COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY

Feb 11 20:59

UK party edits Wikipedia to support leader's claim

When checking facts with Wikipedia it helps to know who edited the entry last.

In their weekly debate Wednesday in the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and would-be prime minister David Cameron clashed over — of all things — how old the Renaissance painter Titian was when he died.

Titian came up at Prime Minister's Question Time as Cameron asserted that Brown never got his facts right.

"You told us the other day you were like Titian aged 90. The fact is Titian died at 86," the leader of the Conservative Party told the Labour prime minister.

Within minutes, a Wikipedia user registered at Conservative party headquarters logged on and changed Titian's date of death from 1576 to 1572 to conform with Cameron's statement.

Feb 11 20:42

What's so bad about XP?

I prefer XP because, unlike Vista, I don't need to worry about the quality of my GPU or how much RAM my computer has. It just works with what I have. More importantly, I find that Vista is much slower, even with better components, than a comparably equipped XP machine. For a newer OS, that's unacceptable.

From a business perspective, it makes perfect sense to keep XP for now. The enterprise is still upset about Vista's compatibility issues when it first launched and because it's so resource-intensive, many companies would need to update their machines just to deploy the OS.

Feb 11 18:24

US lawmaker injects ISP throttle into Obama rescue package

US Senator Dianne Feinstein hopes to update President Barack Obama's $838bn economic stimulus package so that American ISPs can deter child pornography, copyright infringement, and other unlawful activity by way of "reasonable network management."

Clearly, a lobbyist whispering in Feinstein's ear has taken Comcast's now famous euphemism even further into the realm of nonsense.

According to Public Knowledge, Feinstein's network management amendment did not find a home in the stimulus bill that landed on the Senate floor. But lobbyists speaking with the Washington DC-based internet watchdog said that California's senior Senator is now hoping to insert this language via conference committee - a House-Senate pow-wow were bill disputes are resolved.

Feb 11 16:28

IRS warns against e-mail filing scam

El Pasoans beware of an e-mail scam that is making the rounds.

The e-mail claims to be from the Internal Revenue Service and asks people to complete a W-4100B2 form. The form asks for a name, date of birth, address, Social Security number, bank account and other personal information.

The e-mail states, "Our records indicate that you are a non-resident alien. As a result, you are exempted from United States of America tax reporting and withholdings. ... Therefore, you are to authenticate the following by completing form W-4100B2, and return to us as soon as possible through the fax number: +1-646-519-7245."

Clay Sanford, an IRS spokesman, said the e-mail has the IRS seal and may look real.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Not just El Paso. I just got one here.

Feb 11 14:22

Western Digital Passport USB Portable Hard Drive (160GB, black)

It seemed ok in the beginning - installed itself quickly and easily, and started humming along as I moved my 120 GB of music from my brand new XP desktop to the drive. But when I checked on it an hour later, there was an error, saying the drive was not recognized. I tried different USB ports, which would work for a few seconds, and then again, the drive wouldn't be recognized.

I tested my USB ports with other devices - all were fine. When I called WDC Customer Support, they told me the drive does not work with front USB ports (not close enough to the motherboard), but the cord is too short to use it effectively on the back ports. I tried it anyway - doesn't work. There are no drivers to download, no fixes, it's just a bad drive. Apparently this is a common issue.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Yes it is, because my Western Digital Passport drive did the exact same thing. It will work with one laptop, but not my main desktop machine (the one I am typing this post on). It will work with the VISTA machine but only though a rear USB port, not the front one.

Now, this review of this product dates to 2 years ago. And yet, this item is still being offered for sale! Shades of the Parnell guy ordering his peanut company to ship out peanuts laced with Salmonella!

And yes, I am still in a very negative mood about American products after those made-in-the-USA Duracall batteries leaked and ruined my Mead Captureview binocular/camera a few days ago, not to mention anything sold by Microsoft. So yeah, I am pissed off and not at all tolerant of crappy American products.

But here is my point. After I pulled this drive out to use it to make an offsite copy of WRH's source tree, and found I could not get it to work any more (like the author of the linked piece, the drive worked the very first time I tried it, then decided to piss me off), I did a web search and I found TONS of complaints about this drive and model, and astonishingly, an overwhelming amount of "consumer reports" on supposedly unbiased computer information websites which lauded this drive to the high heavens!

So, one of two cases applies. Either these supposedly unbiased computer information websites which lauded this drive to the high heavens were testing something other than what is really being sold to us consumers, or, these supposedly unbiased computer information websites which lauded this drive to the high heavens are biased, which means their websites are just covert advertising for whoever hands them the most cash.

Bottom line. If the US cannot make products like batteries that don't leak and disk drives that operate longer than a few weeks, then our nation is in far worse trouble than we thought.

