Dark and drizzle, we pulled up in front of the living block;
we had a an AC tip on one of the residents -- nothing concrete,
maybe trafficking in illegal copies, maybe just pron, we weren't
"Can I help you?" our suspect asked, innocently enough, as he opened the door.
"Yah, we got a warrant - need to scan your disk." I held up the warrant in one hand while the other reflexively went for the scanner.
"What seems to be the problem officers?" he says... boy if this guy is hiding something he sure can act it. This is the point when I watch the suspect most closely -- looking not just for fear or guilt, but any kind of movement which may trigger an erase mechanism.
"Nothing special," I try to smooth him over, "just a routine search, maybe we just got a bad tip."
"Well, okay.." he didn't seem too sure of his ground. I didn't like it, he should be outraged, or afraid or something. My partner printed up a receipt while I activated the scanner.
3 seconds later I'm looking at the output, scratching my head- no contraband on the disk but the scanner flagged some unusual files.
"What's this?" I ask the guy, showing him the readout.
"Oh, those are mine," he said with such an innocent look I was caught off balance.
I connect to Central and send the digital signatures for look-up & verify.. Central drew a blank. "Unknown registry authority" was the response for each one of the signed executables.
"Where did you get these?" I ask the suspect while copying the binaries into quarantined flash for later dissection.
"Those? I made them." Again that look of pure innocence. I was getting a creepy feeling at the back of my neck.
"Whadd'ya mean, you made them? Look, we're gonna find out where those execs came from and what they do.. it's gonna start getting real unpleasant in here real fast if you don't start coming up with answers quick!" I don't like coming down heavy so fast on a guy, but these files were starting to give me the creeps.
"Look man, I'm a programmer - that's what I do. I can show you the source and compile it for you if you like..."
Stunned, I look at the guy, my partner's already going for a tackle with the cuffs. "You got a compiler in here!?" I shout at him. "Jesus HC," I'm swearing at myself for being so slow. "Call Central!" I'm yelling at my partner while I signal for backup, "tell 'em to put a packet freeze on the whole damn block! Tell 'em we got an unregistered compiler!"
I swear to God, even while they were hauling him away and forensics were scanning the building, he still had that innocent look on his face -- like he didn't even know what was going on.
Original material licensed for the creative commons by keshet anderson