4 chan Attacks May Cause BT, ACS:Law, Legal Troubles

UK service provider British Telecom and anti-piracy law firm ACS:Law may find themselves in some serious trouble. The BBC reports that BT and the law firm may have breached the Data Protection Act. The law requires that data holders keep personal user information secure at "all times."

Un-encrypted Excel documents were sent in August by BT lawyer Prakash Mistry to Andrew Crossley of ACS:Law. The document was sent in compliance with a court order to turn over names of suspected file-sharers. While BT requested that the personal information be kept securely by ACS:Law, the company sent two un-encrypted documents via email. One document contained information on 413 users suspected of sharing the song "Evacuate the Dance Floor" and the other document contained 130 users who were suspected of sharing pornography – obviously of a commercial nature.

All of this was unearthed when 4 chan attacked the web site of ACS: Law and found a security flaw in its email server. Now sensitive files, including those two Excel documents, are being shared by file-sharers all over the Internet. Other documents are sure to turn up as the group sifts through ACS:Law’s data.

The blowback for both BT and ACS: Law  could be considered bad: both may face a half-million dollar fine for violating the Data Protection Act. BT and ACS:Law may face additional trouble from the court oder that required the exchange of user names as well. According to Simon Davies of watchdog group Privacy International, BT may have breached the Data Protection Act, and violated the high court order. The High Court order was issued July 7 by Chief Master Winegarten. The wording of the order required BT and other ISPs to provide the data in an "electronic text format by way of Microsoft Excel file saved in an encrypted form to a compact disk, or any other digital media."

Davies told the BBC that he plans to write to both the High Court and the Attorney General to press for action against BT.

According to the BBC, ACS Law is also currently being investigated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for sending threatening letters to people allegedly engaged in piracy. Many say that these letters are tantamount to blackmail, with the law firm demanding a settlement payment from targets. Those that do not comply are threatened with expensive legal action.

Source: BBC

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  1. 0
    DorthLous says:

    Wow, gotta thank the previous posters. Well, just to add what little weight I have. The blogging about 4chan is really disgraceful. m00t is an estimed member of many informatic circles and a very influent person. He’s also doing his best to help "good", however he perceives it. While it can be said that Anonymous do the same, they are a huge group of people, led by none in particular and acting instinctively and organically. If 4chan was to go down, they’d reform elsewhere. They already have other points of meeting and information sharing. So please stop mixing both. They are 2 different entities that happen to meet sometimes.

  2. 0
    Scott1701c says:

    No, but she did not have the computer savy to know not to use your highschool as a password and then for the hint to put down highschool. It is like hacking a computer with no security on it.


    I may be crazy, but I am not insane.

  3. 0
    Thad says:

    1. While there is an overlap between hacking and social engineering, they’re not the same thing.

    2. This isn’t even social engineering, because he didn’t trick her into revealing the information to him.

  4. 0
    Scott1701c says:

    Technically, That is hacking. 80% of hacking is socal engeniring(sp?). Because there is no patch for human stupidity.


    I may be crazy, but I am not insane.

  5. 0
    mogbert says:

    Not to be picky, but 4chan is just an annonymous chat board. Moot, the owner of 4chan, was obviously not the one behind the attack, nor were any of the admins, I expect.

    Just because annonymous people stop there to talk about it (and likely get their IP addresses captured by Moot like the Palin Email hacker) doean’t mean the webpage should be held accountable for the hackers exploits.

    Perhaps a title change, like "Anonymous attacks may cause BT, ACS:Law, Legal Troubles"

  6. 0
    Papa Midnight says:

    I must point out that I inherently disagree with the title and subject content of this article. By blaming "4chan" as a wholistic entity, you not only blame users of ALL 4chan boards (There are thousands), but you make it seem like not only does the owner(s), operator(s) (I make no assumptions about ‘moot’) of 4chan encourage these actions, they faciliate them. 4chan might be a place where a group of persons came toghether to plan their actions, but 4chan ITSELF is not the faciliator. If they had formed these actions in an America Online chat room, I’m 100% sure this article title would not say "AOL Attacks May Cause, BT, ACS:Law, Legal Troubles". The group that acts in these capacities call themselves "Anonymous", reportedly. Please change the article title to reflect this.

    Papa Midnight

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