Feb 11 12:21

Fleischer: I kept Bush from calling on 'dotcoms and oddballs'

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Now I am pissed!

Feb 11 10:55

Intruder Hacks Into Colorado Woman's Facebook Page

Over the weekend Gamberg received a phone call from a Facebook friend from out of state.

"She's said 'Donna Lu, please call me as soon as you get this message. Somebody is ... I'm chatting with you and it sounds like you need help, and so I'm very worried,'" she said.

Someone had hacked into Gamberg's Facebook account and had started chatting.

Her poser wrote "I'm in London. I've been robbed. Send money."

Feb 10 09:04

Spate of 'zombie' attacks hit road signs

Pranksters in at least three states are messing with electronic road signs meant to warn motorists of possible traffic problems by putting drivers on notice about zombies and raptors. Highway officials aren't amused.

The latest breach came Tuesday morning near the St. Louis suburb of Collinsville, Ill., where hackers changed a sign on southbound Interstate 255 to read, "Daily Lane Closures Due To Zombies."

A day earlier in Indiana's Hamilton County, the electronic message in a construction zone warned drivers of "Raptors Ahead — Caution."

Feb 09 10:14

Australian Minister talks Internet Censorship as Victoria burns

As we’ve reported regularly over the last two days, Victoria, Australia has experienced the worst natural disaster in Australian history. As I type this post, the official death toll has risen to 130, with up to 200 people believed dead.

It’s a tragedy beyond all reckoning. So what do you think the Australian Minister for Censorship Senator Stephen Conroy was doing?

Well he was promoting the Australian Governments censorship proposal.

Feb 09 08:53

Apple blocks Bush shoe throwing game from App Store

However, the developer of the title has claimed that the game was removed from the App Store, with a message from Apple stating: “We cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains content that ridicules public figures.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Ridiculing public figures is protected free speech under the First Amendment.

Feb 09 08:11

Ballmer: Stay on Windows XP and you will face a backlash

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is warning IT organisations that they risk provoking an end user backlash if they don’t move off the XP operating system.

The word "desperation" springs to mind.

Feb 09 08:04

Google is watching

'THERE was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment . . . It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time."

That quote from George Orwell's "1984" becomes increasingly prescient in light of developments in eavesdropping, pioneered by Google. Recently the company launched a service called Latitude, which allows consenting users to monitor each other's whereabouts. It's the company's latest snooping tool, the most controversial being the Street Views photographic mapping service.

When I tried Street Views by entering my address, I was surprised to see that with a single click a truly Orwellian image popped onto the screen: my house, my car, the newspaper in the driveway.

Feb 08 11:41

Alternative to Google search engine.

A search engine that does not track you.Google has become a bad habit for many I believe.
Clutchy is also available as a Firefox tool bar.
The Clusty Toolbar for Firefox offers several unique features to help you find information more quickly and easily than ever before.

Now search engines want to know you very well indeed: your queries, the pages you visit, the books you buy, the email you send, your age, sex, zip code, etc. etc. This new world is an inviting target of snoops or agencies that want to analyze, censor, or monitor you.

We at Clusty don't track you. Our toolbar doesn't track you. We don't want to know your email address.

Just search, all the time. No questions asked.

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Feb 08 09:28

French fighter planes grounded by computer virus

The aircraft were unable to download their flight plans after databases were infected by a Microsoft virus they had already been warned about several months beforehand.

Feb 08 01:29

Sure, the Googlebots know your deepest secrets - but it's worth it

Webmaster's Commentary: 

No it isn't.

Feb 08 01:25

Warning on US online entry

Websites are charging tourists for a service that is free. Conrad Walters reports.

Feb 07 09:24

Gary McKinnon profile: Autistic 'hacker' who started writing computer programs at 14

From the bedroom of his girlfriend's aunt's house in north London, he hacked into 97 America military computers at the Pentagon and Nasa between 2001 and 2002.

McKinnon was caught in 2002 as he tried to download a grainy black-and-white photograph he believed was an alien spacecraft on a Nasa computer housed in the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas.

Feb 06 07:26

Beware Of Latest Scheme Targeting Social Networking Sites

Last week, Bryan Rutberg's Facebook page fell into the wrong hands and a strange message appeared.

"It changed to "BRYAN IS IN URGENT NEED OF HELP!", all caps, exclamation point," Rutberg said. "I guess that is the way the scammer set the table for reaching out to my friends."

Rutberg couldn't access his own account because a hacker changed the password and was posing as Bryan.

That hacker was chatting by instant message with the friends listed on Bryan's Facebook page, telling them a harrowing story.

"The story was I'm stuck here in London," Rutberg said. "I was on vacation at a resort. We were held up at gunpoint and now I have no way to get back home. Please send money."

