So in order for the police to get at my data, they'll need to get a warrant for me and a subpoena for the lawyer, in addition, they'd have to get a third party involved to ensure that the evidence they are gathering doesn't violate the rights of my lawyer's other clients. Any wrong step by the police and the full weight of the ACLU and several other lawyers will come crashing down on them.

    The volume locks on reboot and it just so happens that the power cord for the file server is under my desk, where it can 'accidentally' get tangled up around my foot and pulled out when I get up to go answer the door when the police come knocking...

    I do have the advantage of not having done anything the police would want to come talk to me about, but I'm not going to give up my data without them going though the proper channels and making sure they've dotted every 'i' and crossed every 't'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Split Key

      "I do have the advantage of not having done anything the police would want to come talk to me about, [..]"

      You breathe and know other people - that is enough for the police's "guilty by association" justification. Even if they have to spread their net to six degrees of association to pick your name.

  15. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    The only downside I can see is that using this technique would undoubtedly undermine any later attempt to deploy the industry standard Asperger's Defense.

  16. Tezfair
    Coat

    I know...

    Have the cryptolocker virus on a memory stick and run that. Total deniability to have the encryption key

    1. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

      Re: I know...

      This has actually happened, the Police actually paid up to get the data back.

      Also it would be considered by the Courts as a legitimate expense similar to forensic recovery of a smashed hard drive thrown out of a window by a crook which still resulted in convictions.

      The virus defence only works if the ISP have records of an email with attachment and all suspicious activity happened shortly after, IIRC there have been maybe 3 cases of this in the UK in the last 10 years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I know...

        "The virus defence only works if the ISP have records of an email with attachment and all suspicious activity happened shortly after, IIRC there have been maybe 3 cases of this in the UK in the last 10 years."

        Not with the USB stick approach since you can say it's from someone else. Perfectly plausible, also perfectly plausible the friend knew nothing about it being infected, thus impossible to go beyond this link in the chain.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cryptinomicon

    i recall that some hackers in the book rigged some powerful magnets inside the door frame so that as the police walked out with the evidence it all got wiped

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Cryptinomicon

      Silly nonsense.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cryptinomicon

      I think that's a myth. A magnet powerful enough to wipe a drive from more than a few inches away (assuming it wasn't secured in a thick box as it's being carried out) would be more likely to tug at the cops' badges and sidearms as they were coming IN, alerting them to its presence.

  18. crayon

    We didn't need to worry because the law was only for use against terrorists

    Consider us assured.

    1. Thorne

      Re: We didn't need to worry because the law was only for use against terrorists

      And we all know only terrorists pirate movies......

  19. ShadowDragon8685

    You know, I bet the governments love things like this for THEIR illegal operations - IE, the ones they do in other countries, whose sovereignties have laws against doing what they're doing.

    "Government doesn't like competition" indeed.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. magnets

    Wouldn't work, the fields needed would be strong enough to pick up from 3 blocks away assuming MRI strength magnet and single use pulsed power source (cough compulsator /cough) which would have to be spinning continuously and only stopped when needed.

  21. Rentaguru

    They already use usbsticks

    To plant incriminating evidence on computers, just watch their shifty little fingers near USB ports when they are supposedly searching. Anyone who trusts the police is quite mad.

    1. Thorne

      Re: They already use usbsticks

      One of the first thing the police do is plug in a USB device in that simulates the mouse moving to stop any inactivity password from activating.

      I'd have a program that lock from inactivity plus locked from a change to usb devices. As soon as anything is plugged in or unplugged, it would lock and ask for a password.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They already use usbsticks

        How about a keyboard with a Sleep button? You can set that to send the computer into Standby in a stroke like a Panic button, and as long as your standard account has a password in it, this can also automatically lock the account to the point the plods would need to know the password to restore normal operation. That's why smart cops instead read off the memory in situ or use a cold-boot attack that doesn't rely on normal operation, bypassing that safeguard.

  22. dtran12

    Similar products?

    Lol, I'm gonna start using Plod now. it will be fucked up if it was a false alarm or someone remove it by mistake... What other USB devices are out there? I use the Gatekeeper for personal uses.

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