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Serious computer knowledge question

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Is it possible and how likely is it for hackers to break into an unknown person's computer and use it to dump pornography on it? Also, can a computer virus do that and in both cases would the person using the computer be aware of it?

    Here's why I ask.

    Working on a story where a local person is being investigated for possession of child porn. Cops seize his work and personal laptops along with a desktop at his house. Said it was full of kiddie porn. Guy still hasn't been charged with a crime, about five months later, and this is because, as near as I can tell, he's claiming that it wasn't his porn and that a hacker and or virus is to blame.

    I did some preliminary googling and as near as I can tell, it is possible for a virus to infect your computer with porn and some hackers have been known to store their porn on someone else's computer.

    The question becomes how likely is it for this to happen and, more importantly, how much it would suck if the guy's defense is true. His life has been pretty much ruined. He no longer is employed. It isn't clear if his wife is sticking with him and his legal bills have got to be getting bigger on a daily basis. Seems like once the cops ring the child porn bell, it can't be unrung.

    And, if it could happen to this guy, what's keeping it from happening to anyone else?
  2. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    If the guy didn't have proper security on his home computer, it's certainly possible, but it sounds pretty dubious as a defence. You can find out how often the files have been accessed and from where, so if he was looking at the stuff it'd be tough to hide.

    As far as this happening to other people, I guess there's always a chance but modern computers are pretty safe.
  3. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    Wow Buck, thanks for posting that story. Had no clue it was prevalent.
  4. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    As most of you know, I'm a bit of a computer nerd. About two years ago or so, I worked on my friend's mom's computer. She's a sweet, older lady - goes to church every Sunday, an active member of the church's women's group, wouldn't harm a fly, you get the idea.

    Her grandsons had been using her computer when they were visiting and got it infected with some porno malware. It was a b**** to remove, but I was able to clean her computer, update the virus/malware protection, and make the computer usable again.

    And then I read the riot act to the grandsons. In no uncertain terms.

    But there are forensic tests (don't know if the story linked refers to them, haven't read it) that can check to see if it's virus-related or not. So I would guess law enforcement investigating that case would be looking into that.
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