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Gioconda Law Group Sues Canadian ‘Cyber Security’ Developer

On Friday, the Gioconda Law Group PLLC, a New York-based brand protection and anti-counterfeiting law firm filed a suit in federal court at Manhattan accusing Arthur Wesley Kenzie, a self-proclaimed Canadian cyber sleuth. Gioconda accused Kenzey of cybersquatting, trademark infringement and unlawful interception of a law firm’s private electronic communications in violation of federal laws. The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction and over $1 million in damages.

 

Arthur Wesley Kenzey professes to be a member of Cyber Warfare and Russian Cybercrime Hacking and Information Warfare groups. However, the Gioconda Law Group alleged that according to recent discoveries, it had found that Kenzie had registered an internet domain name GiocondoLaw.com as a misspelling of GiacondaLaw.com. Then Kenzie had proceeded to create fake e-mail accounts to intentionally intercept private e-mails addressed to the firm’s lawyers and staff.

 

Giaconda said, “We discovered the cybersquatting and sent several test e-mail messages …to see if they were delivered to the misspelled e-mail addresses, and indeed, they were received by active mailboxes.” Kenzie had initially tried to conceal his identity, but complaints to the Internet Registrar exposed him. According to the lawsuit, Kenzie is similarly harvesting misspelled e-mails intended for many major corporations without their knowledge or permission including MasterCard, McDonald’s, NewsCorp and McAfee.



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Kenzie was also previously found guilty of cybersquatting when he purchased confusingly similar domain names in another case. In that case, which was to fish information about Lockheed Martin, Kenzie had claimed that he was performing “research” about Lockheed’s email vulnerabilities without its permission. However, in May, the panel that handles domain name disputes found that Kenzie’s attempts were motivated by bad faith to extort money and not done in good faith. In the Lockheed case, the panel found that Kenzie himself had created the vulnerabilities that he was researching and that “his purpose was to offer services to the Complainant, looking for a financial gain.”

 

The case is Gioconda Law Group PLLC v. Arthur Wesley Kenzie, No. 12-CV-4919-JPO, in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan Division).

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Posted by on June 23, 2012. Filed under Home. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • HD

    As one of his previous targets, thank you for bringing this to court.

  • Jim

    Apparently the company has never heard of a honeypot. I highly doubt that individual email boxes were created. that implies more work than it would take. the server would simply be set up to accept all emails to that web address. It is also amusing to see that people consider email somehow secured. it was never built as a secure system. Sure now we use secured web interfaces to access the email, and internal company email shouldn’t leave the internal network, but external email? The back end system of post offices (yes it is set up similarly to real mail in some respects) doesn’t use secure communication. Sure the standard says you forward on anything not destined for you, but there is nothing preventing one of those from reading every message that comes through.

  • Mike P.

    If I sent a postal letter to you, and write your address down wrong by 1 digit, i may still have an expectation of privacy in the letter’s contents.

    I have not consented to your next door neighbor posting its contents in the town square for all to read.

    Why should e-mail be treated any differently?

  • Mike

    (Re: Jim’s post above) This is not the case of a honeypot. This is the case of a typo-squatter attempting to blackmail a number of organizations into paying them for “security”.

    It’s very possible to have securely transmitted / received emails *inside* an organization. Between organizations over the internet, it’s possible to securely transmit email over encrypted connections (though not everyone does this). As for the ability to eavesdrop on the unencrypted internet connections from intermediate service providers, it is certainly possible to do, but it is impractical to do for any large volume of mail traffic.

    In the end, though, it shouldn’t matter — what Kenzie is doing is wrong. Whether or not it’s wrong to the tune of more than 1 million dollars is a question that the Jury will decide if it comes to that. However “unlawful interception of a law firm’s private electronic communications in violation of federal laws” doesn’t have the term unencrypted in it, so perhaps the laws are written with enough vagueness in them to get the damages.