NewsBits for March 18, 2003 sponsored by, Southeast Cybercrime Institute - ************************************************************ U.S. Heightens Cybersecurity Monitoring The Department of Homeland Security is boosting efforts to monitor the Internet for cyberterrorist and hacking incidents as the nation readies for war against Iraq. The announcement was tied to the department's decision last night to raise the national terrorist threat level to "code orange," indicating a high risk of terrorist attack. The level was raised after President Bush set a 48-hour deadline for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to leave his country or face a U.S.-led invasion.,10801,79483,00.html - - - - - - - - - - US Army attacked via new Windows flaw Update: In an unusual case, attackers have begun exploiting a new Microsoft bug before the flaw was widely known. Microsoft is urging sites to patch their servers as quickly as possible. Microsoft warned customers on Monday that a security hole in Windows 2000 and the company's Web server software is allowing online attackers to take control of corporate servers. Because the vulnerability is being actively exploited by Internet vandals, Microsoft advised customers to apply a patch or use a workaround to defend against the attack as soon as possible.,,t269-s2132071,00.html,10801,79478,00.html Computer Risk Redefined After 'Zero-Day' Attack - - - - - - - - - - Tiscali UK downed by 'external attack' Tiscali UK was knocked out this afternoon after the ISP came under attack from Internet saboteurs. The company experienced a massive Denial of Service assault that downed the ISP's portal, Net access and email services. The full details behind the attack are not known. However, in a statement the company said: "Tiscali has been subject to an external attack on our network. - - - - - - - - - - Student owns up to Texas Univ. cyber-heist A University of Texas student has been charged with hacking offences following a computer break-in at the university earlier this month that lead to the disclosure of 55,200 past and present University of Texas faculty members and students. Christopher Andrew Phillips, 20, who was charged last week with "unauthorised access to a protected computer and using the Social Security number of another person to commit a federal offence", turned himself over to the authorities (the US Secret Service) last Friday, University newspaper The Daily Texan reports. - - - - - - - - - - Australians hit by online bank fraud Some customers of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia have been fooled into revealing client numbers and passwords. A domain-name provider has also been hit. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has revealed that some customers have been tricked into revealing their online banking client numbers and passwords after receiving a spam mail claiming to be from the bank.,,t269-s2132087,00.html - - - - - - - - - - Email scammers target Nochex users A bogus email doing the rounds this week tries to trick Nochex customers into giving up their account passwords and bank card details. The email, which purports to come from the payment service, tries to convince punters that they need to send this data as part of a supposed security check. A quick glance at the headers reveals that the email has nothing to do with Nochex, but the work of unknown fraudsters. The scam is in many ways similar to a PayPal scam we reported last week. That too tried to fool punters into giving up bank card details via a bogus email. PayPal scam ... credit online ... performance spam (NandoTimes article, free registration required) - - - - - - - - - - Alleged tax scam uses free computer as lure After Kelly Brown ran out of patience waiting for her tax refund last month, she called the state Revenue Department to see what had happened to it. Brown was told that because she had moved, her check would be sent to her direct deposit bank account. That came as a surprise, since she had been living at the same address for five years. And she doesn't have that kind of bank account, either. - - - - - - - - - - Transient charged in child porn case A transient who is a registered sex offender in two states faces federal child pornography charges for using a library computer at Montana State University- Billings to access the illegal material. Grady Ewing Mays, 51, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with one count of possession of child pornography and one count of receipt of obscene materials. The maximum penalty for possession of child pornography is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. - - - - - - - - - - Man Pleads Guilty to Child Porn; His Wife Awaits Trial A Clearfield man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to taking sexually explicit photos of two girls at least 67 times. His wife, who faces the same charges, awaits an April trial. A woman living with the Williamses found sexually explicit pictures on the family's computer and contacted Clearfield Police on March 30, 2002. The pictures showed a 9-year-old girl and 7-year-old girl in sexual positions. - - - - - - - - - - Former priest convicted of possessing child pornography Sentencing is June 6 for James Beine, a former priest and St. Louis public school counselor found guilty today of possessing child pornography. Beine, 61, sat impassively as jurors returned their verdict in U.S. District Court. He could get about 33 months in prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton. Beine did not testify at his two-day trial. A federal indictment returned last year said Beine had kiddie porn on a computer disc he had hoped a friend would destroy. Police recovered the disc from the friend's home near Arnold. - - - - - - - - - - Text spammer fined PS40k A Gibraltar-based premium-rate spam text operator has been fined a total of PS40,000 ($63,000) for breaching guidelines. Premium-rate phone service regulator ICSTIS ruled against Kast Investment Ltd in three separate instances dishing out fines totalling PS40,000 after it received complaints about an unsolicited text telling UK punters they had been selected to receive a "PS400 reward". However, people could only claim their "reward" if they called a premium rate number. - - - - - - - - - - Federal judge rules hacker covered by informant laws A federal judge ruled Monday that a Canadian computer hacker who provided authorities with diary entries and other information that led to the arrest of an Orange County judge on child pornography charges was acting as a police informant. The ruling triggers Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches and could lead to all evidence against former Santa Ana Superior Court Judge Ronald C. Kline being thrown out, according to Kline's attorney, Paul Meyer. Federal prosecutors declined to comment. - - - - - - - - - - Industry Targets File Swappers' Employers The RIAA sends letters to about 300 companies, warning of 'significant legal damages.' In their latest bid to crack down on Internet music piracy, major record labels have targeted about 300 companies whose computers were used by employees to feed file-swapping networks. The Recording Industry Assn. of America sent letters to the companies in