back to article Who cracked El Chapo's encrypted chats and brought down the Mexican drug kingpin? Er, his IT manager

In an extraordinary twist, it was revealed on Tuesday that the man most likely responsible for bringing drug kingpin "El Chapo" Joaquin Guzman to justice was none other than his sysadmin. Two months into the trial in New York, the FBI admitted that it had been able to access hundreds of phone calls made by Guzman and his …

  1. Phil 54
    Angel

    Coming soon on "Who, Me?"

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Well, maybe. I just hope it isn't posthumously.

    2. Prosthetic Conscience
      Joke

      That server migration sounds like the on-call from hell - screw up and they bury you and your family.

  2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Pint

    I hope that Mr. Rodriquez was sent somewhere with good Mexican food while in witness protection....

    Have una cerveza on me, muchacho.

  3. Waseem Alkurdi

    The FBI paid him back in return for his services

    The terror of living as a fugitive. Nice gift.

    Can't they bother to keep his identity private? As a form of appreciation?

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

      He'll go into witness protection and be given a new ID, etc.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

        He'll go into witness protection and be given a new ID, etc.

        I know, but even that won't suffice.

        A person who has been with me in primary school recently saw me (and remembered me too). You may have run into people whom you haven't seen in ten, twenty, even thirty years.

        And that's when I am an Average Joe.

        What would it be like for somebody on a drug cartel's hit list, a drug cartel with many, many tentacles?

        Even if it were impossible for them to find him, he would still freak out. At least he would freak out about his children's safety.

        I would, if I were him.

        Don't forget that he has a history of nervous breakdown as a result of this very thing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

          My Mum bless her was havingva phone conversation with me whilst watching the TV with the sound off a while ago. A picture of the Cambridge Analytica boss appeared for obvious reasons on the news. She identified him as a former primary school classmate of mine and confirmed her suspicions when his name appeared on screen. I wouldn't have known him if he'd slapped me with a wet kipper.

          1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

            Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

            Aah we went to the same school, AC.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

              R u the man from the telly?

              1. defiler Silver badge

                Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

                Yeah - the Yellow Pages ads, remember?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

          "I know, but even that won't suffice."

          Don't be so sure. You didn't go to great lengths to change your appearance and so on. Imagine having a national government backing you up, not to mention probably placing you in a completely different and unrelated location. I'm reminded of the end of Goodfellas.

          1. 's water music Silver badge

            Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

            ...Imagine having a national government backing you up, not to mention probably placing you in a completely different and unrelated location...

            Yes, imagine a national government underwriting your personal data security. What could go wrong..? I'm not even going to bother putting anchor tags linking to all the obvious breach stories

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

            The authorities will provide everything needed for him to go undetected. The catch is that he won't be able to work in his old profession - too few encrypted VoIP experts. He probably won't even be able to work in IT either. So they'll find him a job managing a diner, or running an RV park, in some backwater, well off the beaten track.

            So safe, but boring as hell for the rest of your life.

            1. MrDamage

              Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

              I was going to suggest possibly working in an overseas US embassy, given his area of expertise, but then again, he flipped once due to the stress of the job, so that wold make him a security risk.

        3. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

          Even if it were impossible for them to find him, he would still freak out. At least he would freak out about his children's safety.

          If he really wanted to place a higher importance on his families safety over his own, his best bet is probably to hand himself over to the cartel. It won't end well for him, but it probably then would end with him.

          My job might not make me multimillionaire rich, but if provides a safe roof over my kids heads. Working for ultra violent people in return for tax free buckets of cash, by definition must place your family in harms way - When things go wrong, it's not like they'll reprimand you at HR or take you to arbitration and a severance package.

          1. cdrcat

            Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

            He could get paid to do the hit on himself and give the money to his family.

            Although presumably they often kill the family anyway as a warning to other narcs.

        4. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

          Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

          It tends to suffice, this is the kind of guy that the Marshals don't move to a place like San Diego, Phoenix, Vegas, Los Angeles or Albuquerque on an S visa. He's a sysadmin that ran part of the communications infrastructure of a multinational criminal organization, it won't be too hard to find him a job.

