Let the forensics exam begin

April 17, 2007
As expected, investigators have seized the Virginia Tech shooter's PC, in the hope that they'll collect evidence to help piece together what has become one of the bloodiest days in modern U.S. history.

The New York Times has the exclusive.

Surely, computer security experts are going to have a field day and check every piece of that hard drive for clues as to how someone can turn from loner to mass murderer.

Meanwhile, we found out today that the shooter (I'm not referencing him by name because this blog doesn't permit profanity) was indeed a student. So he likely had no problems getting access to any of the buildings and presumably knew the campus well.

In these sort of "insider threat" situations, the burden often falls on peers to report the problem. But everybody has known a guy like this shooter. Introvert. Weird. Kept to himself. The kind of guy you'd joke about as the one who will come in one day with a Tommy gun. But we usually never say anything for fear of accusing an innocent, harmless person.

Maybe we should rethink that mindset.

Then again, if someone truly wants to do something like this, chances are, they will.

It's like what Tumbleweed's Willy Leichter once told me when we were talking about intellectual property protection.

"When you start going through all the permeations, you learn that most networks are like Swiss cheese," he told me for a November story. "There's so many ways things could get out. Email is the most likely place something will leak, but if somebody is hell-bent on stealing your secrets, and they're inside your organization, frankly it's going to be very difficult to stop them."

On Monday in Blacksburg, Va., someone was hell-bent, too.
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