30 November 2011

Man probed for spying on wife

A millionaire Pretoria businessman is at the centre of a criminal investigation over the alleged illegal interception of his estranged wife's private e-mails, SMSes and BlackBerry messages, or BBMs
The hacking was first suspected when Dr Graham Hefer filed divorce proceedings against his wife Denise. According to the report, court documents in that case seemed to show that Hefer had access to more than 50 BBMs, a dozen SMSes and at least five e-mails between Denise and others this year. Hefer (48) is accused of installing spyware software on 49-year-old Denise's BlackBerry, says the report which notes this is said to have allowed real-time monitoring of her communication and her whereabouts, and for eavesdropping on her private conversations. These included discussions with her lawyer.

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BCS: Government cyber security strategy lacks framework

The government needs to produce a "framework" for its recently published UK Cyber Security Strategy if it is to succeed, according to the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

The BCS said a framework is needed to clarify for businesses and individuals where accountability, liability and redress lie when cyber crimes are committed affecting online transactions. The BCS says other areas must also be covered to support the cyber security strategy.

The cyber security strategy was published last week and includes the creation of a new cyber crime unit that will sit with the National Crime Agency.

The cyber security strategy also outlines the creation of a new Joint Cyber Unit hosted by GCHQ, which aims to develop the UK's military cyber security capabilities. In addition, the government is introducing a single system for reporting financially-motivated cyber crime through the existing Action Fraud reporting centre.

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Foreign hackers targeted Canadian firms

A leading cyber-crime expert says foreign hackers who launched a massive attack on Canadian government computers last fall also broke into the data systems of prominent Bay Street law firms and other companies to get insider information on an attempted $38-billion corporate takeover.
The cyber-forensics guru with prominent clients around the world calls the assault on Canadian companies and the government "one of the biggest attacks we have ever seen."
The hackers appeared to have been hunting exclusively for information on the Potash deal, and there was no evidence they had penetrated the confidential files of other clients of the firms affected.

The hackers used the same so-called "spear-phishing" technique to break into otherwise highly protected computers in the government, law firms and other companies hit by the attacks.

The hackers sent each target organization a series of emails purporting to be from senior federal officials or firms involved in the PotashCorp deal.

When infected email attachments were opened, they embedded in the target computer network so-called "malware" specifically designed to gather information on the PotashCorp deal.

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Suspicion in Iran that Stuxnet caused Revolutionary Guards base explosions

Exhaustive investigations into the deadly explosion last Saturday, Nov. 12 of the Sejil-2 ballistic missile at the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Alghadir base point increasingly to a technical fault originating in the computer system controlling the missile and not the missile itself. The head of Iran's ballistic missile program Maj. Gen. Hassan Moghaddam was among the 36 officers killed in the blast which rocked Tehran 46 kilometers away.
(Tehran reported 17 deaths although 36 funerals took place.)

Iranian intelligence heads entertain two initial theories to account for the sudden calamity: a) that Western intelligence service or the Israeli Mossad managed to plant a technician among the missile program's personnel and he signaled the computer to order the missile to explode; or b), a theory which they find more plausible, that the computer controlling the missile was infected with the Stuxnet virus which misdirected the missile into blowing without anyone present noticing anything amiss until it was too late.
It is the second theory which has got Iran's leaders really worried because it means that, in the middle of spiraling tension with the United States and Israel or their nuclear weapons program, their entire Shahab 3 and Sejil 2 ballistic missile arsenal is infected and out of commission until minute tests are completed. Western intelligence sources told DEBKAfilethat Iran's supreme armed forces chief Gen. Hassan Firouz-Abadi was playing for time when he announced this week that the explosion had "only delayed by two weeks the manufacturing of an experimental product by the Revolutionary Guards which could be a strong fist in the face of arrogance (the United States) and the occupying regime (Israel)."


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29 November 2011

Facebook groomer jailed for sex assault on 13-year-old

A Rochdale man who groomed and sexually assaulted a girl he met on Facebook has been jailed for three years.

Arran Akhtar, 19, of Lower Fallinge, contacted the 13-year-old from Rossendale on the social networking site, before inviting her to his home.

He pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and a sexual assault at Burnley Crown Court.

He was sentenced to three years and put on the sex offenders register.

The victim has shown tremendous courage in coming forward and giving evidence at court.

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Abusive internet post leaves B.C. teen 'disgusted'

A B.C. teenager says she can't get the owners of a U.S. website to take down allegedly libellous and hurtful comments someone has posted about her.

Jordin Steele, 19, of Kamloops, says that although her reputation is at stake, she’s been told there's not much she can do to force the California-based website to comply.

The website openly solicits readers to "submit dirt" about other people.