          Unless he does something on the more stupid end of the spectrum, like stay in touch with sketchy family members who are in the cartel or prone to being violently or non-violently influenced by them, he'll likely be fine somewhere like Cour d'Alene or Springfield, MA working for one of the Native American development corporations like on one of their non-classified government contracts so the USMS can keep tabs on him easier.

      3. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

        "He'll go into witness protection and be given a new ID, etc."

        Yes, he is now known as Ward Cleaver...

      4. Usermane

        Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

        Or not, the guy isn't a WASP , hence is a nobody for many "good guys" of the federal administration.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

      "Can't they bother to keep his identity private?"

      If they've revealed who did it in terms of function I think the cartels can work out the rest. It's a bit like all those people who post here saying "Anon cause otherwise they'll know it was me". Well they knew at the time and even if they forgot since they've just been reminded.

      The time to use a false identity is when you're working for the bad guys.

      1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

        He'll be safe. The wall we're going to build will keep the bad guys out.

        Seriously though, I hope they extended the offer of new identities and protection for his family and friends. These are not the kind of guys that forgive or forget.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi

          Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

          They are. When they get him he's forgiven, and his squealing would be forgotten.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Can't they bother to keep his identity private?

      The issue is "anonymous witnesses" in a trial - how could a jury believe their words? How could defendants challenge them? If you want a fair process, unluckily witnesses need to be known - even when the defendant is a violent drug lord.

      Anyway in any criminal organization when you know too much, and your not one of the bosses, you live in terror anyway. And with less protection.

    4. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

      Can't they bother to keep his identity private? As a form of appreciation?

      And when they have to explain the chain of evidence for how they obtained the call recordings? It seems Guzman was suspicious of the tech anyway.

      Working for very violent people only ends in 3 ways - prison, death, or witness protection. It doesn't end on a beach, with a yacht, and a supermodel. Sorry, but it just doesn't.

    5. panoptiq

      Re: The FBI paid him back in return for his services

      Yup! They are going to dismember him and hang his body off the side of a freeway. Winning!

  4. Ledswinger Silver badge

    Collateral damage

    Presumably the lesson that every cartel will pick up is to waste their techies before they can squeal. Whilst many may not shed any tears for people working for the cartels, it'll only make the job of law enforcement harder.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Collateral damage

      waste their techies before they can squeal.

      Hasn't the BOFH taught you something?

      Make yourself irreplaceable at your job.

      At least it would be impractical (the learning downtime of new recruits).

    2. john.jones.name

      Re: Collateral damage

      people operating in that sort of environment typically have some sort of dead man switch...

      if you trust a company then you will end up compromised, personal relationships are far more secure and well understood

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Collateral damage

        Not necessarily. Cheating hearts and two-timers, anyone? The thing about personal relationships is that there can be more than one at a time, as happened here.

        Plus, as noted, this doubling exploited an intractable weakness of security. Namely, doing it right is HARD, and you're caught in a bind, as you usually can't trust yourself, nor can you rely on anyone else.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Collateral damage

      "it'll only make the job of law enforcement harder."

      It'll make the cartels' job of recruiting techies harder, especially given that they'd need to recruit more of them.

      1. Garymrrsn

        Re: Collateral damage

        "It'll make the cartels' job of recruiting techies harder, especially given that they'd need to recruit more of them."

        I doubt that. The cartel looks for an IT person and informs them that they are hired. Their hiring practises are just as ruthless as their firing practises.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Collateral damage

      'waste' the techs before they can squeal - sounds like something out of a Bruce Willis movie...

      "fire sale" - everything goes. including the people who made it possible.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Collateral damage

        Actually, if I recall that Die Hard movie correctly, the bad guys did "waste" their unwitting hacker minions, once they had created their portion of the hacks required to pull off the "fire sale" depicted in the movie.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Collateral damage

          I watched that film a few weeks ago, you're right. It's the entire premise of why Willis is with that kid.

          ( Yes it's terrible but I was doing all the Die Hards for Christmas. No I couldn't be bothered watching the Russian one )

          1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
            Go

            Re: Collateral damage

            My favorite goofy part of that Die Hard movie was Bruce Willis hanging on to the fighter jet for dear life. That and the jet breaking all kinds of civilian and Uniform Code of Justice laws and I am sure mission parameters to fly around at street level trying to shoot up Bruce Willis' stolen semi.