Feb 05 20:39

Multiple Vulnerabilities in Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers

Multiple vulnerabilities exist in the Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers (WLCs), Cisco Catalyst 6500 Wireless Services Modules (WiSMs), and Cisco Catalyst 3750 Integrated Wireless LAN Controllers. This security advisory outlines details of the following vulnerabilities:

  • Denial of Service Vulnerabilities (total of three)
  • Privilege Escalation Vulnerability
Feb 04 23:29

Malware distributed by fake parking tickets

The flyers were fake parking violation notices, and instructed people to visit a website (which SANS did not publicize). Once they visited the website, they were infected with a malicious browser helper object.

From the post:

"The initial program installed itself as a browser helper object (BHO) for Internet Exploter that downloaded a component from childhe.com and attempted to trick the victim into installing a fake anti-virus scanner from bestantispyware securityscan.com and protectionsoft warecheck.com."

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Feb 03 07:53

Windows Vista stuck on single digit enterprise adoption

Just over two years since Microsoft launched Windows Vista, fewer than 10 per cent of PCs in the enterprise are running the successor to the company's eight-year-old Windows XP.

That compares to last July when Forrester reportedly said Windows Vista adoption was at 8.8 per cent and Windows XP was at 87.1 per cent. In that report, Forrester said Windows Vista was like "new Coke", which was killed by its corporate parent because nobody like it.

Clearly, little has changed since then, with the analyst shifting its emphasis to say Windows Vista is powering "just fewer than 10 per cent of all PCs within enterprises."

Feb 02 09:15

Windows 7 Will Not Sway XP Users

Why such dire predictions for Windows 7 ability to convert Windows XP users? As I've said, Windows 7 will do very well but just not with XP users. Like our new President Barak Obama, Windows 7 is overburdened with expectations from many constituents, especially Windows XP users who've strongly resisted moving to Vista. Windows 7 has a lot of making up to do for the Windows Vista debacle and that clearly is Windows 7's aim. But merely achieving par with what Vista promised to be at its launch more than two years ago isn't compelling enough to move XP users from their now hardened position about upgrading.

Feb 02 09:11

Your ISP is watching you

Since last autumn, BT – under the "Webwise" banner – has been trialling a technology called Phorm, which dials direct into your internet service provider's network and intercepts communications between you and the websites you visit, using information about the sorts of things you are viewing to serve you targeted ads.

Feb 01 19:13

Networking site cashes in on friends

Facebook is planning to exploit the vast amount of personal information it holds on its 150m members by creating one of the world's largest market research databases.

In an attempt to finally monetise the social networking site, once valued at $15bn (£10.4bn), it will soon allow multinational companies to selectively target its members in order to research the appeal of new products. Companies will be able to pose questions to specially selected members based on such intimate details as whether they are single or married and even whether they are gay or straight.

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Feb 01 09:07

[Video] Charts Music - Songsmith fed with Stock Charts

Melodies derived from Stock Charts, arranged with Songsmith, the Microsoft Composition Tool.

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Jan 31 11:28

Google FAIL!

Ok, this seems to be the biggest screwup Google ever made.

There were error messages “This site may harm your computer” for anything you searched no matter what browser you used or country you were from. The erros seems to be fixed now but I still have the screenshots.

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Jan 30 20:05

Comcast Labels Innocent Customer a Movie Pirate

Dave Satz wrote in to inform us that one of his friends was served with a DMCA takedown notice a few weeks ago. His friend, John Aprigliano, had allegedly downloaded a CAM release of “Cadillac Records”, without ever having heard of the movie. Although these takedown notices are just a formality and intended to scare the recipient, John decided to contact his ISP and ask for clarification.

After four calls to Comcast support the truth came out. The infringement notice was forwarded to the wrong person because the MAC-address of John’s old modem was still linked to his account. The Comcast techs eventually corrected the mistake, but this case yet again shows how inaccurate takedown notices can be.

Jan 30 20:01

Thousands join email privacy campaign

When Jacqui Smith unveiled Home Office proposals to track the emails, telephone calls and text messages of every member of the public, she might have got more than she bargained for.

Thousands of civil liberties campaigners are planning to flood the Home Secretary's inbox by copying her in on every email they send on June 15.

Martin Allan Gray, an account manager from Dulwich, south-east London, is spearheading the campaign. He said his intention is to send the message: "You want to see our emails? OK then, here they are then!"

Jan 30 19:58

Microsoft force-installs Firefox extension

I haven’t worked with Visual Studio and .NET for a while, but in my current project that’s the platform. I downloaded a necessary update, and as it turned out, Microsoft hit a new low…

Jan 29 20:13

Welcome to the brave new world of broadband for all – and Big Brother

A rights agency will help to deal with piracy issues, funded by a levy on internet providers and music and film companies — effectively a tax on broadband subscribers and CD and DVD buyers. Lord Carter did not say how much the levy would be, but some Whitehall insiders have suggested a figure amounting to £20 per broadband connection per year.

