Defense Fails To Rattle Computer Forensics Expert In UBS Trial - InformationWeek

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Defense Fails To Rattle Computer Forensics Expert In UBS Trial

The prosecution's forensics expert and star witness sparred with the defense Wednesday, taking on often heated questions about hackers and the validity of his analysis.

Newark, N.J. - The government's forensics investigator stood up to an aggressive cross-examination from the defense Wednesday during his fourth day on the stand in the computer sabotage trial of a former systems administrator.

Forensic investigator Keith Jones has plotted a digital trail from the UBS network to the defendant's home computer.

Forensics investigator Keith Jones has plotted a digital trail from the UBS network to the defendant's home computer.
Keith Jones, director of computer forensics and incident response at Mandiant, an information security company based in Alexandria, Va., withstood an hour and a half of often contentious questioning from Chris Adams, the lead defense attorney for Roger Duronio, who is being tried on federal charges for allegedly building and planting malicious code that took down the main host server, along with about 2,000 branch servers, at UBS PaineWebber four years ago. The attack knocked the investment firm's brokers offline for a day to several weeks in some cases.

But before being cross-examined, Jones wrapped up his more than 10 hours on the stand by pulling together the conclusions he formed from his forensics investigation that had him wading through months of UBS VPN logs, IP addresses, root access logs, and login/logout records. For days now, he has testified about piecing together a digital trail that led from Duronio's home in Bogota, N.J., into the UBS network where the components of the logic bomb were created.

''What would the person who did this have to know?'' asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Mauro Wolfe, lead prosecutor in this four-week-old trial.

''You would have to know that the [UBS] VPN exists,'' said Jones, who had previously testified that all forensics roads led to Duronio. ''You would have to know where the VPN is. Where to get the VPN software to connect. Where the branch servers are and their importance. You'd have to know Unix, and how to script in Unix, and C programming, and specifically C programming for Unix. You'd have to know Roger Duronio's username and his password. You'd have to have physical access to UBS [on one particular day]. And you'd have to have physical access to Mr. Duronio's house.''

He also testified that the culprit had to specifically have had Duronio's VPN username and password, along with his Unix username and password.

''Whose home computer had the source code for the trigger?'' asked Wolfe. ''Roger Duronio,'' answered Jones.

''Where would the user behind Roger Duronio's assigned VPN user account have had to be physically?'' Wolfe then asked. ''He'd have to be in Roger Duronio's home,'' Jones replied.

After Jones finished laying out his findings for the prosecution, the defense lawyer quickly took the floor and started firing a series of fast-paced, aggressive questions at the investigator.

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