            But hey, it looked good in the theaters, and I am sure that is what counts.

          2. Spike of Bayswater

            Re: Collateral damage

            I really don't think Christmas will have appreciated it

    5. MMR

      Re: Collateral damage

      "Whilst many may not shed any tears for people working for the cartels, it'll only make the job of law enforcement harder."

      Most people in Central and South America hardly have a choice.

      When they come knocking on your door and "offer" you a job what are you going to do? Turn them down or pack and leave? If you decide to leave where exactly are you going to go?

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Mushroom

        "If you decide to leave where exactly are you going to go?"

        The US border?

        1. Waseem Alkurdi

          Re: "If you decide to leave where exactly are you going to go?"

          And how are they going to reach the supposed safety of the US border?

          (There lies the real question)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "If you decide to leave where exactly are you going to go?"

            Its not exactly safety, the cartels have people who are either in or can get into the US to kill you too. Sicarios without Borders.

            However, this guy is resourceful enough to be able to make it to the US border on his own. Its not exactly rocket science. Thousands of people do it every day.

            While yes, there are traffickers that move people between Mexico and the US clandestinely which helps if you're barred from entering, and that is a very real thing I don't think he'd attempt to use one as a lot of them have Halcones (literally means "Falcons", they're the lookouts and scouts) for the cartels embedded with them, so they'd have him killed anyway, and probably not in a short way, they'd probably beat him to death or abandon him in the desert to die of exposure. These are the very same people who will cut holes in and dig under Mr. Trump's stupid wall.

    6. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Collateral damage

      As mentioned, in that sort of role, you'd have a dead man/woman switch. So if you don't appear again for a certain amount of time, all hell breaks lose. Then, you hope, the cartel won't bump you off. And if they do anyway, you can go to the grave knowing they've just fucked themselves up.

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Collateral damage

        Just, ensure they don't suspect it, or you death could be more painful than it could be...

  5. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    RIP Sysadmin

    Be a shame if somethin happened to him.

  6. JustWondering
    Happy

    Hmmm ...

    I'm guessing he isn't keeping his LinkedIn profile current.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm ...

      "I'm guessing he isn't keeping his LinkedIn profile current."

      From what I know of Linkedin, they will update his profile for him by notifying other members of the cartel with unsolicited emails asking them to connect with: {Rodriguez' new identity}

    2. colinb

      Re: Hmmm ...

      Or have 500+ connection requests, mainly hit men.

      But if they did connect they would annually receive a 'congratulate Cristian on x years in witness protection' emails

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for a CS + Law degree

    If he had been the cartels lawyer he could have refused to work for the cops and they would have been the ones in trouble with the law

  8. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
    Pint

    Tough, he made his choice.

    Nobody asked him to "squeal" on his old boss. You make your choices in life. The guy decided to go into IT, he decided to contract his services to some people with, erm, questionable ethics. These mob bosses aren't like you see in the movies, they get to the top like normal boses by being utterly ruthless. In the case of a mob boss, having your cronies tie some guy up and cut off his "belongings" while you watch and laugh as he's screaming in front of you, that proves you're "management material". Getting one of your henchman to go round, rape the girlfriend of an associate who's not pulling his weight to teach him a lesson to get it together. Violence is used just like you or I going to the toilet, it's just something that has to be done, can get a bit messy at times, a bit tedious but has to be done.

    So no, I have zero sympathy for the IT guy who set this system up, sold his services to scum of the earth drug lords and quite frankly, if this mob bosses' ex-henchman catch up with this sysadmin guy, I won't shed a tear for him. He helped some mob boss sell junk that's killing people, running sex slave rings and enforced prostitution, he helped people live serious horrible lives as either perps or victims. He made his choices and he'll have to live with them.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: Tough, he made his choice.

      "He made his choices and he'll have to live with them."

      Personally I think you're being a wee bit harsh on the fella.

