Desperately seeking FaceBook nude photos poster

The teenage girl reportedly behind the posting of naked photos of St Kilda AFL football player Nick Riewoldt on her FaceBook page remains unrepentant and un-contactable. The teenage girl is believed to have taken a number of digital photos from the laptop of a fellow St Kilda player Sam Gilbert and then posted them on FaceBook. She has told reporters that she has further photos and will post them at a later time.

Lawyers representing the football players and St Kilda club have taken civil legal action to prevent the teenage girl and FaceBook publishing these photos. This has taken effect but the teenager has responded via other sites such as Ustream and also made tweets from her Twitter account that she won’t be bound by these restrictions.

As the teenager is thought to be interstate, the lawyers took the novel step of posting details of the Federal Court action on the Ustream site after she used it earlier in the day. The teenager claims that she had not been made aware of the action or restrictions in talks with journalists – whether the court will take a different view is another matter.

This raises the real issue of the differences between the online and offline worlds when parties are in dispute and enforcing legal actions or judgments on perpetrators or witnesses. The lawyers have also tried sending details of the court actions to her and her father’s email addresses – but proving that this made it through to the teenage girl will be very difficult.

The lawyers are unable to use the resources of the Police to track down the teenage girl as they have viewed the matter as a civil dispute and not a criminal event. It is not known whether or not they have engaged an investigator to find her whereabouts but that would be a smart move under such circumstances.

An experienced investigator should be able to identify her whereabouts and serve and court papers so as to take away the claim that she’s unaware of any actions. The usual response from a party once they have been located and served is to quickly reassess their situation and move to communicating with the lawyers directly – court papers have a sobering effect on most people.

Whatever the result in court over the next few days and the effectiveness of the restrictions on publishing the photos, terrible damage has already been done to the AFL code and St Kilda in particular. Locating and communicating directly with an aggrieved party is an effective tool in dealing with sensitive matters that are best handled passively rather than online in the glare of the media.

Do you need to know more about our services and how Regents can assist you with investigations? Simply go to our Contact Us page for our phone numbers or else send an email to contactus@regentsriskadvisory.com with your contact details and we will respond at once.

Discarding computer hard drives can be dangerous

During a computer upgrade or computer replacement, many are tempted to toss the old hard drive on the curbside, sell them on eBay or else donate them to a local school or charity group. But if the data contained on those old drives has not been properly erased before discarding, it might be safer to smash them with a hammer.

If proper steps are not taken to sanitize the data on the hard drives, the data could end up in the wrong hands and lead to numerous damaging events including industrial espionage, cyber attack, identity theft, embarrassing leaks of information [think Wikileaks] or else contravention of sensitive data laws such as patient privacy or stock exchange disclosures.

There have been numerous studies by University IT departments whereby they buy discarded hard drives online, pick them from the trash or else find them up at garage sales or used computer stores. These drives are then examined using computer forensic tools to ascertain what data is still contained on these old hard drives.

The results in the past have been startling. Old files located on the hard drives have included credit card information, personal medical details, business plans with trade secrets, personal finance calculations and business emails. One hard drive was found to have been taken from a bank ATM and contained details of thousands of banking transaction!

A notable pioneer of this process has been Simson Garfinkel, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Research on Computation and Society at Harvard University. Garfinkel, a computer forensic expert, has been obtaining old hard drives since 1998 and examining them for residual information since 1998.

Garfinkel has followed up by contacting some of the organisations and inquiring as to how their data came to be left on these discarded hard drives. One organisation revealed that they had a upgraded some hundreds of computers and had let go of the old drives to be sold as spare parts. They had mistakenly assumed / presumed that the contractor would take steps to sanitize the data for them.

Another issue has been that employees weren’t properly trained or directed in data destruction techniques
. Therefore, the employees overseeing the disposal of hard drives had no guide lines as how to act or steps to take to completely delete the data held on the old hard drive. The disposal of hard drive issue is just one example of why organizations need to formalize and audit their security controls. Organizations need to understand these issues and track their data flows from beginning to end so as to preserve their security.

Data protection and security can be enhanced by following these useful tips:

  • Have the IT and Security departments formulate a suitable approach to data handling and data destruction
  • Incorporate these steps and approaches in a set of guidelines and instructions for all IT personnel and other employees to adhere to
  • Set up an audit trail tracking all hardware containing data as well as data moving across network boundaries
  • Make the general employees and management aware of data protection and the issue of leaks – apply this to mobile devices including laptops, iPhones and smart phones
  • Regularly review these guidelines and instructions along with spot checks to ensure that they are being understood and followed

Do you need to know more about our services and how Regents can assist you with preventing information loss and securing your computer network? Simply go to our Computer Forensics page for our phone numbers or else send an email to contactus@regentsriskadvisory.com with your contact details and we will respond at once.