Jan 29 11:18

Irish ISP will disconnect Internet users after three unsubstantiated copyright claims

Eircom, a major Irish ISP, will now disconnect its users from the Internet if they receive three unsubstantiated copyright infringement claims from the record labels. The record labels are vowing to hold other ISPs to the same deal, which is part of a court settlement in a lawsuit against Eircom.

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Jan 29 05:15

The RealNews Network Malware attack.

I logged on to that site and my Security software alerted me to the following.

11:47:27 Firefox Denied: HEUR:Trojan.Script.Iframer

and

Firefox Denied: Exploit.JS.Pdfka.ec

An Exploit is software or code that targets security vulnerabilities, usually in the operating system or browser, but may also target vulnerabilities in other programs. Exploits are typically used to install malicious software on the victim's computer without the victim's knowledge or consent. An Exploit may be used to install malware that gives the attacker complete access to and control of the affected computer from a remote location.

update.More here on that threat.
Sun Java JDK / JRE Multiple Vulnerabilities

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Jan 27 10:27

More Malware Targeting Users of Pirated Software for Mac

Users of pirated software have a new headache to worry about. For the second time in less than two weeks, malware targeting Mac computers has surfaced on the Web.

According to an advisory from Intego, OSX.Trojan.iServices.B is a variant of the iServices Trojan the company found last week targeting pirated copies of iWork '09. This time, the malware has its sights set on versions of Adobe Photoshop CS4 downloaded via BitTorrent trackers and other sites containing links to pirated software.

“The actual Photoshop installer is clean, but the Trojan horse is found in a crack application that serializes the program,” Intego’s advisory reads.

Jan 27 10:22

Man 'finds US troop data' on MP3

A New Zealand man says he found confidential data about US military personnel on an MP3 player he bought from a thrift shop in Oklahoma.

Chris Ogle, 29, said: "The more I look at it, the more I see and the less I think I should be looking."

The files included names and telephone numbers of American soldiers, according to reports by TV New Zealand.

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Jan 26 10:13

Microsoft misses memo, launches DRM-laden mobile music store

Retailers from Amazon to Real have launched their own DRM-free MP3 music stores in recent years. Faced with the competition, Apple finally put the last nail in the coffin of á la carte music DRM earlier this month with the iTunes Store, but don't tell Microsoft. The world's largest software maker just launched a mobile phone-based music store in the UK that charges nearly twice the price for media while offering even fewer rights.

Jan 25 13:09

Worm infects millions of computers worldwide

A new digital plague has hit the Internet, infecting millions of personal and business computers in what seems to be the first step of a multistage attack. The world's leading computer security experts do not yet know who programmed the infection, or what the next stage will be.

In recent weeks a worm, a malicious software program, has swept through corporate, educational and public computer networks around the world. Known as Conficker or Downadup, it is spread by a recently discovered Microsoft Windows vulnerability, by guessing network passwords and by hand-carried consumer gadgets like USB keys.

How to remove the Downadup and Conficker worm

Jan 25 10:38

Most Successful U.S. Startups 2008 - Cuil

I'd hate to see a bad startup.

http://www.quantcast.com/cuil.com

Jan 25 10:26

Monster.com suffers database breach deja vu

For the second time in 18 months, employment search site Monster.com has lost a wealth of personal data belonging to millions of job seekers after its database was illegally accessed.

Jan 24 02:11

Should controversial subjects be banned?

3th June, 2008 | Community Management
Should communities ban the discussion of certain topics?

"It’s a fact that some subjects are more controversial than others."

Jan 23 18:25

Windows 7 put up against Vista and XP in hardcore multicore benchmarks, XP wins

Now that the Windows 7 beta is out, the benchmarks are coming fast and furious, and while 7's been previously found to best XP and Vista during "real-world" tasks, it looks like XP is still the outright speed champ on current hardware.

Jan 23 12:50

SHOULD MEMBER STORIES BE MOVED TO A SEPERATE SECTION?

YES - Promoted stories should have a section of their own.
26% (511 votes)
NO - leave the promoted stories in the main article list.
74% (1478 votes)
Total votes: 1989
Jan 22 18:17

Seagate offers free data recovery for faulty drives, new firmware

Seagate Technology LLC today is offering free data-recovery services for customers who purchased the company's Barracuda 7200.11 desktop hard drive through December 2008. A firmware bug in those drives has produced a high number of failures.

According to users on Seagate's online support forum the drives tend to freeze for about 30 seconds during I/O transfers of streaming video or when reading or writing files at low speeds.

"We're offering free data recovery because the information on the drives is not deleted. It's just rendered inaccessible by this suspect firmware," said Seagate spokesman Michael Hall.

