Making sure what happened to Julie...doesn't happen again

For me, the Julie Amero case was always about two things:

1. Seeing Julie go free.

2. Helping to make sure it didn't happen to others.

(1) above is in progress. The judge has accepted the defense’s motion for a new trial and now it’s largely a waiting game.

But there are others who are in the same boat as Julie. The problem is there. And it's not just schools. It's in business as well.

How many people are never charged but quietly fired?

Now, a lot can be solved with education: How many of you working for corporations have been to mandatory sexual harassment training every year? But how many of you have been to a company security training? (Answer: almost nobody gets security training).

Consider it — a simple one or two hour training, with a nice video that explains the basics of security. IT departments layer on defense after defense, but because so much of the problem is social engineering, you have to teach the users. How many systems are infected because of people going to a website in a fake email? Or a bored salesman on the road, downloading some “harmless” porn on his laptop, only to have his system turn into a spam zombie, or worse — turning it into a warez server, serving child porn and pirated software? Or the administrative assistant who just wants to download some “cute screensavers”… Or the CEO who opens up an email attachment that turns out is loaded with a targeted zero-day exploit, stealing highly sensitive confidential information?

It doesn’t even have to be something horribly nefarious. A system can be infected with a simple piece of adware which produces its own search results. Some of those search results can be bad.

You get the picture.

And since our schools have made the decision that porn is a dangerous problem (which I have no argument with), then educators all over the world are operating "dangerous" machinery — without sufficient operator education.

In law, there is a real problem: Many people involved in this field understand little about about computers. Fear and ignorance combined with great power is a very dangerous thing.

So with this in mind, the small group of people who have been crusading to free Julie have started a new effort: The Julie Group. This is a group dedicated to the following objectives:

a) Help to educate people on computer security and computer forensics.

b) Do what we can to help others in a similar predicament to Julie’s.

c) Work to remove bad laws, such as the one that Julie was charged with (risk of injury to a minor, or impairing the morals of a child – Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-21, which if you read it, is so broad that almost anyone could be charged with it).

So please join us — give us ideas, give us your comments. The Julie Group blog is at http://thejuliegroup.blogspot.com/. It’s basic for now but we’ll be fleshing it out over the next several weeks.