      In order to prosecute people in organised crime, especially anyone more than a couple of levels above the street, you have to use informants. These people will not be nice people, and will have done bad things. In fact, often the more useful the informant, the scummier they are.

      So either we never prosecute a boss (or underboss, or even the guy running a crew on a corner), or we accept that we're going to forgive someone, in exchange for them testifying against the boss.

      Considering that (as far as I can tell) the tech didn't actually commit any other crimes, that's actually pretty good deal from societies point of view. In order to put other bosses in jail people have been forgiven for multiple homicides and multitudes of other heinous crimes.

      Going on the witness stand against "the butcher" takes some balls. Knowing that he's going to never be safe, and any family or friends he has also won't be safe is a hard task.

      In my experience most people (not just techs) are happy to turn a blind eye and take their pay cheque, without even the threat of violence. The amount of grief I've been given for making otherwise decent people have to follow the law* does make me worry about societies morals and ethics. Just because something has become the norm doesn't mean it's the correct thing to do. Just because you're being paid and someone said "don't worry, it's fine" doesn't mean it is.

      I'm sure there are plenty of techs out there who are taking dirty money, fully aware of what they are doing and not putting their bosses in jail. And dirty lawyers, accountants, bankers etc. Save you're ire for them. They won't be getting their names in the paper anytime soon either.

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

      * specifically money laundering. If it walks like a duck etc. When a payment should go A to B, but actually involves a myriad of loans and debt swaps via C through Q, then you can't just accept the client's word that it's kosher. I lasted six weeks before I got my contract terminated early, but they did cough up six months wages.

      1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

        Re: Tough, he made his choice.

        I'm sure there are plenty of techs out there who are taking dirty money, fully aware of what they are doing and not putting their bosses in jail.

        Absolutely, some people voluntarily work for Facebook.

        1. asdf Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Tough, he made his choice.

          Simply brilliant.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tough, he made his choice.

            *DXC

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Tough, he made his choice.

      "he decided to contract his services to some people with, erm, questionable ethics"

      Did he? Or did someone turn up at his door one day and tell him his options were to work for the boss, or an unmarked grave on the edge of town?

      1. A. Coatsworth

        Re: Tough, he made his choice.

        Absolutely, that's the "Plata o Plomo" policy, made (inj)famous by Pablo Escobar. Thanks to that, still to this day many small-aircraft pilots (to use but one example) end up burned to a crisp in the wreckage of their Cessnas, in the middle of the Central American jungles...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tough, he made his choice.

      > The guy decided to go into IT, he decided to contract his services to some people with, erm, questionable ethics.

      What makes you think drug lords introduce themselves with: "I am a kingpin drug lord and I'd like a secure comms system from you?"

      Did it not occur to you that they may just possibly have used an intermediary until he was in too deep to leave?

  9. JJKing Bronze badge
    Angel

    Who know what methods were used to hire him so he may not have had a choice that left him still alive? What would all the judgemental commentards above say to an offer you can't refuse?

    I want to know how much he was paid for his work. Looking for a short term gig so I can buy a jet.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      "I want to know how much he was paid for his work. Looking for a short term gig so I can buy a jet."

      I fear that the problem with these sort of clients is that while the pay might be very generous, there is no walking away from them. So a short term gig would involve a rather terminal termination.

      In the same way you shouldn't take on a gig were the money is too little, be very wary when the money is too much. If they're paying for more than just your skills, then you'd better know what they've also expected to purchase.

      On a lighter note, I've had plenty of clients who pay me once to fix something, and then pay me again to never mention it to anyone. Nothing dodgy, husbands who don't want admit to SWMBO* they've buggered the wifi up again, CXOs who couldn't figure out their new shiny, professors who can't use LaTeX, that sort of thing.

      * they always knew, one way or another.

      1. Nehmo

        "Can't quit" is a Hollywood concept

        Mexicans who are part of a drug cartel organization or work with a drug cartel organization can get fired easily. They can quit too. There are probably instances of certain people getting killed because they knew too much and wanted to leave, but it's not the norm. These organizations sometimes stop working with some subordinate Mexicans just because the subordinates are getting high too much.