Steele said she felt sick to her stomach when she saw the nasty comments someone posted about her online.

"I was appalled and disgusted by all the stuff that was written on there," she said, after being notified of the posting by a friend.

Someone had taken pictures of Steele and her boyfriend from her Facebook page and made up a story implying that she was grossly promiscuous and he was possibly a pedophile.

Steele said she emailed the website last week and asked to have the comments removed, but the post was still there Monday.

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UK govt to ban criminals, cyber bullies from Net

Criminals who commit offences online and cyber bullies will be banned from the internet as part of British government's new cyber security strategy.

The government's new cyber security strategy calls for police and courts to make more use of existing "cyber sanctions" to restrict access to the social networks and instant messaging services in cases of hacking, fraud and online bullying.

Sex offenders and those convicted of harrassment or anti-social behaviour also face more Internet restrictions under the new strategy.

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HSE investigating possible cyber-bullying

FISHERS -Hamilton Southeastern school district officials are taking action on a new report of cyber-bullying.

In 24 hours, a string of caustic, malicious messages and tweets embroiled the students at Hamilton Southeastern High School. The origin of the corrosive language was an anonymous account on Twitter called "The Royal Rag," that caught the attention of police via a new tip line.

The Royal Rag is a swipe at HSE, whose school nickname is the Royals. If the author's intentions were to start an all-out cyber war, he or she succeeded, with responses from others.

Within hours of The Royal Rag starting, two other accounts sprang up and before long, the war of words was in full bloom. The language in many of the tweets was too graphic for television, but it is important to point out that none of them threatened violence. But they crossed the line from simple teasing to downright hate.

It put the school in a position of attempting to regulate students' behavior outside of the classroom.

The anonymous Twitter accounts were taken down quickly, making it almost impossible for police and the school to find the person or persons responsible.

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Death threat via Facebook

STORIES of friends "hijacking" their friends' Facebook accounts and posting "out-of-character" comments on an idle phone or computer are common and largely harmless.

But when a 14-year-old Grafton boy's Facebook account was hacked last Thursday by some kind of remote software, the perpetrator had more malicious intent.

The unknown hacker started chatting to the boy's female friends and became overtly suggestive about a potential sexual relationship, the boy's parents told The Daily Examiner.

When the girl "twigged" that the comments were not being made by the boy she told the hacker she knew it wasn't the boy "chatting".

"That's when it came out that this person was concerned that (the boy) was interested in a girl that he (the hacker) was interested in," the boy's stepfather said.

The hacker then told the girl that he was going to kill the boy whose Facebook profile he was using and rape another girl, he said.

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Hain Warned Computer May Have Been Hacked

Police have told Labour MP Peter Hain that private detectives employed by News International may have hacked his computer while he was Northern Ireland Secretary.

Scotland Yard is also examining evidence that senior civil servants and intelligence agents may also have been victims of hacking.

During his two years in the role, from May 2005 to 2007, Mr Hain would have had access to highly sensitive information including details about informers.

Police are to ask Mr Hain to confirm material obtained by investigators came from his computer.

Mr Hain is the Labour MP for Neath and shadow Welsh Secretary.

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Feds Shut Down 150 Websites in Counterfeit Probe

U.S. officials used Cyber Monday to announce court orders shutting down 150 domain names of commercial websites they say were selling “many millions” of dollars worth of counterfeit goods. Sports jerseys and uniforms, DVDs, shoes and handbags, golf sets and exercise equipment were among the more popular purchases of “knock off” versions of name brand products, officials said.

Investigations show the majority of those engaged in defrauding rights-holding companies and consumers are from China, but the phony goods are also produced in other countries, according to top law enforcement officials. The officials say they conduct undercover purchases with the help of legitimate rights holders to confirm the goods are bogus.

They acknowledge the operators of the websites are beyond the reach of U.S. agents, and when the sites selling counterfeit goods are shut down, the same criminal enterprises sometimes simply change domain names and continue to prey on customers. Officials are concerned that some of the millions of dollars in proceeds may end up in the hands of organized crime.

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28 November 2011

UK Cyber Security Strategy

United Kingdom has released its Cyber Security Strategy. Set four objectives for itself:

Objective 1: Tackling cyber crime and making the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business

Objective 2: Making the UK more resilient to cyber attack and better able to protect our interests in cyberspace

Objective 3: Helping to shape an open, vibrant and stable cyberspace which the UK public can use safely and  that supports open societies

Objective 4: Building the UK’s cross-cutting knowledge, skills and capability to underpin all cyber security objectives

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China's Cyber Threat A High-Stakes Spy Game

The cloak-and-dagger world of corporate espionage is alive and well, and China seems to have the advantage. Their cyber-espionage program is becoming more and more effective at swiping information from America's public and private sectors. The U.S. government has even blamed China publicly for hacking American industries.