Counterfeit eggs? Faberge eggs that is

We are all familiar with the news that products are counterfeited by gangs around the world; clothes, perfumes, DVDs and pharmaceuticals are the most common targets. However, recent seizures in France indicate that an enterprising group has been busy counterfeiting Faberge eggs.

Faberge eggs were made by artisan jeweler Peter Carl Faberge containing jewels, enamel and precious metals at the behest of Russian Emperors Alexander III and Nicolas II. The Faberge eggs were given to the wives of the Emperors as presents for Easter. Each egg was individual and the product of years of craftsmanship.

According to Faberge, there are only forty two genuine eggs in existence today. So in December 2010, it was skeptical French customs officers who examined a consignment of 354 supposedly Faberge eggs being imported from Russia. Though the eggs appeared to be of good quality and had a stamp on the boxes showing a two-headed eagle, the symbol of the imperial crown of Russia, it was hard to believe that the eggs were genuine.

It is believed that the eggs were intended for sale in the markets and stores of Paris either as an alternative item for small time collectors or else trying to pass off as the genuine article. Faberge produced many other previous items such as trinkets, picture frames and medallions which are often counterfeited and sold to unsuspecting members of the public [see the site KFaberge].

In 2000, a Faberge aficionado found that his ‘£10m egg’ was actually a fake after he lent it to a museum and it sustained some damage. The egg was in fact a copy, worth around £100,000, roughly twice its original price at auction. The collector bought the copy the egg at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva in 1991for just £52,000, apparently unaware at what a bargain he was getting if his egg was real.

Counterfeiting of branded items is considered a growing threat to European manufacturers who justify their higher prices by the investment in the brand. Officials report that Internet commerce has boosted counterfeiting as buyers are willing to shop around for an alternative to the high street stores. French customs officials have revealed from their records that in 1994 only 200,000 counterfeit articles were seized compared to over 7 million items seized in 2009.

Do you need to know more about our services and how Regents can assist you with Intellectual Property issues? Simply go to our Intellectual Property page or else send an email to contactus@regentsriskadvisory.com with your contact details and we will respond at once.

Police use FaceBook to serve intervention order on people they can’t find

Australian Police have taken the unusual step of serving an intervention order via social networking site FaceBook. The order seeks to ban the accused cyber-stalker from bullying, threatening or intimidating another internet user.

In the Australian first, the Police Constable had a video shot of him reading out the interim intervention order to the accused person, as if he was directly speaking to the individual and then made to serve the order.

The order, with an explanation plus contact details for the Police and the Court were typed up and sent in private messages to the person’s FaceBook account.

The complaint arose after a woman claimed that her former boyfriend had harassed and bullied her via their FaceBook accounts. The woman felt intimidated and made a report to the Police.

The boyfriend had been the subject of an earlier intervention order but this had lapsed when the woman was re-contacted by her former boyfriend via her FaceBook account. The Police sought to physically locate the boyfriend but could not find him at his last known address or place of work. Efforts to track him via his FaceBook account indicated he was in Australia.

This new and innovative approach to serving the intervention order was upheld by a magistrate despite the former boyfriend not attending court in person. The order also required the former boyfriend to remove his FaceBook profile.

However, initially the Police could not be certain that the boyfriend had read the private messages though it was confirmed that the video had not been viewed. When the Police did manage to locate the boyfriend he confirmed he had read the FaceBook messages.

The Police expect having to use the internet and social networking sites to locate, contact and warn offenders in the future especially when the offence has been committed online.

Do you need to know more about our services and how Regents can assist you with investigations? Simply go to our Contact Us page for our phone numbers or else send an email to contactus@regentsriskadvisory.com with your contact details and we will respond at once.

More employees terminated for FaceBook postings

The divide between work place responsibilities and private time has become further blurred as employees’ FaceBook and other online postings are being monitored by their bosses. The number of terminations of employees for their inappropriate postings is expected to grow as more teenagers who have grown up on social networking move into the workforce. They have different views on what can be texted and posted in public.

Some of these employee terminations have been highlighted in the media after the terminated employee has contested the decision at employment tribunals. However, most of the decisions have gone against the employees, including:

  • A barman who was on two days sick leave over New Year posted photos of himself celebrating the New Year with friends. The boss saw the photos online and terminated him despite the barman having a medical certificate
  • A new clerical employee griping that the work was dull and mundane. A supervisor spotted the online comments on FaceBook and she was terminated

These incidents suggest that employers are beginning to pay serious attention to what their employees do and write online. A study by Proofpoint, an Internet security firm in the US, found that 17 percent of medium to large size companies in the US reported having issues with employee’s use of social media. 8 percent of these companies reported having terminated employees for their online behaviour on sites such as FaceBook and LinkedIn.

