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NYPD Detective Accused of Hiring Email Hackers 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-it's-not-called-the-new-york-privacy-department dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Edwin Vargas, a detective with the New York City Police Department, was arrested on Tuesday for computer hacking crimes. According to the complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court, between March 2011 and October 2012, Vargas, an NYPD detective assigned to a precinct in the Bronx, hired an e-mail hacking service to obtain log-in credentials, such as the password and username, for certain e-mail accounts. In total, he purchased access to at least 43 personal e-mail accounts belonging to 30 different individuals, including at least 19 who are affiliated with the NYPD."
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NYPD Detective Accused of Hiring Email Hackers

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  • by blackicye (760472) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @05:13PM (#43797651)

    $50 - $250 for an NYPD Detective's email login and password? Ack!

  • by intermodal (534361) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @05:14PM (#43797653) Homepage Journal

    When I was hired as a fireman, one of the things my new chief told me was that when you accept that badge, people have a certain level of expectation for trustworthiness, and anything you do - illegal or not - will no longer be reported as "man" or "suspect" in the arena of public opinion, but now it becomes "fireman cut me off on the highway" or "Firefighter acts like a douchebag in grocery store". And then it reflects on all firemen, no matter how unfair that can be.

    This cop has just done the entire law enforcement profession a great disservice, but the public trust of law enforcement is wearing thin as it is at this point...

    • "This cop has just done the entire law enforcement profession a great disservice, but the public trust of law enforcement is wearing thin as it is at this point..."
      Oh come on, don't be silly. This cop hasn't done anything. The entire law enforcement profession can't be brought any lower in my eyes, because they are all scum. OK, so this cop did do something, he re-enforced a perfectly valid view point.

      ACAB.

      Now where's my damn, "post without karma bonus" check box?

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        OK, so this cop did do something, he re-enforced a perfectly valid view point.

        Valid? Ok, so stereotyping is good just as long as it is a negative stereotype about someone you don't like. Got it.

        Hate to break it to you, but painting all cops with the same brush is as bad as painting all "hackers" with the same brush or all Chinese people or all ... Yeah, some cops are douchebags. Not all of them are, despite your valid viewpoint otherwise.

        • He does raise an interesting point, though. As bad as the perception of law enforcement has become in the course of their duties, it's not helping matters to be doing these ones outside them.

          • by Obfuscant (592200)
            Your point was that it hurts the perception, and you are quite right.

            His point was that you can't hurt the perception because all cops are scum and that this global opinion is "valid". He's wrong. It's doing the same kind of thing that the media does to hackers when some script kiddy pulls a lameass stunt that makes the news, and we'd be right to complain that this was an invalid stereotype.

            If you want people to try to differentiate between the script kiddy destructive hacker and what we want to think of

            • On this, we agree. However, his impression does fit into a valid sampling of public opinion. Often, public opinion trumps reality when it comes to how well-received public servants and their cut of local, state, and federal budgets are, as well as in policymaking and in cases that reach trial involving, in this case, police officers.

              Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of cops, I'm friends with a lot of cops. I was on a sports team made up of over 50% cops. Great bunch of guys. But as long as people's expe

        • It's simple. In the vast majority of cases, bad cops are protected. By "good" cops. Ergo, the "good" cops aren't.

          This guy got done because he went against his team. If he had merely hacked (or paid someone to do so) some outsider's emails, then the NYPD would have slapped him on the wrist, and given him time off (with pay).

          We've seen this happen many other times before. Even if a "bad" cop kills someone, the "good" cops all circle the wagons. The fact is, "good" and "bad" when it comes to cops are unnecessa

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I'm offtopic here (wish the 'no bonus' buttons worked), but I just wanted to say that you fellows have my thanks. IMO you're the most important of all city employees, and I say that as the son of a retired lineman that worked for CWLP (the city owns the electric company here). I've had need of paramedics more than once and you fellows do great work. Thank you.

      And you're right about perception, one bad apple does spoil the whole barrel.

      • I feel like I'm getting a far more credit in these responses than I deserve. I merely wanted to communicate something my old chief said that resonated with me as an important fact about being in the public service, and by extension, the public eye. But thank you.

        On an unrelated note, I can't remember why I disabled my karma bonus, but I don't miss it. The setting to change your default is somewhere if you don't like using it.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          You're too modest. You guys have a hard job, mentally and physically. You save lives.

          As to the karma bonus, I don't want to permanently disable it, just when I have an offtopic comment to a single slashdotter, like giving you and your fellow firefighters a pat on the back.