The technology and defense industries are the most vulnerable, Lewis says. Those industries are areas China has identified that the nation needs to grow, but Chinese hackers have even broken into and stolen plans from American furniture manufacturers.

New estimates put losses from intellectual property espionage at about a trillion dollars a year, Rogers says. And he says U.S. companies that deal in intellectual property fall into two camps: those that know they've been hacked and those that don't know.

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Hacker demanded job from mega hotel chain

A man who wanted a job with the Marriott hotel chain had a wizard wheeze to get a foot in the door. Attila Nemeth, a 26 year-old Hungarian hacked into the company's servers and threatened to expose its personal data, if the outfit did not give him a job.

Well, to be fair to him, it did grab the bosses' attention but unfortunately, Mr Marriott just got on the blower and called Inspector Knacker of the Yard. Nemeth pleaded guilty to a charge of hacking into Marriott computer systems, and threatening to reveal confidential company information he obtained if Marriott didn't offer him a job.

Nemeth sent an email to Marriott personnel, letting them know that he had been accessing the company's computers for months and had obtained proprietary company information. When they ignored him, Nemeth sent another email, this time containing eight documents, seven of which were confirmed as documents stored on Marriott's systems. In the email he threatened to reveal the information he obtained if Marriott did not give him a job in the company's IT department.

During the course of the "interview," Nemeth admitted that he accessed Marriott's computer systems; stole Marriott's confidential and proprietary information; and initiated the emails to Marriott threatening to publicly release Marriott's data unless he was given a job on his terms by Marriott.

Apparently he gained access using malware sent via email to specific employees at Marriott.

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25 November 2011

Hackers attack PCs using iTunes email offer

LONDON: Criminals are hacking into people's computers by sending a fake email which offers credit for iTunes music, games and video.

Users are told they have been sent 50 dollar worth of iTunes store credit and need to open an attached ZIP file to find out their certificate code.

According to the Eleven security blog, this attached file contains a malware program known as Mal/BredoZp-B which can allow hackers to gain access to the recipient's computer, the BBC reported.

The software opens up a backdoor on the users' computers and may also capture passwords and other information, said PCthreat.com.

It says the code may also slow down the infected computer's performance and make files disappear.

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Government wants to ban potential cyber crooks from the internet

THE TWO HEADED UK coalition Government has published its Cyber Security Strategy and explained how it thinks it can help protect computer systems.

It's rare that governments improve anything by getting involved, but here UK Prime Minister David Cameron thinks that it can really do something positive by talking more to businesses, by changing the way in which crimes are reported and investigated, and by being a lot more draconian.

Source: The Inquirer (http://s.tt/14ckc)

THE TWO HEADED UK coalition Government has published its Cyber Security Strategy and explained how it thinks it can help protect computer systems.

It's rare that governments improve anything by getting involved, but here UK Prime Minister David Cameron thinks that it can really do something positive by talking more to businesses, by changing the way in which crimes are reported and investigated, and by being a lot more draconian.

Increasing dependence on digital technologies has given rise to new risks, says the report, and even easily confused government mandarins are being targeted with malicious emails. Helping fight cyber criminals is a £650m kitty that will be spent over the next four years.

The threat to the UK from politically motivated activist groups operating in cyberspace is real. Attacks on public and private sector websites and online services in the UK orchestrated by 'hacktivists' are becoming more common, aimed at causing disruption, reputational and financial damage, and gaining publicity

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Solid Energy website hacked

Solid Energy's internet system was hacked overnight.

The hackers apparently redirected the Solid Energy website address to another site that featured a DVD of lignite mining.
Solid Energy realised what had happened only when it received calls from journalists this morning. They had received an email pointing them to the Aotearoa Independent Media Centre website which said the Solid Energy website had been hacked.
The company did not believe its website had been compromised, but was double-checking.

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Zardari spokesperson's email account hacked

Islamabad: The email account of Pakistan's presidential spokesman was hacked and used to send out messages regarding the "Memogate" controversy that cost Husain Haqqani his job as envoy to the US.

The email account of Farhatullah Babar, the spokesman for President Asif Ali Zardari, was hacked soon after Haqqani resigned as Ambassador to the US on Tuesday night, sources told PTI.

The email account was then used by the hacker to send a message to some persons with what the hacker claimed was the "real memorandum" purportedly delivered to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen.

Haqqani was asked to resign by the Prime Minister after he was linked to a secret memo sent to Mullen by Pakistani- American businessman Mansoor Ijaz.

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