Jan 22 18:10

MAC HACKERS - Pirated iWork '09 installer may contain trojan horse

Intego, makers of VirusBarrier and other security software for the Macintosh, issued a security alert for Mac users on Thursday, advising them about the existence of a new Trojan Horse, which they’ve named OSX.Trojan.iServices.A. This new Trojan Horse can be found in pirated copies of Apple’s iWork ‘09 application suite, which has been downloaded over 20,000 times, according to Intego’s numbers.

When installing an infected pirated copy of iWork ‘09, an extra iWorkServices package is installed; this installation begins as soon as the user launches the iWork ‘09 installer. This package is installed as a system-wide startup item, where it has read-write permissions as root. In other words, this code can do anything to any part of the system, with full authorization.

Jan 21 19:06

Credit Card Processor Says Some Data Was Stolen

Heartland Payment Systems, a major payment processing company, disclosed a data breach on Monday that potentially exposed tens of millions of credit and debit cardholders to the risk of fraud in what could quickly become one of the country’s biggest data compromises.
Your Money Guides
Identity Theft »

Robert H. B. Baldwin Jr., Heartland’s president and chief financial officer, said that his company believed the card numbers, expiration dates, and in some cases cardholder names were exposed after attacks on its computer systems at the one point where data had been unencrypted.

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Jan 19 14:16

New RFID Technology Allows You to be Tracked WITHOUT Your Knowledge

By invitation, I recently visited a remote facility in northern Virginia to see a demonstration of NOX – a new Intelligent Perimeter Defense system deployed by the FBI that uses covert Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to track people and assets without their knowledge.

That’s right, using RFID to track people without their knowledge. This system is exactly what the privacy advocates have long feared: Big Brother tracking us with spy chips.

Jan 19 13:38

Windows virus infects 9m computers

The number of Windows computers infected with the new "downadup" worm – also known as "Conficker" and "Kido" – has exploded to almost 9 million worldwide, from roughly 2.4m last Thursday, according to the computer security company F-Secure.

The growth in the number of infected machines – which the company's researchers called "just amazing" – makes it one of the worst malware outbreaks of the past five years. The principal targets are corporate Windows servers belonging to small businesses who have not installed security updates released by Microsoft last October. F-Secure estimates that a third of all potentially vulnerable systems have not had the update.

Jan 19 13:37

Banks slip through virus loophole

Is my money safe? A quiet rule change allows British banks to refuse to compensate the victims of online fraud if they do not have "up-to-date" anti-virus protection, says Danny Bradbury

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Jan 18 19:22

Virus ‘sends RAF e-mails to Russia’

THE Ministry of Defence is investigating a major breach in security amid claims that all e-mail traffic from a number of RAF stations has been sent to a Russian internet server.

The e-mails were allegedly diverted to the Russian sender by a worm virus that entered the MoD systems 12 days ago bringing down computers and blocking e-mail communications across the military.

Jan 18 11:33

Are These Pro-Israel Mobbing Technologies RICO violations? Or Even Treason?

It could be argued, and substanitated with much evidence that, since 911, this war we have been fighting for Israel has destroyed America...it's economy, its military, its constitution, its people; and pursuing this agenda, using these techniques and technoliges...to aid a foreign power, is treason.

Jan 14 10:08

Net-Worm.Win32.Kido

Status : moderate risk

Kaspersky Lab has detected that multiple variants of Kido, a polymorphic worm, are currently spreading widely.

Net-Worm.Win32.Kido exploits a critical vulnerability (MS08-067) in Microsoft Windows to spread via local networks and removable storage media.

The worm disables system restore, blocks access to security websites, and downloads additional malware to infected machines.

Users are strongly recommended to ensure their antivirus databases are up to date. A patch for the vulnerability is available from Microsoft.

Jan 13 11:17

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 drives failing

SEAGATE'S FLAGSHIP desktop Barracuda 7200.11 drives, in particular the 1TB (ST31000340AS) units, are failing at an alarming rate and prompting outrage from their faithful customers.

A new self-bricking feature apparently resides in faulty firmware microcode which will rear its ugly head sometime at boot detection. Essentially the drive will be working as normal for a while, then - out of the blue - it'll brick itself to death. The next time you reboot your computer the drive will simply lock itself up as a failsafe and won't be detected by the BIOS. In other words, there's power, spin-up, but no detection to enable booting.

Jan 10 05:00

Did We Just Have Our i-911... And Is An i-Patriot Act On It's Way?

