Ding 'went to great lengths to hide electronic trail'

Ding 'went to great lengths to hide electronic trail'

Beckham was the key to unlocking an encrypted laptop seized from alleged match-fixer Eric Ding Si Yang. Not the retired England football star but a password that was consistently used in the laptop.

Had a more complicated password been used, it could have been "infinitely" more difficult for specialists to crack it, a district court heard. On the final day of the second tranche of the trial on Tuesday, prosecutors alluded to the lengths that businessman Ding, 31, went to in an effort to conceal his alleged match-fixing activity.

This included using a message "hard disk failure" as a password prompt in the Sony Vaio laptop seized from Ding. Police forensics officer Sim Lai Hua testified: "Without the corresponding password, the computer will simulate a problem with the hard disk."

Deputy Superintendent Sim explained that the operating system partition of the laptop was encrypted using TrueCrypt - a free open-source software. "I was told investigating officers could not secure the password from the user and as such, I proceeded to use forensic software to crack the password," said DSP Sim.

Ding is accused of bribing three Fifa-accredited Lebanese officials - referee Ali Sabbagh, 34, and linesmen Ali Eid, 33, and Abdallah Taleb, 37 - with prostitutes to induce them into fixing a match.

He faces two other charges, which have been stood down, of perverting the course of justice by concealing a receipt from anti-graft investigators and for failing to give his laptop password to a police officer. Ding had allegedly insisted he did not have the password and that the machine was broken.

After DSP Sim gained access to the system, a 30GB file named "holiday.dat" in the Videos folder caught his attention. He tested the "beckham" password on the file, and got through.

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