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Multiplayer could add so much more to interactive fiction than it does in Hidden Agenda.
"Stealing a smartphone is no longer worth the trouble."
"I intentionally forged court orders that allowed me to wiretap cellphones…"
Mariza Ruelas: "I feel like I won.

There's no misdemeanor.
I didn’t plea to nothing."
EnlargeMario Tama / Getty Images News reader comments 15 Share this story A New York state appellate court has restored the criminal conviction of an ex-Goldman Sachs programmer who was convicted of stealing trade secrets—high-frequency trading source code—before leaving his job in 2009. “It would be incongruous to allow a defendant to escape criminal liability merely because he made a digital copy of the misappropriated source code instead of printing it onto a piece of paper,” the panel said, according to Bloomberg. Sergey Aleynikov was convicted in federal court in 2010 on one count of stealing trade secrets and one count of transporting stolen property. He was released from prison when the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the conviction in 2012.

The appeals court wrote that Aleynikov did not steal anything physical when copying the source code because it was done over the Internet and did not violate the National Stolen Property Act. After that ruling, state charges were brought, this time under New York Penal Code § 165.07 Unlawful Use of Secret Scientific Material.

That legislation was written in 1967 and specifically refers to “a tangible reproduction.” Aleynikov was initially found guilty by a New York jury trial in May 2015. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. sent the case up to the Appellate Division, where the prosecutor lost the case in July 2015. Aleynikov, who was featured in the book Flash Boys, can now appeal further to the New York Court of Appeals, the court of last resort within the Empire State.
What a Shames A 21-year-old computer science student, who won a Programmer of the Year Award in high school, has admitted selling key-logging malware out of his college dorm room. On Friday, Zachary Shames, an undergraduate at James Madison University in Virginia, US, pleaded guilty in a federal district court to one count of aiding and abetting computer intrusions. His plea was accepted by Judge Liam O’Grady. In 2015, Shames made the JMU dean's list. Now he faces up to 10 years in the clink. According to the Eastern Virginia district attorney's office, Shames was responsible for developing and selling more than 3,000 copies of a key-logger program called Limitless Logger that was used to infect at least 16,000 machines. Shames went onto hacker forums to tout his $25 keystroke-logging spyware, which once installed on a victim's computer recorded passwords and other sensitive information.

The logged keypresses would be siphoned off to a website called limitlessproducts.org. Shames was eventually snared by FBI agents after selling his software from a PayPal account that was registered in his real name, according to court documents obtained by The Register.

That PayPal account was connected to an email address – hfmephobia@gmail.com – that answered support queries for the malware and was also the contact address for the domain name limitlessproducts.org.
Shames had registered that domain under his real name and home address, too. An ice hockey fan and one-time country club waiter, Shames built the software nasty while he was in high school, according to the DA's office. When he graduated from Langley High, in Fairfax, Virginia, he continued to develop and peddle his malware online from his JMU dorm room in Shenandoah Hall. According to his LinkedIn page, Shames, a 3.7 GPA student of Great Falls, Virginia, worked as an intern at Northrup Grummond from 2015 to August of last year, developing front-end website code and backend Java software and managing a MySQL database.
In 2014, he spent four months interning at Neustar, where he carried out various sysadmin tasks. His GitHub page shows he had worked on a bunch of JavaScript projects and Slack bots. In happier times ...
Spyware author Zach Shames "I am a Junior at James Madison University working towards a degree in Computer Science," the malware author boasts on his personal website. "I am really interested in developing cool new programs and I want to expand my skills to make me a more well-rounded programmer.
I have been programming for the past six years, and in my spare time I do freelance design jobs and coding for various programs/websites.
I am passionate about anything and everything internet and technology." Here's how passionate he was.

