This is a true story, folks!
Robert Bradford, a teenager from New York, can send his regards to Facebook for him not being sent to jail.
On October 17th he wrote a Facebook status update, from his father’s computer in Harlem, “Where’s my pancakes”.
The day later he was arrested, for a robbery commited around noon the day before, at the time of his recent Facebook status update.
The district attorney asked Facebook to verify the status update was really sent from the address of Robert Bradford father’s house – Facebook verified it.
More info on the Robert Bradford case over at NY Times.
But here’s the problem. Anybody with a certain degree of computer knowledge could easily have connected to a computer in a remote location, using a handheld device and added a similar status update to “prove” that they were home at the time of the robbery. Of course, if the police checks the log files, they might see that a remote connection was established.
If that’s the case, how about setting up a macro that will run on a pre-defined time of the day: login to Facebook, add the status message and then remove any trace of the macro after that? Problem solved.
I’m sorry to be the messenger of “how to get away with crime” like this, but it is so obvious, that people need to know how easy it can be faked – and thus be able to prevent it from happening.
My questions to you, clever reader, are as follows:
- What do you think of the Robert Bradford case? Is it okay that they let him go based on a status update like that? (I assume he was in fact innocent, so eventually he would not have gone to jail for the crime, still.)
- How is it (technically?) possible to spot, or avoid, similar events in the future, but where the criminals in fact uses Facebook as a fake alibi, thanks to remote connections or a macro?
Share your thoughts it in the comments below, that comment might be what acquits you from suspected murder tomorrow, you’ll never know!