Former Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke told a leading expert on internet free speech, Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, that there was going to be an "i-9/11", in other words, an electronic terrorist act, and an "i-Patriot Act" to crack down on freedoms on the Internet under the guise of protecting against such threats:

There’s going to be an i-9/11 event. Which doesn’t necessarily mean an Al Qaeda attack, it means an event where the instability or the insecurity of the internet becomes manifest during a malicious event which then inspires the government into a response. You’ve got to remember that after 9/11 the government drew up the Patriot Act within 20 days and it was passed.

Jan 09 08:03

British tax payers struck by phishing scam

British newspapers are warning their readers of a phishing scam that has been spread via spam email, telling recipients that they have been awarded a tax refund from the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).

The phishing attacks have been seen arriving from faked addresses such as refundtax@hmrc.gov.co.uk or taxrefund@hmrc.gov.uk, and the fact that it is being seen so much now is no surprise. January 31st is the deadline for self-assessment forms to be filed with the HMRC, and some taxpayers will be hoping for a rebate.

Of course, for many people it’s a dream come to true to think that they might actually be getting some money back from the tax man rather than having to give money to the Inland Revenue, so it’s not surprising if people might eagerly click on the link without thinking of the possible consequences.

Jan 09 07:53

Kiwis rally opposition to NZ copyright bill

Borrowing the "Not in My Name" slogan popularized by anti-war and pro-Palestinian activists, New Zealand's newborn Creative Freedom Foundation is leading a petition drive to block implementation of copyright legislation slated to take effect at the end of February. Critics charge that Section 92 of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act, enacted this past April, requires ISPs to act on a principle of "guilt upon accusation," cutting off the Internet connections of users merely alleged to be violating copyright.

Jan 09 07:50

Taxing ISPs to Prop Up Failing Newspapers?

We recently noted how the RIAA has created an entirely new organization tasked with pushing the idea of collective music licensing, applying a $5-$10 "piracy tax" to consumer broadband bills, regardless of whether you pirate or not. The idea has several critical problems, not least of which being that it rewards the music industry for their failure to adapt, but it also opens the door to every single industry impacted by piracy (music, film, porn, gaming, literature) to begin demanding their own tax.

Mike Masnick at Techdirt notes that it didn't take long for other collapsing business models to start putting their hand out. Canadian website Macleans recently published an article suggesting that because it's getting harder to make money in the news business, failing newspapers should be compensated for their losses by applying an ISP tax. Of course the ISPs won't pay it, you will.

Jan 09 07:43

Why police hackers are a threat to your privacy

Imagine if the Home Office decided that the best way to fight terrorism was to ban curtains.

"Hang on!" we'd say. "That means Creepy Dave across the road will be able to see me in my underpants!"

The Home Office would nod sagely. "That's true, but you know who else has curtains? Terrorists! Terrorists and gangsters! So it's curtains for curtains!"

The Home Office hasn't banned curtains just yet, but it's getting closer. Over the weekend we discovered that incoming legislation means that the police will be able to install spyware on anybody's PC without asking the courts for permission. Inevitably it's to fight terrorism, organised crime and Gary Glitter.

Jan 08 21:40

UK e-mail law 'attack on rights'

Rules forcing internet companies to keep details of every e-mail sent in the UK are a waste of money and an attack on civil liberties, critics say.

From March all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will by law have to keep information about every e-mail sent or received in the UK for a year.

The government will pay the ISPs more than £25m to ensure work runs smoothly.

The Home Office insists the data, which does not include e-mails' content, is vital for crime and terror inquiries.

Jan 08 17:52

Hacking Godfather 'Maksik' Sentenced to 30 Years by Turkish Court

A Ukrainian cybercrime lord linked to nearly every major breach of U.S. retail networks in the past four years was sentenced this week to 30 years in prison by a Turkish court.

The Turks got him for hacking into banks. If all hackers got prison time, especially in a Turkish prison, they would quickly become a rare breed.

Jan 06 20:06

Classmates malware attack poses as school reunion invite

Remember the days of the old school yard? You may prefer to forget them, but many people are nostalgic for the days of grazed knees, poor food and double geography.

A new malware campaign seen in the last few days plays on the popularity of websites like Classmates.com and FriendsReunited, by posing as an invitation to an imminent school reunion.

Jan 05 10:38

How the Megaphonies manipulate the internet

IsraeliGirl. Here's her user profile page.
http://digg.com/users/israeligirl

On that page, in the about section, it says:

I've been a marketing consultant to high tech companies for the last 10 years. I am also one of the founders of giyus.org, a pro-Israeli public diplomacy group.

So I went to GIYUS.org to see what kind of a group it is. There homepage is as you might expect.
http://giyus.org/

GIYUS it turns out is an acronym for Give Israel Your United Support. And here is what is displayed on the front page of GIYUS.org.

Today's conflicts are won by public opinion.
Now is the time to be active and voice Israel's side to the world.

