Law-enforcement DIRT Trojan released
By Thomas C Greene in Washington
Posted: 14/03/2002 at 20:43 GMT

Disgraced former policeman and convicted felon Frank Jones of Codex Data
Systems has had his Web site hacked and his overpriced cop-spy Trojan, aptly
named D.I.R.T., released to the public.

One would hope that the security community will make use of the above .zip
file, provided courtesy of Cryptome's John Young, examine the product and
publish a tool for making a Windows box DIRT-proof easily and effectively.
The .zip contains the main executable, the installer and the user's manual.
It is not a working example, as the activation key is lacking.

Jones has been hustling his rip-off product to LEAs (law-enforcement
agencies) and military organizations as an elite crime-fighting tool. But in
reality it's a common Trojan horse which permits over-zealous cops to upload
files (i.e., plant incriminating evidence) on a victim's computer without
any auditing mechanism which would record this criminal activity by the
authorities. Thus it's been a hit in quarters where this sort of abuse is
unlikely to be challenged, such as Asia, Africa and South America.

It's fair to say that the chief use of this tool will be to plant evidence
and thus to extort confessions from targets unpopular with local and State
authorities. It could also be used illicitly to produce evidence at trial,
if the defense is foolish enough not to challenge it, or if the prosecution
should trick the judge into keeping its details secret, as the FBI managed
to do in the case of Nicodemo Scarfo and the key-logger used against him.

In that case the keylogger was not used to produce evidence intended to be
introduced at trial; but the judge's willingness to keep the defense from
knowing what they were dealing with has rather chilling implications in
context of Jones' loathsome little Trojan. Indeed, key-logging is one of the
features DIRT offers (as do BO2K and SubSeven, only for free); and there has
been rumor (none of it substantiated) that DIRT was what the FBI used
against Scarfo, under the name 'Magic Lantern'.

If this were true, then the FBI has been dealing with a man banned from
accepting contracts with the US government, following his conviction on
fraud charges for selling bogus wiretap gear, and functioning wiretap gear
to persons ineligible to receive it.

Interestingly, the terms of Jones' ban allow the head of a federal agency to
grant him an exception where that agency's interests would be served. Again,
I must point out that the Magic Lantern connection is based on rumor, and
that I personally doubt the FBI would trust Jones to fetch coffee and
doughnuts for them.

Another interesting feature of DIRT is how preposterously expensive it is,
going for $2,000 for a single-target version up to $30,000 for a 250-target
version, and yet it accomplishes nothing that the free Trojans BO2K and
SubSeven can't. As such it's one of the most monumental rip-offs we know of
-- one which will, of course, be bought with taxpayers' hard-earned cash
wherever it's deployed.

Jones has also been trying to cash in on the 9/11 atrocity with an atrocity
of his own, a grotesquely mawkish collage on his home page , showing a
grieving Dubya and images of overwhelmed firefighters superimposed over no
fewer than four shots of the burning World Trade Center towers.

"Codex will provide its D.I.R.T. software for FREE to all US Law enforcement
agencies, US Intelligence agencies and US Military agencies to aid in the
identification and apprehension of the person or persons responsible for the
events of September 11, 2001," the putatively patriotic felon says.

Of course, "US" is the key modifier here, and certainly none of these
agencies will be foolish enough to use Jones' crummy product. He's only
trying to give it to people who won't buy it -- and who can't buy it while
he's on the contract ban list. The real market is overseas, in countries
where human rights are a joke, and Jones knows this.

The 9/11 publicity scam is even more loathsome because Jones' real customers
may well look at that page and imagine that US LEAs are actually using his
overpriced toy.

Jones' marketing materials are filled with overstatements regarding DIRT's
effectiveness and stealth. As we reported earlier , the Trojan installs
three files on the victim's computer, named, by default, desktop.exe,
desktop.log, and desktop.dll. However, savvy operators may well change the
file names, hence the need for a proper DIRT cleaner.

The toy is apparently not effective against *nix or Mac users, though
according to some of Jones' materials, it seems possible that the Mac
limitation is currently being addressed, or has very recently been overcome.
On the other hand, Jones' materials are always chock full of exaggeration
and wishful thinking, so this may not be worth worrying about.

What is worth worrying about are the gross human rights violations this
loathsome package will invite. A positively criminal tool, marketed by --
what else? -- a convicted criminal. 

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