  10. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

    What, no NDA? No NCC? They should fire (at) their lawyers!

    As usual, companies that pay their IT people too little and don't pamper them enough will end in trouble...

    Any CEO should watch this trial!

  11. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Why did he help the police?

    Did they have something on him or did he grow a conscience ?

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Ways out

      "Why did he help the police?"

      They offered him something the cartel could not. Which at a guess would be freedom, albeit in hiding, rather than early retirement.

      Maybe getting him and his family somewhere safe, so they can live out their lives in an extremely boring fashion. Like Rincewind, once life has shown you just how interesting it can be, sometimes being bored is the best thing possible.

      I would also guess that he was targeted by the cops, since turning a tech-for-hire is probably easier (and more palatable to a jury) than someone on the more "conventional" cartel management ladder. He probably was more in fear of the cartel than feeling like he was a part of it. So it's entirely possible that the cops let him make his own demands.

      I would expect that the Butcher's lawyers will at least make some allusions as to what the chap has been given, so the details of his deal might even make it into open court.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Evidence for working for organised crime - sounds like they had something on him, at least enough to convince him to co-operate.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Surely working for organised crime isn't a crime in itself. Otherwise the guy who mows El Chapo's lawn is fair game too.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Depends what kind of "grass" is growing there....

          Jokes aside, it depends if you're actively participating in commit crimes. Supporting them with encrypted comm, and knowing it makes you an accomplice.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Sometimes, working FOR organized crime involves working IN organized crime (meaning to work for them, you have to commit a crime). The lawn mower isn't committing a crime in and of itself, but then you have enforcers (assault & battery), hitmen (murder), and in this case a facilitator (aiding & abetting for starters).

    3. Mycho Silver badge

      My guess would be they argued that the bad guys would assume he was a grass anyway when they got caught in the end, so he had nothing to lose by becoming a real one.

  12. MJI Silver badge

    What if they had hired the BOFH?

    How long would his boss have lasted?

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: What if they had hired the BOFH?

      @Simon Travaglia

  13. Steve Crook

    irresponsible

    to publish a photo of the guy and put his life at risk. not only that, I see he looks a lot like the guy from "the it crowd" so I hope the register will be paying for a personal protection team for him as well.

    I would have typed this in upper case to emphasise my outrage, but the shift and caps lock keys are broken. But here are some !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Paul Herber

      Re: irresponsible

      This same guy is going round various cities looking for somewhere new to live, trying out some rather nice hotels as well, always seems to take a minder with him.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: irresponsible

      looks a lot like the guy from "the it crowd"

      Obviously, it is the guy from The IT Crowd! It's the only reasonable explanation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: irresponsible

        >It's the only reasonable explanation.

        Don't be silly! You've obviously been affected by the chemtrails again and had your thoughts amended by the aliens at Area 51..

      2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Well at least that soles the mystery

        of what Reynholm Industries does.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Well at least that soles the mystery

          Did he call 0118 999 881 999 119 7253?

        2. Lotaresco Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Well at least that soles the mystery

          "... soles the mystery"?

          Sounds like cobblers to me.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hopefully these events will be dramatised in Narcos: Mexico in some later series.

  15. steviebuk Silver badge

    This is why it's pointless putting in back doors

    "custom encryption system". So when the governments want to put in back doors for the likes of WhatApps, you'll just have terrorists etc creating their own encryption systems.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: This is why it's pointless putting in back doors

      Plenty of encryption algorithms out there (look for those that have been analysed by proper encryption experts and given a clean bill of health ... and re-check periodically in case things change, yesterdays "secure" system is today's flimsy tissue paper barrier (SHA-1 anyone?))

      If someone has sufficient skills they can do their own encryption

      Challenge is not to unwittingly introduce a flaw in your implementation so that it can be "easily" broken (a couple of examples, not an exhaustive list by any means)

      A bug where there is reduced entropy in the calculated values

      Implementation may work great, but code disassembly of user "app" / inspection of computer memory while app running / associated log files etc., reveals key information that could break it.

  16. steviebuk Silver badge

    What's the point...

