Users of the Japanese file-sharing service Winny are grappling with a new threat today. Trend Micro is tracking a trojan called Kenzero that steals a user's web history and posts it online until such time as the user pays up. The virus is masquerading as illegal copies of explicit Hentai games, assuring the affected individuals likely have at least some embarrassing items in their browser history.
The virus appears to be a game installation screen that requests the personal details of the user. It then posts the web history along with the personally identifiable information. Users are confronted with an email or popup demanding 1500 yen (about $16) to "settle your violation of copyright law" and remove the stolen information from the website.
The website the history is published on is owned by a shell company known to be associated with other malware scams. Security experts warn that paying the ransom is unlikely to result in the removal of the information. It's more probable that the malware makers will just sell the card number. Over 5500 users have admitted to being infected. Might be a good time to update your antivirus, in case Kenzero variants spread.
In the wake of the death of a 17-year old girl, Facebook has committed to improving their safety protocols. Many wanted to social networking site to add a “panic button” to flag profiles of suspected pedophiles. Facebook is instead expanding their current reporting system.
Richard Allan, director of policy for Facebook Europe reaffirmed the company’s focus on protecting its users, but said the idea of a panic button was unworkable. Commenting on the reporting system Allan said, “The system effectively handles all manner of potential abuse we see on the site, ranging from the common minor breaking of the rules, such as embarrassing pictures, to the extremely rare serious matters that are quickly escalated to law enforcement."
Facebook has managed to avoid looking out of though here, but is this enough? Some groups are still pushing for more aggressive tools to protect users. Facebook has not completely ruled out a panic button, but says more consideration is needed.
Okay look, you may not like Apple very much. We get that. You might feel that their computers are overpriced and their closed platform is contrary to your philosophical views. But whatever you do, don’t threaten to blow up an Apple Store. The buzzkill authorities tend to frown upon that sort of behavior. One New York 17 year-old by the name of Justin Barry did not take heed of this bit of common sense.
He allegedly walked into an Apple Store and typed the following into one of the display computers before leaving: “I have threatened your store and all its employees with a bloody death ... whoever the crew maybe working, or the innocent citizens that walk in ... will be eliminated with the force of a... bomb loaded with C4, strapped to my chest.”
When a store employee discovered the note, the police were called. Young Justin was quickly apprehended and is being charged with making terroristic threats. That carries a possible penalty of seven years in prison. For his part, Justin said it was only a joke. All the stupidest crimes start out as jokes, don’t they?
It's tough being a geek. Remember when MySpace was cool? Neither do we at this point, and who knows, we might be saying the same about Twitter sometime down the line. Things were looking pretty good when Miley Cyrus up and quit the social networking service (feel free to follow suit, Ashton Kutcher), and now this happens.
Apparently, it takes 140 characters (or less) to drive someone to murder. Such is the case when 22-year-old Jameg Blake allegedly gunned down Kwame Dancy, his neighbor of the same age, following a verbal back-and-forth on Twitter.
"That's not a reason to shoot somebody," said Madeline Smith, Dancy's mother. "That's crazy. I don't know what's going on with that Twitter thing."
According to the police report, just hours before the shooting, Dancy may have provoked Blake by tweeting "N----s is lookin for u don't think i won't give up ya address for a price betta chill asap!"
Blake's account is also ripe with insults, but the only one that mentions Dancy by name reads "R.I.P. Kwame," posted on December 3, 2009.
According to the New York Daily Times, a police source said the messages may be subpoenaed to help prove there was bad blood between Blake and Dancy, who grew up together. But as for the shooting itself, authorities say they have a witness who identified Blake as the shooter, as well as video showing Blake leaving the area around the time of the incident carrying a bag large enough to hold a shotgun, the weapon used in the murder.
Gangs in Manhattan are going high tech. No, we're not talking about hacking local banks and transferring funds to untraceable off shore accounts. Instead, hooligans have turned to Twitter to talk trash to each other and coordinate attacks.