According to prosecutors, "Shames developed malicious software, known as a keylogger, that allowed users to steal sensitive information, such a passwords and banking credentials, from a victim’s computer. "Shames sold his keylogger to over 3,000 users who, in turn, used it to infect over 16,000 victim computers.
Shames developed the initial versions of his keylogger while attending high school in Northern Virginia, and continued to modify and market the illegal product from his college dorm room." The kid will be sentenced on June 16. ® Sponsored: Next gen cybersecurity.
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EnlargeLily Robotics reader comments 52 Share this story A San Francisco-based drone startup that raised $34 million in pre-orders folded on Thursday, the same day the company, Lily Robotics, was sued by the local district attorney in county court.

The city accuses Lily Robotics of engaging in false advertising and unlawful business practices. The company's story is reminiscent of the now-defunct Torquing Group, a Wales-based firm that raised $3.4 million (the largest European Kickstarter project to date) to build a drone called the Zano that ended up not going anywhere, either. In 2015, Lily Robotics released a slick YouTube promo video demonstrating its drone, calling it the world’s first “throw-and-shoot camera.” It received widespread, breathless coverage from various other media outlets, ranging from Wired to TechCrunch. Lily Robotics' founders were named on the “Forbes 30 under 30” list in 2015.

And in addition to its pre-orders, the startup took in $15 million in venture capital, according to CrunchBase.
As District Attorney George Gascón alleged in the civil complaint: Despite taking all of these prepaid orders, Lily Robotics has continued to delay shipment of the Lilys. When defendant began accepting preorders in May 2015, it told customers that the Lily Camera would ship in February 2016 or May 2016, depending on when the preorder was made.

