Law and Order : Access Nation

The story started with the murder of a psychologist. Evidences have shown that the killer had access to private information owned by the victim. This led the investigators to the company Access Nation, which apparently sold the information to the killer. Access Nation is a company that sells information about its clients. High-tech spies to make it simpler. The prosecutors should prove to the court that the company Access Nation is just as liable for the psychologist’s death as the killer.

Well, the film had some situations which, in my point of view, are really plausible. There was this part wherein the investigators consulted a techie girl-slash-hacker who easily cracked the password of the password-protected MS Word document. She even said that she can easily crack anything. Yes, cracking a password is plausible. There are even different ways to do it. Social engineering, wiretapping, keystroke logging, login spoofing, dumpster diving, phishing, shoulder surfing, timing attack, acoustic cryptanalysis, guessing, dictionary attack, brute force attack and using a Trojan Horse or virus are some of them. I also did a little research on this, specifically on cracking MS Word documents that are password protected. I found out that there are a lot, I mean A LOT of Word password recovery tools available over the net. You just have use Google or your favorite search engine and type something like ‘download word file password crack’ or something similar to that and you’ll have access to the various cracking tools, which most of them, by the way, are for free. It’s just so funny that the investigators were so amazed with what the girl did. If only they knew how easy it was.

Another part of the film, which I think was plausible, was the issue about the chat room postings that were monitored and collected. Chatting on the internet or posting stuff in forums is a public activity. These are archived and readily searchable by the public, especially UseNet users. According to the article that I have read, a knowledgeable information collector can identify a great deal of information from these.

I also found the part of the story wherein the computer activities of the victim were monitored plausible. There are a lot of computer monitoring programs that are available which could record practically every activity on a computer. Chat and IM conversations, pictures, visited websites, even keystrokes! The records of which could be stored locally, in the computer that is being monitored, or it could be transmitted elsewhere. I’m just not sure if a worm could do that. Probably a trackware? Or a spyware perhaps?

Indeed, the internet is really vulnerable to malicious snoopies and information diggers. Privacy in the physical world should also apply in the cyber world, but apparently, it’s still a far cry from reality. Who wants to have their life digitally tracked anyway? No one. No one wants their privacy to be invaded because it’s their right as a person. According to the film, information obtained through companies such as Access Nation could be helpful in chasing drug deals and other crime related stuff. But are we 100% sure that it is only used for those things? No. Some people abuse it. Going back to the film, private information fell into the hands of the criminal, which caused the psychologist’s death. To end this, let me quote something that I read in an article about online privacy. “A lot of people think about privacy but don’t really care until something happens to them personally. It’s like freedom. You don’t appreciate it until it’s gone.”

References:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3078835/

http://www.tv.com/law-and-order/access-nation/episode/121560/summary.html

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_worm

www.boxnetworks.net/ns/ns_virus_iframe.htm

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password_cracking

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