"I knoe bitches from oyg that would dead mob yah s--t in harlem," one girl wrote in a series of tweets aimed at drawing out a rival for a fight (and annoying the sh--t out of anyone with even a basic grasp of the English language).
The above tweet references an East Harlem-based gang (OYG), also known as Jeff Mob, and this type of stuff is becoming increasingly common. But such tweets also makes it a little bit easier for law enforcement to stay privy on what's going down.
"It is another tool...just like old phone records," a police source said. "We can go through them [messages] to track these guys down."
Unfazed by the virtual paper trail, one 15-year-old gang member nicknamed Lil V says his gang takes certain precautions, one of which includes using lingo that's difficult to understand.
A well known Bavarian actor by the name of Walter Sedlmayr was murdered in 1990. Two of his associated were tried and convicted of the crime. These men were recently paroled, and one of them is none too pleased that anyone can read all about him on the internet. He has retained a lawyer and has sued Wikipedia in Germany, and is also making noise about suing the English language version.
This all comes back to German law, which holds that private citizens should have their names and likenesses protected. The ex-convict is making the argument that while he may have been a public figure during the trial, he isn’t anymore. He wants the Sedlmayr page censored to remove all mention of him.
The EFF is strongly opposed to the possibility of censoring Wikipedia at the behest of a convicted murderer (or anyone for that matter). They point out that is it impossible for all publications to abide by the censorship laws of any legal system. The U.S. First Amendment protects this sort of speech, but how far will the German lawyers try to take this?
One of the biggest concerns for online advertisers these days, is getting the most out of increasingly tight budgets, and protecting themselves from click-fraud can be difficult. Companies bid on search keywords, and depending on the popularity of the term, often pay top dollar to float to the top of the sponsored results list. This model is tested and true, but once they reach their spending limits, they drop off leaving the next highest bidder in their place. Click-fraud artists can be somewhat hard to trace, they often operate through proxies, or sometimes even botnets to mask their IP’s. But after a year of intense investigation, Microsoft has finally tracked down three individuals linked to a number of small corporation names, and is taking them to court.
Microsoft is seeking about $750,000 in damages from British Columbia, Canada residents Eric Lam, Gordon Lam, and Melanie Suen. “We have decided to become more active in the commercial fraud area on the enforcement side,” said Tim Cranton, associate general counsel for Microsoft. “The theory is you can change the economics around crime or fraud by making it more expensive.”
Analysts believe that Microsoft is simply testing the waters with this lawsuit, and primarily hope that it will intimidate people away from a life of online crime. This specific case involved the three accused fraudsters of running up the tabs on keyword searches related to “auto insurance” and “World of Warcraft”. Once they had expended the budgets of their competitors, their network of sites would slowly float to the top, and pickup traffic at bargain prices.
With little legal precedent to lean on, do you think this case will be successful?
According to IC3, they received 275,284 complaints last year (compared to the 206,884 in 2007). They were able to move 72,940 of these on to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
Many of the referred complaints, which were caused by anything from online auction fraud to identity theft, cost consumers roughly $264.6 million, with the median dollar loss reaching about $931 per complaint.
So how you can you stay safe? Just be smart about how you compute on a daily basis. The report was careful to explain that 74 percent of the reported crimes were perpetrated through e-mail, with another 29 percent conducted through Web pages. Watch yourself out there!
According to a report by the Anti-Phishing Working Group the use of malware on websites intended to steal passwords and other personal information has jumped significantly over the past year.
The exact number of pages sporting hidden code meant to get your secret goodies has almost tripled between July 2007 and July 2008 to a staggering 9.529. And of those, there are 442 different types waiting for you.
The financial crisis is at part to blame for this huge boost in malware-oriented sites. “The current financial crisis has also been used by phishers to create new scams that try to scare consumers into entering their usernames and passwords into sites that mimic those of well-known distressed financial institutions,” said Dave Jevans, the AWPG Chairman. “As the economy degrades, we are seeing a continual increase in malicious and criminal activity on the Internet.”