Then, in December 2015, Lily Robotics delayed all shipments to “Summer 2016.” It delayed shipments again in August 2016; according to its notice, US customers would get their Lily Cameras in “December 2016 to January 2017,” while its non-US customers would get them sometime “later in 2017.” As of the writing of this Complaint, not a single unit has been shipped. In a Thursday statement, the company did not address what went wrong, only saying that it was “sad to see this adventure come to an end.” The startup did not respond to Ars’ request for comment. In addition to the lawsuit, a local judge in San Francisco granted the city’s request to impose restrictions on the company’s bank accounts, requiring that they only be used to pay employees and issue refunds. The two sides are set to appear before Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn on January 18.
♪ Stop your messin' around, better think of your future ♪ The transition team for US president-elect Donald Trump has announced that former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani will advise the incoming administration on how to secure America's digital infrastructure. We're told that the Donald may hold meetings with senior private industry executives with experience in online security. Giuliani will be in charge of organizing those confabs, based on his extensive experience in the infosec industry. "As the use of modern communications and technology has moved forward at unparalleled speed, the necessary defenses have lagged behind," the statement reads. "The president-elect recognizes that this needs immediate attention and input from private sector leaders to help the government plan to make us more secure. Mr Giuliani was asked to initiate this process because of his long and very successful government career in law enforcement and his now sixteen years of work providing security solutions in the private sector." Giuliani does have a long career in law enforcement as a lawyer in district attorney offices. After retiring as New York City mayor, he helped set up Giuliani Partners LLC, a management consulting and security business. While Giuliani was the front man for the operation, it's unclear what specific computer security knowledge he has. Certainly he didn't cover himself with glory on the security front as New York City's mayor. At the time of the September 11 attacks, Giuliani earned praise for walking the streets to reassure people, but there was a reason for this. Mayor Giuliani decided to put the city's emergency response center in the World Trade Center, against the advice of his security officials, who felt it was potentially a top terrorist target and wanted the center in Brooklyn. As a result, the center, in Building 7 at the WTC, was destroyed in the attacks. When you think about all of the top cybersecurity experts Trump could have picked, Giuliani looks like an odd choice. But then again, he has always been loyal to Trump, and the president-elect is a man who rewards his supporters. ® Sponsored: Want to know more about Privileged Access Management? Visit The Register's hub
County claims chap tried to infiltrate medical, social services Los Angeles wants to extradite a Nigerian man accused of swiping the passwords of more than 100 workers in 15 city and county departments via a phishing attack. The metropolis' prosecutors have obtained arrest warrants seeking the extradition of Austin Kelvin Onaghinor from Nigeria to face charges of identity theft and unauthorized access to a computer. The LA district attorney's office claimed on Friday that in May of this year, Onaghinor sent the emails to more than 1,000 of Los Angeles County's 120,000 employees. Of the 1,000, 108 of the emails tricked users into handing over their login credentials to city service portals. If convicted, Onaghinor could face up to 13 years in prison. The second-largest city in the US says that while it "thwarted" the attack, it is warning some residents that their personal information may have been exposed, and it's offering free identity protection services to the affected people. The notice, which will be mailed out to the affected citizens, warns that the exposed data includes "first and last name, date of birth, Social Security number (SSN), driver's license or state identification number, payment card information, bank account information, home address, phone number(s), and/or medical information, such as Medi-Cal or insurance carrier identification number, diagnosis, treatment history, or medical record number." "Due to the ongoing investigation by law enforcement, we were advised to delay notifying you of this incident until now, as public notice may have hindered their investigation," the notice reads. Those whose personal information was exposed will receive one free year of credit and identity monitoring services. The city says it will be improving its internal security and providing additional training to help employees spot and report phishing scams. ® Sponsored: Flash enters the mainstream.
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EnlargeDawn Endico reader comments 64 Share this story Police in Mountain View, California, told Ars on Tuesday that they are set to formally present the results of their months-long investigation of an online nude photo exchange of high school girls. The presentation will go to county prosecutors before the end of the year. “No arrests or charges filed yet in this case,” Katie Nelson, a spokeswoman for the Mountain View Police Department, told Ars by e-mail. “We are presenting the case to the [district attorney] by year's end, and they will ultimately decide what direction this goes.” As has happened in similar cases in other parts of the country for years now, ringleaders could be prosecuted with child pornography, among other felony charges. Over the weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle broke the story of the investigation. The newspaper reported that the investigation involves a “handful of individuals,” both male and female minors, who are believed to be at the “center of the investigation.” There were photos of at least two girls on a private Dropbox account that was circulated among some students at that school and others as well. The Dropbox account was immediately frozen by police, and no one has since been able to view, access, share, download, or upload anything. The San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday that the existence of the photos was a “relatively open secret among students” for months. It wasn’t until Monday that the Mountain View Los Altos school district formally acknowledged the investigation to families. In a joint letter by the district and the police, the agencies wrote: MVLA first learned of this incident in August and immediately referred the matter to the Mountain View Police Department. The police department, which has been meticulously investigating this case over the past few months, immediately disabled the Dropbox account when they began their investigation to prevent any further access. Additionally, Mountain View detectives instructed MVLA administrators to maintain confidentiality in order to ensure that no evidence was compromised. More than a year ago, a high school in nearby San Jose was hit with a similar scandal when a student was found to have been distributing nude photos of students via Instagram. As Ars reported previously, a 2014 Drexel University survey found that while the majority of teens sext with each other, an even higher percentage was unaware that engaging in such behavior could be prosecuted as child pornography. The National Conference of State Legislatures began tracking sexting legislation in 2009 and reported that at least 20 states and Guam have enacted bills to address youth sexting.
Enlarge / The fire at the 1300 block of 31st Ave., Oakland, California as seen late Friday evening and into the early hours of Saturday.@OaklandFireLive reader comments 2 Share this story Police and firefighters in Oakland, California are using surveillance tools like drones and DNA preservation, usually reserved for criminal investigations, to ascertain damage and identify victims from a deadly fire that broke out Friday night. The blaze engulfed a local warehouse, dubbed "Ghost Ship," which had been unofficially been converted to a music venue.

