FBI Seeks Google’s Help to Crack Alleged Pimp’s Android Phone

March 15, 2012

PCMag.com on March 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Damon Poeter

The FBI needs some help cracking the Android phone of an alleged pimp being investigated as part of a federal human trafficking investigation. Agents out of the FBI’s San Diego office seized one Dante Dears’ Samsung phone on Jan. 17, tried and failed to get past the device’s pattern lock , and have now applied for a warrant ordering Google to unlock it for them.

Dears is the convicted founder of a San Diego street gang called “Pimpin’ Hoes Daily.” After his release from state prison in January 2009, he allegedly fell in with his old set and the FBI secured a search warrant for his phone. In the affidavit filed on March 9 with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California, FBI agent Jonathon Cupina reveals that after seizing the device, FBI Regional Computer Forensics Lab (RCFL) technicians tried “multiple times” to get into the locked-down phone but couldn’t do it.

So where does Google come in? The RCFL techs’ attempts to get past the phone’s pattern lock triggered a memory lock on the device that can’t be unlocked without the user’s Gmail address and password. The feds want Google to divulge that information, plus “any and all means of gaining access” to the phone, including password reset info and the manufacturer default code, or PUK, “in order to obtain the complete contents of the memory” of the device.

Christopher Soghoian of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research first spotted the FBI warrant Wednesday. Posting on his Slight Paranoia blog, he wondered why the RCFL techs didn’t just “use commercially available forensics tools or widely documented hardware-hacking techniques” to get into Dears’ phone.

But the competency of the RCFL techs or their willingness to use possibly illegal hacking tools isn’t the primary concern of Soghoian and his commenters.

For one thing, Soghoian raises the issue of whether texts, voice mails, emails, or other communications arriving on the phone after it was seized could be used as incriminating evidence against Dears if the original search warrant didn’t also request the phone be used as a surveillance device.

Second, at the end of the warrant application, Cupina requests of the court that Dears (or any other subscriber using the phone—the suspect claims the phone isn’t his, according to Cupina, but the feds believe otherwise) not be told “by any means of communication” about the effort to collect the data on it. Either the court decided to disregard that request or somebody made a pretty big error in unsealing the record of the application for all the world to see and report about.

Of course, it would be somewhat baffling if Dears didn’t realize the FBI wanted to see what was on his phone when they seized it. Unfortunately for the feds, it’s possible he may have already taken steps to erase data accessed through the phone but stored in the cloud, like email.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Doug Whitman Arrested by the FBI and Charged with Allegedly Using Inside Information to Trade on Google and Other Companies

February 10, 2012

Courthouse News Service on February 10, 2012 released the following:

“FBI Nabs Exec for Illegal Google Trades

By BARBARA LEONARD

MANHATTAN (CN) – A hedge fund manager was indicted Friday for earning $900,000 by allegedly using inside information to trade on Google and other companies.
Doug Whitman, 54, of Atherton, Calif., has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and two counts of securities fraud.
He allegedly made $900,000 in illegal profits as head portfolio manager for Whitman Capital by trading on Marvell Technology Group, Polycom and Google.
Karl Motey, an independent research consultant, shared confidential information about Marvell with Whitman between 2007 through about 2009, according to the indictment.
“In exchange for the Inside Information, Whitman paid Motey through a soft dollar payment arrangement between Whitman Capital and Motey’s consulting firm,” prosecutors said in a press release.
Roomy Khan, a hedge fund industry insider, gave Whitman inside information about Polycom Google between 2006 and 2007, according to the indictment.
Whitman could face 50 years in prison and at least $5 million in fines if convicted of all the charges against him.
Motey and Khan previously pleaded guilty to insider-trading charges and are awaiting sentencing. ”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.