Careless use of Windows folders cost a Scottish student a lengthy prison stretch today, as an Edinburgh High Court Judge sentenced Mohammed Atif Siddique to eight years for possession of terrorism-related items. During his trial the jury had been told by Michael Dickson, a forensics analyst for the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, that Siddique's laptop computer had contained material placed in a Windows folder where it would be difficult for an inexperienced user to find.
The folder in question was c:\windows\options,
which is usually present on OEM Windows systems and is used for installation purposes. It is not widely frequented by most computer users, but it's not secret either. Siddique seems not to have encrypted the material, which was described as videos, pictures and sound files "concerned with radical Islamic politics", and which included footage of Osama Bin Laden and the World Trade Center attack. It is not clear why Siddique put the material, which he claimed he had collected because he was interested in the motivations of terrorists, in the Options folder. Dickson however said that in his opinion, if someone put something in the Options folder, they did so "to hide it." So watch out, Michael Dell. And those of you out there researching terrorism for your own interest would be well-advised to keep your Osama Bin Laden videos where they're supposed to be, in the My Movies folder (you'll find it right next to My Warez).