The structure fire is believed to be among the worst in the country in recent years. At a 3pm press conference on Sunday, Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said there had been 33 official deaths recorded, and he estimated that "35 to 40 percent" of the building has been searched, and was ongoing. "I want to assure you that we are continuing to operate a 24/7 operation to effectuate the removal [of victims' bodies]," Mayor Libby Schaaf said. "And we are supporting the families and loved ones." She also added that the county district attorney had activated its criminal investigation team—the building was not permitted for parties, and may have housed unauthorized residents. On Sunday, according to local reporters, the county coroner has asked families to preserve examples of their loved ones DNA so that they can compare against samples found in the rubble. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, which did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment, was seen on Saturday morning deploying at least one drone to examine remaining “hotspots” on the warehouse on 31st Ave. Drone from @ACSOSheriffs office checking for hotspots at #oaklandfire. 9 confirmed fatalities, as many as 25 unaccounted for. pic.twitter.com/5cfKsHvpzC — Christien Kafton (@CKaftonKTVU) December 3, 2016 As Ars has reported before, the ACSO has six drones that it often uses in conjunction with neighboring law enforcement and other first responder agencies. The Oakland Police Department has also been taking down license plates of cars parked nearby the venue at the time of the blaze as another way to identify victims. OPD did an area-wide search, gathered license plate numbers of parked cars trying to ID victims who drove to warehouse party #OaklandFire pic.twitter.com/t25vyfPwCH — Darwin BondGraham (@DarwinBondGraha) December 4, 2016 The OPD, which did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment, has an active license plate reader program—special devices mounted atop 33 police vehicles that can scan plates at very high speed.
In August 2015, the agency reduced the time that it retains such information, from an unlimited period to six months.
EnlargeCyrus Farivar reader comments 120 Share this story STOCKTON, Calif.—Last year, a retired Stockton police sergeant named Gabe Herrera was looking into the sale of unlicensed food. Working as an undercover investigator (“Robert Paine”) for the San Joaquin County District Attorney, Herrera joined a Facebook group called “209 Food Spot.” (209 refers to the area code in this part of central California.) In early 2015, the San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department had received complaints about unlicensed food being sold on 209 Food Spot. One person even said they got sick as a result.
So, the EHD, as a responsible county agency, decided to investigate. Unlike an unlicensed taco stand or another unlicensed food business that operates on the street and can easily be shut down, getting ahold of 209 Food Spot was trickier. Nearly everyone was cooking and selling from their own homes.

The EHD contacted multiple sellers directly, warning them that they did not have adequate permits.

But these warnings had little, if any, effect on the Facebook group.

The EHD stepped up its game by sending letters to some of the sellers.

Those warnings were ignored, too. By December 2015, Sgt. Herrera decided to go after six different women, chosen at random from 209 Food Spot. One of those women was Mariza Ruelas, a 37-year-old single mother of six children. Posing as Paine, Herrera went to Ruelas’ house, handed over $12, and walked away with 32oz of ceviche. (He did not respond to Ars’ request for comment.) Six months later, in June 2016, Ruelas and five other women received a court summons for their arraignment to face state-level misdemeanor criminal charges for operating a food facility without a valid permit and engaging in business without a permit to sell. None of them were amongst those who had received prior warnings from the EHD. The other five women were offered plea deals of a year of probation, 40 hours of community service, and $250 in fines.

They immediately accepted. Ruelas, by contrast, was initially offered three years probation and 80 hours of community service.
She was the only one who requested a lawyer and was provided a public defender. “I asked for representation because I felt that the punishment was a little harsh for the crime in question,” she told Ars over coffee following her November 17 hearing in county court. Not long after, the prosecutor then tacked on two additional counts: an alleged health and safety violation and an alleged tax violation.

According to court filings, by late July 2016, Ruelas had even moved to a new, secret Facebook group called “Taste of 209,” where she and others continued to sell food. “It would be negligent for our office to ignore it,” Supervising Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau said during a November 9 press conference in Stockton. “We did not send anybody out there to go hunt people down. We are not trying to prevent people from cooking or sharing or potlucks or anything like that.” In a press release, the DA’s office noted that the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 48 million persons get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne infection and illness in the US each year.” Ruelas has been assigned a December 2 trial date, and she faces additional charges for allegedly thwarting the law. Ruelas could face a maximum penalty of two years in prison, but District Attorney Kelly McDaniel has repeatedly said she is not seeking jail time. (According to the FBI, Stockton, a city of about 300,000 people approximately 80 miles east of San Francisco, has one of the highest rates of violent crime in California.) During the November 17 hearing, McDaniel told the court that her office had recently received and executed a search warrant for the contents of Ruelas’ Facebook account and messages she left on 209 Food Spot and other related groups.