Join the effort in 3 easy steps:

1. Download and install Megaphone desktop tool
2. Receive desktop alerts on key articles and surveys
3. Click alerts to easily voice your opinion

Help us by reporting relevant articles and surveys.

Together we can make a difference!

Jan 04 09:23

Phishing Scam Spreading on Twitter

A few minutes ago, I received a direct message from one of my twitter followers:

hey! check out this funny blog about you… jannawalitax . blogspot . com

And there’s another one:

Hey, i found a website with your pic on it… LOL check it out here twitterblog . access-logins . com / login

DO NOT VISIT the URL in question. It will redirect you immediately to a suspicious domain: twitter . access-logins . com - notice the subdomain?

Jan 04 09:19

Police set to step up hacking of home PCs

THE Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant.

The move, which follows a decision by the European Union’s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives “a coach and horses” through privacy laws.

The hacking is known as “remote searching”. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room.

Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.

Jan 03 20:55

How MySpace's New 'Pay Per Click' Ads Rob Artists

Any bands or solo artists out there thinking about trying MySpace's new "MySpace Ads" advertising campaign? Think again.

What MySpace is doing, in my opinion, is nothing short of a scam. Because, in the end, for most of us, what they're promoting is nothing close to what you'll get.

Jan 02 07:34

UK: Private firm to guard database of every phone call, e-mail

A contentious proposal to create a massive database of communications metadata in the United Kingdom has just become even more controversial. According to reports in the British press, a "consultation paper" laying out the plan, slated for release in January, contemplates outsourcing the maintenance of the database to private-sector firms. The proposal has already come under fire from civil liberties groups, the European human rights commissioner, and former public officials.

Jan 02 07:28

FBI posts fake Child Porn hyperlinks to snare child porn suspects

A CNET News.com review of legal documents shows that courts have approved of this technique, even though it raises questions about entrapment, the problems of identifying who's using an open wireless connection--and whether anyone who clicks on a FBI link that contains no child pornography should be automatically subject to a dawn raid by federal police.

Dec 30 08:17

Slysoft re-cracks BD+

SLYSOFT HAS DONE IT again with their highly recommended AnyDVD HD product. The new version 6.5.0.2, announced today, breaks the new revision of the unbreakable BD+.

For those of you not following this one-sided fight, Blu-Ray movies do a lot of very unfortunate things, like stripping your fair use rights, preventing backups (no one has kids or pets that maul disks), being incompatible with boatloads of hardware, and transmitting every viewing, every click, and every thing you do back to who-knows-where to be used against you. Really, they do that, why do you think net access is mandatory?

Dec 30 08:13

Microsoft specs out 'pay as you go' PC scheme

Microsoft Corp. last week applied for a patent that spells out a "pay as you go" concept under which users would be charged for both the software they run and the computing horsepower they use.

According to the patent application filed last week with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the "Metered Pay-As-You-Go Computing Experience" scheme would meter software use and access to specific computer hardware. Fees would be charged against a prepaid or billed account.

Dec 27 21:26

U.S. Hosts Most Malware Spreading Sites

The U.S. in 2008 hosted the most websites that spread malware in the world, with China following close behind, according to a new security threat report.

The U.S. hosts 37 percent of all such sites, while China (including Hong Kong) comes in second with 27.7 percent, as Russia with 9.1 percent rounds out the top three.

Dec 24 07:30

Windows XP Extensions Reflect Vista's Woes

Microsoft in the past week announced yet another life extension for its supposedly retired Windows XP operating system, a sign that, despite almost two years on the market, Windows Vista is a no-go for most businesses.

Only 10% of 700 business executives recently surveyed by the Information Technology Industry Council and Sunbelt Software said their companies are using Windows Vista in the enterprise.

The numbers are consistent with other industry data and anecdotal observations.

Dec 23 19:03

Australian 'Net filter testing set, will include P2P

Australia's Minister of Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy (BCDE), Stephen Conroy, appears to have recognized that his country's plan to install mandatory content filters at the ISP level is causing a public backlash. Conroy has set up several FAQs that describe the program in detail, and has even started defending the program on the departmental blog.

Dec 17 23:17

Google AdWords Isn’t Perfect! Serves Up Phishing Sites & Malware

News flash folks, Google AdWords is not perfect and can be exploited. There are times when people can go into the AdWords system and trick Google into serving up ads for phishing sites and malware downloads. Yes, this happens and happens often enough.

Dec 17 23:17

Google AdWords Isn’t Perfect! Serves Up Phishing Sites & Malware

News flash folks, Google AdWords is not perfect and can be exploited. There are times when people can go into the AdWords system and trick Google into serving up ads for phishing sites and malware downloads. Yes, this happens and happens often enough.

Dec 17 22:06

Hackers Sell Facebook Profiles For 89p

With Christmas season at its peak, hackers are stealing details of Facebook profiles and selling them to cybercriminal gangs for just 89p each, according to a new research study.

