Feeds

'I'm no hacker', Sklyarov tells US court

Elcomsoft in DMCA test case

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Dmitry Sklyarov, the Russian programmer at the centre of the first Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) prosecution, yesterday delivered his long-awaited testimony in the trial of his former employer, ElcomSoft.

ElcomSoft is charged with supplying a tool which circumvents the copy protection in Adobe eBooks, which can be used in making audible copies of e-books for the blind, or copies of legitimately purchased electronic books. The prosecution argues the utility was primarily designed to circumvent copyright protection mechanisms and facilitate piracy.

ElcomSoft's Advanced eBook Processor is legal in Russia and was sold over the Internet (though it has since been taken off the market). The company faces five counts of violating digital copyright laws for supplying and marketing the programme in the trial, which began in a federal court in San Jose last week.

Sklyarov was also indicted in the case, and spent a month in a US jail (and four months on bail) before striking a deal which allowed him to return to Russia in exchange for testifying in any case against ElcomSoft.

Sklyarov told the court that got the idea for the program while studying for a doctorate in information security at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University. He wanted to demonstrate the flaws in Adobe's encryption scheme, while writing a utility that allowed legitimate purchasers to copy e-books from one computer to another, make backup, print pages and transfer documents to reading devices for the blind.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, tried to link Sklyarov as an affiliate to underground hacker networks who didn't give a stuff about US laws.

Sklyarov admitted that he was aware his program could be used for "bad purposes" such as piracy, but argued the benefits of his utility - which also demonstrated the weak security of Adobe eBooks - were more important than the drawbacks.

"The general public needs to have a way to choose which solution is secure and which is not," he said.

Sklyarov stated his action were legal in Russia but admitted under cross-examination that he failed to consider whether the program was legal under US law when he developed it.

"I cared about not violating the law of the country I am operating in," Sklyarov said.

Elcomsoft attorney Burton tried to dispel the government's attempts to portray ElcomSoft as disreputable.

"Do you consider yourself to be a hacker?"
HE asked Sklyarov.

Sklyarov replied. "I am computer engineer, programmer," he told the court, according to wire reports.

Testimony from ElcomSoft managing director Vladimir Katalov also delivered yesterday stated that its password retrieval programs were bought by the FBI, US district attorneys and police departments, as well as by corporations such as Microsoft, Motorola and (most surprisingly, perhaps) Adobe.

The trial continues this week. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs
BadUSB instructs gadget chips to inject key-presses, redirect net traffic and more
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?