          • I actually left the fire service four years ago with a hereditary medical issue after a bit over two years professional and several years volunteer service. Landed back in IT.

            My time serving definitely changed my view of what constitutes heroism though. The threshold seems to have become much lower than it once was, reserved for the Davy Crocketts and William Wallaces of the world. Now it seems to be applied to practically everyone in one way or another.

    • by ISoldat53 (977164)
      This hasn't changed my opinion of the NYPD at all.
    • by slick7 (1703596)
      To protect and serve, as the motto goes ; this is why all public servants must be held to a stricter code of ethics with harsher penetalties. It goes for police, judges, politicians. So much power and trust is given to them that to dishonor that trust should carry a very stiff fine: your pension, house, finances and freedom for a very long time.
    • by Seumas (6865)

      Yet, everyone says you're needlessly paranoid and delusional because you have concerns about your data and your privacy...

    • by alexo (9335)

      These are the people that most citizens depend on

      A good portion of the citizenry have already realized that the only difference between police and any other organized crime gang is that the former is backed by government while the later are viewed as competition. The others will catch up after they have their first interaction with the police.

      This view will not change until members of the force are at least as accountable [google.ca] as the average Joe.

  • Reality check (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @05:28PM (#43797779)

    From TFA:

    "Of all places, the police department is not a workplace where one should have to be concerned about an unscrupulous fellow employee." commented FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos.

    Hmm, let me fix that for you, Mr Venizelos:

    "Of all places, the police department is the workplace where one should be most concerned about an unscrupulous fellow employee."

    Glad I could help.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The two quotes (His and your "fixed" version) aren't incompatible at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by CanHasDIY (1672858)

        The two quotes (His and your "fixed" version) aren't incompatible at all.

        They are if you take context into consideration: FBI Ass. D.I.C. George V. was implying that police should never be considered suspect; OP was implying that police should always be considered suspect.

        Context -it fucking matters.

        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          They are if you take context into consideration: FBI Ass. D.I.C. George V. was implying that police should never be considered suspect;

          That's not what he said at all, if the quote was accurate. He said that the police department should be the last place you have to worry about this, as in, police shouldn't be doing this so you shouldn't have to consider them suspect. The IMPLICATION is that they DO it and you DO have to be worried. That's 180 degrees from your interpretation. "Shouldn't have to" is much much much different than "should never".

          • You're assuming that was said with noble intent; I'm assuming it was said with the Blue Code of Silence in mind. [wikipedia.org]

            Both of us are making an assumption, but I feel mine to be more accurate due to extensive history of bad cops covering for each other.

    • by libtek (902569)
      Great work. I wonder what all he found...
    • "Should have to be" is not the same as "should be". Saying "I should not have to be concerned about where my savings are" is not the same as saying "I shouldn't be concerned about where my savings are". I should be able to trust my financial adviser, I should also verify that he is doing what he is supposed to do.

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      Obviously the cops preventative security and vetting doesn't work as well as it should - thats what happens when you let individual towns run their own cops instead of the state.
    • by tnk1 (899206)

      Although I would tend to not be as cynical about it, I'd have to agree that if you did have a policeman who was unscrupulous or corrupt, it would be very much worth worrying about.

      Even if bad cops are a small percentage, those few can still cause a lot of damage, even for other cops.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      He was right. The workplace where one should have to be concerned about unscrupulous employees is the FBI, that don't have to pay anyone to have that info.
    • by waspleg (316038)

      Then it would be "us" vs "them". See, most law enforcement thinks they're above the law. Think Judge Dredd.

  • - I looked in that mailbox just now. There wasn't anything there.

    - I know how you feel.

    - Do you?

    - It's only human you'd want to come to the defense of your fellow countryman. Vargas, don't worry. Go right ahead and say anything you want to. Folks'll bear your natural prejudice in mind.

    - I saw that mailbox ten minutes ago, Captain. The mailbox was empty.

    - Yeah, maybe you didn't notice.

    - I opened it on my own tablet. I couldn't very well have failed to notice two thousand pirated MP3s.

    - Tell any
  • Which emails? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by godel_56 (1287256) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @06:03PM (#43798079)

    Where are were the hacked email accounts hosted?

    Were they on some dedicated police email server or were they webmail accounts (Gmail etc.)? How did the hackers get in so easily, apparently? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • I was surprised to see the choice of words "Hacking Service." Do you just go to the YellowPages or Google Hacking Services? ;-)

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