Justifying Video Game Piracy – The Backup Defense

Posted By: Ryan Rempp

controllerThe video game emulator community has a second argument to justify downloading copies of video games. They argue that as long as the downloader has a legal copy of the game, it is not illegal to download a backup copy. Unfortunately, that argument does not work. In fact, obtaining a digital copy of a video game is a tricky legal issue.

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Cheat Engine – Cheating might be wrong, but it’s not illegal

Posted by: Ryan Rempp

controllerThe creator of Cheat Engine received a letter from a group of video game developers. The letter said that he was infringing on their copyrights. However, looking at previous court cases, the Cheat Engine program should be perfectly legal. The real legal problem lies with the cheats that users were creating and sharing.

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How Far Should Companies Go to Protect Personal Data?

Posted by: Chase Millea

April 20, 2015

youtube-logo-300x204 internet-computer-securityAs nearly every analog form of communication transfers to a digital format, we input our personal data (e.g. credit card numbers, contact information) on a host of devices in an even greater number of settings. Do employers, retailers, and other users of the Internet have duties to protect personal information? In light of recent data breaches (including Target and Sony), many consumers are rightfully concerned that existing protections are insufficient.

Many states and the federal government are actively trying to combat breaches of personal privacy. For example, a U.S. House of Representatives bill seeks to improve responses to a data breach, including enhancing notice requirements for those whose data was compromised.

Interestingly, the bill also seeks to preempt state laws on the topic. If the proposed legislation becomes law, states would be prohibited form enacting supplemental legislation, which some argue would place consumers at similar or greater risk. In any event, companies have a strong incentive to ensure adequate privacy protections for employees and customers alike. Continue reading

The Illegality of DDoS

Posted by: Bryan Zhao

April 19, 2015

Denial-of-service_attackHave you ever wondered why certain websites, despite being backed by companies with a seemingly endless budget, can slow to a halt or even seemingly disappear for hours, days, or even longer at a time? While sometimes the crash in access is caused by innocuous sources, such as maintenance, hardware malfunction, or errors, there are other occasions when the reason for the crash could be much more malicious action: DDoS. While many readers may have heard of the term or even know what a DDoS consists of as well as the fact that performing a DDoS attack may lead to criminal liability, they most likely have never researched why that is so. Additionally, they may not know Continue reading

Exploring the Deep Web

Posted by Shemmyla Green

April 19, 2015


Deep WebWe are living in a menacing world today where our every move is tracked and our most personal and valuable information is copied and stored. Our phones track our locations. Our credit card transactions track our purchases. Our Internet searches track our interest and inquiries. Every technological device we own is storing data about us, not to mention all of the additional voluntary information we give up on social media. This information is available to those that are tech savvy enough to access it. Some groups have a vested interest in this information e.g., big business, terrorists and especially the Government. As cliché as it may sound, “Big Brother Is Watching You.” For this very reason, many people are taking to Deep Web to become anonymous in their Internet activities. But is the Deep Web truly anonymous? Continue reading

Cyberspace Crime, War Crime and ISIS

Posted by: Shemmyla Green

April 19, 2015


Cyber Caliphate – ISIS

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has been committing large-scale war crimes and crimes against humanity in the areas under its control, in Syria and Iraq. Now this group wants to add hacking to its “rule of terror” portfolio, which includes massacres, beheadings, sexual enslavement and forced pregnancy. Isis has been recruiting hackers for some time now. Some are virtual collaborators from a distance, but others have been recruited to emigrate to Syria,” said JM Berger, co-author of Isis: The State of Terror. Continue reading

Lessons of the Silk Road

Posted by: Marcus Beecher

April 15, 2015


Silk_Road_SeizedOn February 4, 2015, a jury in the Southern District of New York found Ross Ulbricht guilty for his creation of and involvement in the hidden website Silk Road. Ulbricht was convicted on seven counts ranging from narcotics distribution to criminal enterprise to computer hacking. He will be sentenced in May, and could – per the maximum statutory sentences on his charges – face life in prison.

What did he do? Well, according to a press release posted by the FBI’s New York Field Office, Silk Road “emerged as the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet” and it was created, owned, and operated by Ulbricht. The press release further indicates that Ulbricht specifically intended to operate Silk Road anonymously, and allow for all transactions on the website to be conducted anonymously as well. He attempted to do so by using Tor – “a special network of computers on the Internet, distributed around the world, designed to conceal the true IP addresses of the computers on the network” – and a payment system based on Bitcoin. Continue reading

SPAM, Bots, and Malware. Oh my!

Posted By: Jonathon Sanchez


Anyone who uses email knows about spam emails, and in 2010, there was an estimated 200 billion pieces of spam sent per day. However, recently, there seems to be an unexplained precipitous drop in spam. The one question that I have always had, as a person who was raised on technology, who actually falls for spam emails?

A University of San Diego and International Computer Institute joint research found that spam is big business. The researchers estimated that they could have made $7,000 per day. They ran a fake pharmaceutical website that mirrored a legitimate website. The faux-website asked for financial information and then told the user there was an error to try again. The actual hit rate was about .0127 percent of people who received the solicitation actually fell for the trick – since there is little limitation on how many e-mails can be sent out – the potential for big profits remain Continue reading

Aaron Swartz’s Alleged Conduct and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Posted By: Tammy Thibodeau


AaronSwartzIndictment_Page_01In Aaron Swartz’s superseding indictment the government alleged Swartz, accessed JSTOR and the MIT network “without authorization.” (United States v. Aaron Swartz, Crim. No. 11-CR-10260-NMG, 3, Sept. 12, 2012). Swartz had accessed the MIT network (and computers) four times “without authorization” after being blocked in three separate incidents. (Id.). Further, JSTOR’s software configuration enables computerized measures to block automated downloads of large amounts of articles. (Id. at 2). All of Swartz’s conduct violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) under both definitions of access; “exceeds authorized access” and “without authorization.” (18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(6) (2008)). Continue reading