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FBI Seizes Server Providing Anonymous Remailer Service 355

sunbird writes "At 16:00 ET on April 18, federal agents seized a server located in a New York colocation facility shared by May First / People Link and The server was operated by the European Counter Network ("ECN"), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe. The server was seized as a part of the investigation into bomb threats sent via the Mixmaster anonymous remailer received by the University of Pittsburgh that were previously discussed on Slashdot. As a result of the seizure, hundreds of unrelated people and organizations have been disrupted."
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FBI Seizes Server Providing Anonymous Remailer Service

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  • What does this help? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @06:03PM (#39739571)

    Unless the server was keeping logs, and I presume that it wasn't, how could seizing it possibly help the investigation?

  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @06:03PM (#39739575) Journal

    Or did they just kick over all the racks and rip everything out like they seem to do on a regular basis?

  • nonsense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @06:05PM (#39739597) Homepage Journal

    More importantly: Unless the server operator was a total dofus, this brings them exactly zero steps towards resolving their problem, because this is exactly the kind of attack that Mixmasters was designed to withstand.

    Idiots. Is nobody teaching these fools basics about the stuff they encounter?

  • by n5vb ( 587569 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @06:15PM (#39739725)

    ..and the FBI seizes the server they used?

    Anyone else think this is more believable as a denial of service attack, or as a pretext for taking down a troublesome server they couldn't legally seize by any other means, than as an actual threat?

    Unless the person sending them was stupid enough to think that a remailer would protect them from ever being caught, and didn't care that it was going to mean taking down the whole service for everyone else using it..

  • by msaroff ( 468853 ) < minus pi> on Thursday April 19, 2012 @06:17PM (#39739741)

    Someone bosts a gazillion bomb threats, and computers associated with OWS and other protests get seized.

    Awfully convenient.

    Any guess as to whether the bomb threats can be traced back th Langley or Ft. Meade?

  • They had a warrant. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @06:26PM (#39739867)

    They followed proper constitutional procedure (for a change). So blame the judge not the fbi.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @06:27PM (#39739877)

    Given the choice, I think I'd rather deal with the occasional bomb threat than not be able to speak anonymously.

    Give me liberty or give me death.
    There: Translated that for you.
    Also: I rather die on my feet then live on my knees.

  • Re:nonsense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Em Adespoton ( 792954 ) <> on Thursday April 19, 2012 @06:36PM (#39739993) Homepage Journal

    Have you ever done data forensics? The first thing you learn is that it's not the same data if it's not on the original storage medium.

    Of course, what they SHOULD be able to do is shut the server down, clone the drive, pull the drive that has the warrant, and drop in the cloned drive. Of course, this requires cooperation with the victim, which obviously wasn't available in this case.

    To put it another way: they weren't after the hardware OR the data, they were after the incriminating evidence. Data by itself is hearsay (no way to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was preserved in the same state and context).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @06:42PM (#39740057)

    Citation please (not tryging to be a troll, I'm genuinely interested).

    Either they made a copy of the content of the ram (smart), they tryed a cold boot attack (in which case this is the first time I hear of law enforcement doing this) or they are technically illiterate.

  • by DdJ ( 10790 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @07:12PM (#39740375) Homepage Journal

    FYI, we're not dealing with "the occasional bomb threat" here.

    The University of Pittsburgh (which is down the street from where I work) has gotten multiple bomb threats per day every day for weeks now.

    Many students have been driven out of their dorms, to live off campus, because the evacuations were too disruptive. The campus police are no doubt way over budget. Classes are disrupted to the point where folks on academic probation were told this semester "doesn't count".

    At this moment, as I type this, two buildings have evacuation notices. Earlier today, eleven buildings had to be evacuated.

    And today was not exceptional.

    If you want to follow this yourselves, evacuation notices go out over the @PittTweet twitter account.

    Now, I'm not trying to say "knocking every anonymous remailer off the internet is justified". Please don't assume I think that. I'm just pointing out that this very much isn't a case of "the occasional bomb threat". It's basically a full-on ongoing multi-day denial-of-service attack on the Pitt police, Pittsburgh police, and a bunch of the university, happening in meatspace.

  • by evil_aaronm ( 671521 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @07:19PM (#39740441)
    Who needs legislation when the Pres has Executive Orders and legal council that will parse those orders 10 ways cubed to justify, if not make it look like the very definition of the "American Ideal" when, in fact, he's shitting on the Constitution? Remember "water boarding"? Was there any legislation for that? How about "extraordinary rendition"? "Free speech zones"?
  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @08:04PM (#39740871)

    You know, we took an outage in our dev lab yesterday when a PDU blew, and took out some fiber that was running next to it. Shit happens...maybe not often, but it does.

    Dual PSUs fed from two independent PDUs fed by two independent power sources. We would just shrug and replace the PDU if that happened.

    Its a question of how fast you can recover WHEN it happens.

    Much faster from a blown PDU than from having your server confiscated by the Feds because some other user may have broken the law.

  • by Zemran ( 3101 ) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @10:52PM (#39741987) Homepage Journal

    My hosting is up for renewal next month and I am already looking to move out of the US for security even though I do not think that I am doing anything of interest to them, I do not know what else is being done at my provider. It is not just bad guys that get taken down, everyone using that service suffered. I do not want to suffer when the jackboots arrive. I want somewhere safe and stable like Switzerland. I am sure that someone will post a reply quoting a bad incident in Switzerland but we could fill several pages with bad incidents in the US.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.