    ....of being a billionaire drug lord when you're still "too busy"

    "I’m so busy. I didn’t even have time to breathe… I have a computer but, you know that I haven’t been able to open it? A Vaio… Do you remember the small Vaio?"

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: What's the point...

      Human nature.

      When one finds a $LC_MONETARY 10 note on the ground, one tends to look around for another.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Question

    What is the significance of moving the servers from Canada to the Netherlands?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question

      supposedly for search warrant protection, but international cops are on that these days.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Question

      Yeah, that bigged me too. I thought Canada was supoosed to be a really, really close ally of the US?

      Or was it just that the NSA etc already have waaay better knowledge of and taps into the NL comms infrastructure?

    3. Mephistro Silver badge

      Re: Question

      I guess it was just an excuse to create a new set of crypto keys, because for some reason the sysadmin lacked access to the old keys, which would make sense in the paranoid context of a criminal organisation.

    4. A.P. Veening

      Re: Question - Answer

      "What is the significance of moving the servers from Canada to the Netherlands?"

      Dutch wire tapping laws are a lot easier than Canadian.

      This story recently made the news (news papers) here in the Netherlands as well and this was given as one of the major reasons. Another is that the largest internet exchange outside of the US happens to be in Amsterdam.

      1. paulll

        Re: Question - Answer

        "Another is that the largest internet exchange outside of the US happens to be in Amsterdam."

        I don't think so... But the wire tapping laws prolly had a lot to do with it.

        I'da told El Chapo (in my best Speedy Gonzales voice), "y'know ...our traffic is transiting the US on its way to Canada. It's still encrypted, I'm not *worried* but, hmmmm, i feel like it's muy mal juju. If we move our servers to Europe all the traffic'll automatically go through Brazil and straight onto a transoceanic cable that the orange guy's people can't touch. Say! How about Holland, they're pretty drug-friendly anyway, as a man of your wisdom will be aware."

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get it right

    Calling a SYSADMIN an IT MANAGER ?

    Never read Dilbert?!

    Seriously, most IT Managers can't figure out a router much less a Network.

    I know, I keep refusing IM Positions because these guys are more interested

    in management jargon and Golf than going to CES or E3.

  19. Flakk Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Not a County

    Sinaloa is actually a state, not a county. Lovely area, especially if you keep to the smaller villages and stay the fsck out of Culiacán.

  20. Charles Calthrop
    Pint

    "The long one, that password that you place…is this the password? "

    "Yes, sir."

    "What a drag! It has symbols and things."

    We've all been there, every one of us.

  21. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Where he went wrong

    He sets up this very secure VOIP network. Why didn't he hand over the keys to the drug lord and tell him how to change them, and insist he do change the keys immediately. Now the encrypted calls can't be listened to by the cops, and more importantly can't be listened to by the sysadmin. Sysadmin therefore useless to the cops. Or maybe he tried that and drug lord wouldn't go for it because too much to remember etc.

    1. doublelayer

      Re: Where he went wrong

      Some possibilities:

      1. El Chapo didn't want to figure out how to generate keys.

      2. Admin wanted to have bargaining chips.

      3. Admin wanted to turn El Chapo into police.

      4. Admin didn't want to get into a situation where El Chapo has generated new keys and lost them, cannot access anything, and is getting mad. When El Chapo gets mad, people tend to die.

      5. Admin didn't want someone else to be able to steal keys, because there could be many informants. If you do want to participate in a criminal enterprise and not undermine it, you can only trust yourself and the leader, so it's best to make sure anything important is done by one of you.

      6. The admin did in fact do this, and reversed it in order to turn over the data.

      7. The admin wanted to have some indication to the cartel that he was providing useful services, and thus that he should not be shot.

  22. Nehmo

    The folly of not educating yourself in public/private keys

    So, the reason Guzman got caught was that he had to trust another person to do his encryption. He should have studied the subject while on his way up the drug kingpin ladder. Then he could have done the job himself.

    Let this be a lesson to you aspiring drug kingpins out there.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: The folly of not educating yourself in public/private keys

      Trouble is, doing it right is HARD, and when you're busy doing other, non-IT things, you're kinda in a dilemma being that you can't trust yourself nor anyone else to do it right.

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