Other findings of note from the study showed that:

  • 15 percent of surveyed companies have disciplined an employee for violating multimedia sharing / posting policies
  • 13 percent of surveyed US companies investigated an exposure event involving mobile or Web-based short message services
  • 17 percent of surveyed companies disciplined an employee for violating blog or message board policies

With the advent of sites such as Wikileaks exposing thousands of confidential messages between US diplomats, we have to recognise that there is a possibility that sometime in the future our own emails, reports, photos or postings may become public. In an effort to avoid an embarrassing or career jarring incident, it is advisable to:

  • Be aware that any messages or reports created during worktime is behind the corporate firewall and there’s a good chance that anything you do write is being logged or monitored
  • Keep your comments general and do not divulge any corporate information or personal likes / dislikes which you wouldn’t discuss openly at work
  • Remember that others may retweet your comments or post photos without your knowledge [or permission] so keep the common sense flowing when you post.

Are you seeking assistance with an Employee Misconduct matter or computer misuse problem? If so, we at Regents can help you – just visit our Employee Misconduct Webpage for further information

NSW MPs or staffers viewing porn on parliament computers

Police may be instructed to investigate reports New South Wales Members of Parliament or their staffers over allegations that they viewed websites containing sexually explicit images of young people.

The allegations were contained in an independent report undertaken by consultancy firm Ernst & Young. The report was requested in September 2010 after accusations were made based on an unofficial audit of computers used by Members of Parliament and their staffers.

The audit was undertaken by the Department of Parliamentary Services and found that certain computers used by Members of Parliament had tens of thousands of hits on pornographic and gambling websites.

The audit was conducted using forensic software to determine the IP addresses of websites visited. Further analysis was made to ascertain what images were viewed or downloaded plus the time spent on each site. The data was contained in web surfing histories known as DAT files which are automatically saved on the personal computers and on back-up tapes. Further searches were made of the internet activity monitoring software installed on the gateway servers to cross reference the activity.

Earlier in 2010 following the first audit, Labor government Ports Minister Paul McLeay was fired by Premier Kristina Keneally after he admitted that he had been accessing online adult pornography and gaming sites whilst he served as a minister and as a backbencher.

The Ernst & Young report reported that nearly half of the 72 most-used websites on parliamentary computers during a 10-month period “appear to be adult-related sites”. Nine of these websites were found to contain sexually explicit images of young people. The age of those pictured in these images may be under 16 though that is the subject of further investigations.

Do you need to know more about our services and how Regents can assist you with computer forensics and data recovery? Simply go to our Contact Us page for our phone numbers or else send an email to contactus@regentsriskadvisory.com with your contact details and we will respond at once.

Chartwell boss to plead guilty to Ponzi fraud scheme

The man behind Australia’s largest Ponzi scheme has indicated that he will plead guilty to over forty separate charges in the Supreme Court despite earlier insisting he was innocent and would contest the charges.
The flameout which became Chartwell Enterprises was operated by 66 year old Graeme Hoy of Victoria. Hoy managed to convince small investors to pour their savings into his business by offering stunning returns upwards of 50%. Investors are estimated to have lost over $80 million after the collapse in April 2008 with hundreds of them living in Geelong.

Hoy had been arraigned for trial in 2011 on more than 200 charges but instead agreed to plead guilty to forty seven counts regarding the collapse of Chartwell Enterprises in April 2008.

The investors funds that were passed to Chartwell Enterprises were used to either pay the high rate of return to the earlier investors or else funded the lavish lifestyle of Hoy.  Hoy once flaunted his facade of wealth and supposed business acumen in Geelong by driving Rolls Royce cars, sailing a yacht and buying luxury homes. Hoy also operated a failed hospitality business named Black Swan Holdings.

Once Chartwell Enterprises failed and he was suspected of fraud, Hoy moved away from Geelong to nearby Melbourne. Liquidators of Chartwell Enterprises soon found that there was little in the way of assets as Hoy had burned through the money living his flamboyant lifestyle.

Incredibly, Hoy has been able to avoid prison so far as negotiations were held between his legal team and prosecutors. Now that Hoy is set to plead guilty to fraud charges, many of the fleeced investors will be hoping he will service a lengthy prison service.

Hoy has avoided being seen Geelong, claiming that he fears retribution from aggrieved investors. However, Justice Terry Forrest has ordered Hoy to return to Geelong for his plea hearing and sentence.

The prospect of Hoy going to prison will be little solace for investors who are unlikely to ever get a penny back. Fred Houte and his family lost more than $5m in the Ponzi fraud.

It will be interesting to see what sentence Hoy receives and how this compares with a sentence for a similar crime in the US, where white collar crime is viewed as requiring severe punishment. Will Australia start to follow the US lead and put white collar crime on the same level as armed robbery?

Do you need to know more about our services and how Regents can assist you with preventing fraud and money laundering? Simply go to our Contact Us page for our phone numbers or else send an email to contactus@regentsriskadvisory.com with your contact details and we will respond at once.