The social network recently coughed up over 72,000 pages of Ruelas’ Facebook records.

The DA has since shared them with Benjamin Hall, Ruelas’ public defender, as part of the discovery process. Hall said he has had scant time to review them. Crime and punishment Since 2013, California has had a “cottage food” law, which formalizes the sale of some approved baked products, including breads, cookies, pastas, confections, and other items, to be sold locally (ceviche, which is made from raw fish that has been cured instead of cooked, is one of many items not on the approved list).

After passing a short training, home cooks are allowed to sell. David LeBeouf, a Stockton lawyer who has been involved in numerous food-related legal cases but is not representing Ruelas, said he had never heard of a case quite like this one. “This to me is the biggest waste of time and the people's energy,” he told Ars. “Tell her not to, and if she still does it and still does it after maybe the third time, then slap her hand.” He wondered how the law should treat ad hoc community food sales. “It’s like when schools or churches have a drive with tri-tip dinners, do they have to get permits or licenses? It happens once or twice a year, and they are clearly selling food on a small-time basis. How do you differentiate?” LeBeouf said if citizens want to buy unlicensed food off of Facebook, they should accept the risk. "Come on, man, leave the woman alone," he said. Since Ruelas lawyered up, McDaniel has since reduced the plea deal so that Ruelas would only have to do 80 hours of community service as part of a “plea in abeyance.” That arrangement would dismiss all her charges and sentencing as long as she does not break the law for a year after completing her community service. Ruelas would not have a criminal record at all. “We’re not throwing the book at her, we’re not throwing her in jail,” McDaniel told Ars, noting that as a prosecutor she could seek thousands of dollars in fines and at least a year of jail time. But Ruelas has refused to go along with this.
She argued that, while she and the other women on the Facebook group did take small amounts of money for their food, they weren’t actually doing much more than covering their costs. “Trying to run a business is not something we were doing,” Ruelas said, explaining that others were selling phở, lumpia, barbeque, cheesecake, and other items. She explained that oftentimes she would make large dinners for her family.
Sometimes, she would sell the leftovers, which were often Latin American dishes like pozole and ceviche.

By her own estimation, she was only selling a few times per month. “They got to eat, and I got my money back for what I put into it.

A lot of times I would post stuff and no one would comment,” she explained, meaning it wouldn’t sell. Your tax dollars at work Enlarge Cyrus Farivar Ruelas said that as someone who volunteers in her community and may seek more formal employment in the future, she doesn’t want a criminal record, even a brief one.

As of now, she noted, her primary source of income is government assistance. “I was willing to do community service, and the fine, but the misdemeanor, no, I didn't want that on my record,” she said. So Ruelas is continuing to fight.
She maintains that she did not actually violate the law. Meanwhile, the prosecutor doesn’t seem to be backing down anytime sooner, citing the rise of unlicensed food sales online. “It’s becoming a big issue, that’s why Environmental Health decided to go after it,” McDaniel said, explaining that if someone did get sick or even died as a result, county health inspectors would be considered derelict in their duty to protect the public. “They saw this growing, and their interest is always the public’s health and safety. When they see this volume of sales going on, and this risk to the community they feel they have to do something.

This Facebook group was growing exponentially very quickly.” Speaking to Ars by phone on Thursday, McDaniel seemed baffled that Ruelas had not simply accepted the plea deal—a deal that she still could accept all the way up until the trial. “Our interest is to resolve these cases.

Trials are expensive. We feel that we have given a really reasonable offer in this case,” McDaniel said. “A plea in abeyance is the best deal you can get around here, except for a dismissal.
It’s a pretty good deal!” Ruelas, for her part, said that she's no longer selling, but still loves to cook. “I’m not going to stop sharing my food with people that love it," she said. Ruelas’ next court date, set for November 23, is the final hearing prior to her December 2 trial.