From Iceland — Mysterious "Spy" Computer In Parliament Works Differently Than Being Reported, Tech Expert Says

Mysterious “Spy” Computer In Parliament Works Differently Than Being Reported, Tech Expert Says

Published January 20, 2011

An unmarked computer found in a spare room of parliament, and connected directly to parliament’s internet system, was most certainly planted there, a computer expert told the Grapevine. However, he says, the media has a few misconceptions about the matter.
The computer in question was found in a spare room shared by the Independence Party and The Movement last February. It was apparently connected directly to parliament’s internet system.
The computer was disconnected and taken to the police. Any identifying serial numbers had been erased from the machine, nor were any fingerprints found, and its origins have not yet been traced. The police believed that the matter was the work of professionals.
Morgunblaðið and other media outlets have reported that the computer was set up in such a way that disconnecting it would erase any files on the hard drive. But a computer expert The Grapevine spoke to said that this is highly unlikely.
Stephen Christian, a computer expert at Oxymap ehf, told the Grapevine that while it is possible police bungled the operation and did not clone the hard drive before disconnecting it, the idea of a “self-destruct” feature was out of the question. “Information written to disk can be recovered by experts even after being overwritten several times unless you let the computer run for a few hours constantly ‘covering up’ its information. Computer hackers know this. A professional would have written any acquired data to a public-key-encrypted disk that would only have been accessible to one who possessed the private key – like with Wikileaks ‘insurance’ file. Having a hacker program ‘self-destruct’ is something someone who has watched too many spy movies would claim. Not even an incompetent hacker would program something that way. This is much more likely a plant followed up by fairy-tale.”
Members of parliament have expressed outrage that the matter was not brought to light sooner, even though the parliamentary offices knew about it.
Morgunblaðið implicated, through speculation, that Wikileaks may have been the culprit. To this, Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson denied any involvement, telling Eyjan, “It isn’t surprising that Morgunblaðið reproached Wikileaks in this matter, as they haven’t really been known for great journalism lately.”

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