Articles by Mark Rasch


February 23, 2017

By Mark Rasch
Attorney and Cybersecurity Expert

It sounds like a classic law school exam question.  A border patrol agent in the United States, without adequate provocation or justification, fires a shot across the Mexican border, hitting an innocent Mexican teenager in the head – killing him.  

Does the family of the deceased have any recourse in the US courts, specifically under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments through the unjustified use of deadly physical force?  That’s what the Supreme Court will decide after oral argument on February 21, in a case called Hernandez v. Mesa


February 1, 2017

By Mark Rasch
Attorney and Cybersecurity Expert

When Walter Ackerman sent an email from his AOL account to someone else, it never arrived.  It never arrived because AOL’s computers examined the contents of the email, using an MD5 hash function, and determined that one of the attachments’ electronic signature matched that of suspected child pornography contained in a database maintained by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  AOL scanned the contents of Ackerman’s emails using an automated procedure, and then turned the results over to the Justice Department for prosecution. 


January 31, 2017

By Mark Rasch
Attorney and Cybersecurity Expert

President Trump is slated to issue two Executive Orders this week which may relate to the ability of the nation to defend itself (and its critical infrastructure) from potential cyberattacks.  The first is the President’s Executive order on cybersecurity.  The second is the Executive Order on Regulatio.  It may be that these orders work contrary to each other in practice.  We will have to wait and see.


January 30, 2017

By Mark Rasch
Attorney and Cybersecurity Expert

A recent report has indicated that police have subpoenaed records from Amazon to get the cloud stored audio files from an Amazon Echo to help solve a murder case. This points out a disturbing trend in privacy.  

It’s not that the government is surveilling us.  It’s that we are surveilling ourselves in newer and more intimate ways, and in ways that fail to take into account all of the unintended consequences of data collection and analytics. 


January 6, 2017

By Mark Rasch
Attorney and Cybersecurity Expert

For the Internet of Things (IoT) to be useful, some sensing device has to collect data, and transmit that data over the Internet (typically) to a cloud server (typically) that will store and analyze that data and allow the user to see that data, and/or use the data to effect some change in the device or user behavior.  That’s a simplified and over broad description of the IoT. 


January 5, 2017

By Mark Rasch
Attorney and Cybersecurity Expert

In preparation for sanctions against hackers from the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) and Russia's main intelligence agency known as the GRU, the Obama administration released information that it alleged showed the responsibility for the “highest levels” of the Russian government for hacking into servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and email of John Podesta, and using this information to try to sway the U.S. electorate


December 16, 2016

By Mark Rasch
Attorney and Cybersecurity Expert

federal court in San Francisco on December 5th, approved of the government’s interception and use of emails and other communications in a terrorism case involving the so-called Portland Christmas Tree Bombing case.  In that case a Somali-American was caught plotting a bombing on the Christmas tree lighting after his parents repeatedly asked the FBI to investigate his suspicious activities.


December 11, 2016

By Mark Rasch
Attorney and Cybersecurity Expert

Was Russia responsible for hacking the DNC and John Podesta, and releasing their communications as part of a concerted effort to impact the US electoral result and get their favored candidate elected president?  Yes.  And no. And maybe.

This question, and the various questions subsumed by this question, have much broader implications for how we conduct forensic investigations, how we attribute activities, how we conduct foreign relations, and ultimately how we fight cyberwars in the future.


December 2, 2016

By Mark Rasch
Attorney and Cybersecurity Expert

One problem with modern computer or computer related crime: it’s international in scope.  But governments are limited by their borders, their authority, and their sovereignty.  

A proposed change to the federal rules of criminal procedure that authorize US judges and magistrates to permit searches is either a minor tweak of a procedural rule designed to deal with a growing problem, which allows pedophiles and terrorists to escape prosecution, or the largest power grab in history, permitting cops in the US to insert code and take over computers anywhere in the world.  Your pick. 


November 22, 2016

By Mark Rasch
Attorney and Cybersecurity Expert

One of the most hotly contested issues in information security is whether the government should encourage the ubiquitous use of strong encryption to protect data both at rest and in transit, or whether the government (and by this, I mean any government) should require users to use only “government approved” encryption. 

That is crypto algorithms that have been deliberately weakened to permit government agents – presumably with some lawful authority – to obtain access to the contents of encrypted messages.  With the transition from the Obama administration’s mixed messages on backdoor encryption to the new Trump administration, what can we expect?


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