These gangs would use these crucial details to launch “spam” messages to the computer users, urging them to visit counterfeit video or image links.

These malicious links, when clicked, infect users’ computers with malware and spyware viruses that can track keystrokes entered, along with other significant information, such as usernames and passwords of online bank accounts.

Dec 17 21:43

Microsoft issues emergency IE patch as attacks escalate

Microsoft has issued a rare emergency update for its Internet Explorer browser as miscreants stepped up attacks targeting a vulnerability on hundreds of thousands of webpages.

In many cases, the websites distributing the toxic payload are legitimate destinations that have been commandeered, allowing an attacker to snare victims as they surf to online banks, forums, and other trusted sites. There are at least six distinct versions of attack code circulating in the wild, according to researchers at iDefense, a security lab owned by VeriSign.

Dec 17 21:43

Microsoft issues emergency IE patch as attacks escalate

Microsoft has issued a rare emergency update for its Internet Explorer browser as miscreants stepped up attacks targeting a vulnerability on hundreds of thousands of webpages.

In many cases, the websites distributing the toxic payload are legitimate destinations that have been commandeered, allowing an attacker to snare victims as they surf to online banks, forums, and other trusted sites. There are at least six distinct versions of attack code circulating in the wild, according to researchers at iDefense, a security lab owned by VeriSign.

Dec 15 21:37

Labor plan to censor internet in shreds

The Government's plan to censor the internet is in tatters, with Australia's largest ISP saying it will not take part in live trials of the system and the second largest committing only to a scaled-back trial.

And the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, has written to critics saying that the so-called "live" trials would be "a closed network test and will not involve actual customers". Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said this was a sign the Government was slowly backing away from the heavily criticised policy.

Dec 15 20:00

RIAA Seeking $1 Million in Damages from a Student for Sharing 7 Songs on Kazaa

Today in Rhode Island federal court we are going to see yet another lawsuit with RIAA as one party and a person who seems to be randomly chosen to punish for abusing copyright of record labels. And while I myself usually support content producers everywhere I can, RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) with the ridiculous lawsuits everywhere seems to forget about any common sense at all quite often.

Dec 15 10:54

Internet Explorer users under attack

A friendly note to all Internet Explorer users …

If you’re using IE (any version, ranging from 5.01 t0 8.0 beta 2) then you need to be aware of a new vulnerability which is set to become a big problem over the next few days.

I’m not going to rehash the details of this vulnerability other than to say that it’s pretty serious and has the scope to affect a massive number of users.

Dec 15 10:50

MPAA to Obama: censor the Internet, kick people off the Internet, break other countries' Internet

Tim Jones of the Electronic Frontier Foundation has some good commentary on the news that the MPAA has asked Obama to spy on the entire Internet, and to establish a system where being accused of copyright infringement would result in loss of your Internet connection (and your VoIP line, your access to your university, your lifeline to your parents in the old country, your means of participating in civic life, your means of fighting your parking ticket, etc etc etc). The MPAA also wants Obama to lean on other countries (notably Canada!) and force them to adopt US copyright laws.

Dec 15 10:47

Google cranks up the Consensus Engine

Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. It's a historic statement - and nobody has yet grasped its significance.

Dec 15 10:44

Windows XP: The OS That Won't Quit

Phasing out an old operating system is nothing new for Microsoft, but Windows XP is unique in that it may be too good to die.

This week, Dell announced it will offer systems with the aging Windows XP for a surcharge of US$150 over the newer Windows Vista--this only five months after it stopped offering XP on its Inspiron consumer desktop and laptop PCs.

The deadline for Windows XP downgrades has been pushed back twice now, remaining in effect until July 31, 2009-a strong indication that enough users want to stay with the aging XP rather than give Vista a chance.

Dec 15 10:41

Sony's PS3 A Sinking Ship: Sales Plummet

So why is the PS3 flopping so badly?

It's the most expensive console on the market, $150 - $200 more than its rivals. Even if you believe the video game industry is "recession-proof" (it isn't), a tanking economy makes consumers more price-conscious.

The PS3's big bonus is its ability to double as a Blu-Ray player. Too bad no one seems to care about hi-def DVDs. The differences between Blu-Ray and DVD are hard to see on a TV less than 50".

Dec 15 10:41

Sony's PS3 A Sinking Ship: Sales Plummet

So why is the PS3 flopping so badly?

It's the most expensive console on the market, $150 - $200 more than its rivals. Even if you believe the video game industry is "recession-proof" (it isn't), a tanking economy makes consumers more price-conscious.

The PS3's big bonus is its ability to double as a Blu-Ray player. Too bad no one seems to care about hi-def DVDs. The differences between Blu-Ray and DVD are hard to see on a TV less than 50".

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