the last week, informing them of the alleged piracy and warning of "significant legal damages" for employees and employers alike -- though the letters make no explicit threat to sue.,1,4897793.story,,t269-s2132072,00.html,1367,58100,00.html Record industry accuses BT of aiding pirates,,t269-s2132085,00.html Online music pirates dodge capture - - - - - - - - - - Putnam to continue security grading The man who originated them may be gone, but agencies still will receive grades on their information practices and policies from Congress in the coming years. Information security and how agencies manage it will be a top priority for the House Government Reform Committee's Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census Subcommittee, said Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), its new chairman. Experts repeat: Security is a peoplenot technologyproblem A survey released today by the Computing Technology Industry Association showed that nearly two-thirds of reported security breaches were primarily the result of human error. The results match the findings of a new House panel focusing on IT, said Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) Most of the problems associated with cybersecurity are management issues, said Putnam, chairman of the new House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census. Its a people problem.,10801,79485,00.html - - - - - - - - - - Task force targets child porn Multiagency effort envisions arrests of hundreds in Western Washington. A recent surge in child- pornography arrests in Western Washington is expected to accelerate as investigators follow up on information revealing that thousands of people in the state are customers of child-porn sites on the Internet. In recent weeks, authorities have made arrests in Kitsap, Jefferson and Snohomish counties, with members of the Seattle-based Internet Crimes Against Children task force key in those cases. - - - - - - - - - - Sheriff's unit searches computers to bust criminals People lie, but Gary Ellsworth knows computers don't. "I used to talk to people all the time and wonder if they were telling me the truth," said Ellsworth, a former Major Crimes detective who specialized in child pornography cases. "But with a computer, it either is or it isn't. It won't lie to you." Ellsworth and Debbie Bowe, another former Major Crimes detective, comprise the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office's computer forensics unit. They retrieve information from computers to aid in criminal investigations. Most of their work is combing hard drives for evidence, especially child pornography. "It's something that's gotta be done, like an autopsy," Bowe said. - - - - - - - - - - Hunting porn, image by image Law demands all evidence be viewed. Child pornography disturbs even seasoned officers. It's 9 a.m. Beneath the glare of fluorescent lights, Detective Constable John Smith is trawling through photos of child pornography on his laptop. At the same time, he is monitoring two flickering televisions stationed atop a filing cabinet, playing movies at high speed. Brown cardboard boxes from recent busts are piled around his desk. He's on his third hour, methodically categorizing a collection belonging to a professor he recently arrested. He has uncovered more than 10,000 videos, photographs and stories on one computer alone. The house, he says, had four machines. - - - - - - - - - - Would-be cable pirates conned Auction sites are flooded with sales of so-called Universal digital Cable TV descramblers. For a small price, buyers are told, they can see all the pay-per-view sports and movies they want. Free boxing, free Playboy, all for $10. Needless to say, theres a very big catch. THE DEVICES, which look like small coaxial cable couplers, actually do work but only for a short while. In a twist, would-be pirates end up feeling cheated when they are stuck with big cable bills. - - - - - - - - - - Virus writer profile--lonely, obsessive Male. Obsessed with computers. Lacks a girlfriend. Aged 14 to 34. Capable of sowing chaos worldwide. That is the profile of the average computer-virus writer, according to one anti-virus executive. About 1,000 viruses are created every month by virus writers increasingly intent on targeting new operating systems, said Jan Hruska, the chief executive of U.K.-based Sophos, one of the world's largest anti-virus companies. "So far, we've seen no indication of decreased interest in virus writing." In almost all cases, virus writers are computer- obsessed males between the ages of 14 to 34 years, he said.,,t269-s2132078,00.html - - - - - - - - - - Linux firms look to plug Samba hole The open-source community is pushing customers to patch their systems to close a hole in a software component that allows Windows programs to store and retrieve files on Linux and Unix servers. Known as Samba, the popular software can be found on many workstations and servers running any one of the variety of flavors of Linux and Unix, including systems running Apple OS X. Members of the Samba team planned to announce the vulnerability on Tuesday, but they released information over the weekend because some believed a Web site break-in in Germany may have been attributed to the software. - - - - - - - - - - Does the End Justify the Means? That country's military junta has blocked Internet access to Wired News, as well as to most porn sites and to the website of the Free Burma Coalition. If you're in China or Saudi Arabia, you'll have a hard time viewing anti-government websites and Internet porn. And if you're surfing the Net from one of 40 percent of the libraries or schools in the United States, don't expect access to websites hosted on Tripod or Geocities.,1283,58082,00.html - - - - - - - - - - Remote Desktop Management Solution for Microsoft One of the many challenges facing Microsoft administrators is how to manage remote systems in a secure manner? In the world of the UNIX the answer is quite simple: using the SSH protocol is sufficient. Thanks to the SSH, we can manage remote systems not only in the text mode, but we can also run remote X-Window applications by using the protocol tunneling technique. And all of that by using strong cryptography, which protects transmitted data from unauthorized access. Unfortunately, providing secure remote access to the MS Windows systems is not as easy. - - - - - - - - - - We'd love to go wireless but what about security? European businesses are keen to embrace wireless technologies, in all their flavours, but doubts about security are continuing to act as a brake on wider usage of wireless LANs. That's the main finding of a study by researcher Frost & Sullivan on attitudes towards the adoption of wireless technology in the enterprise and perceptions of vendors and operators. London is a wireless hacker's playground - - - - - - - - - - L.A. police plan to deploy WLANs to boost bandwidth Heightened homeland security requirements demand higher-bandwidth communications systems for public safety agencies, and to meet that demand, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) plans to install 27 wireless LANs at police stations throughout the city within the next three months, according to Roger Ham, deputy chief for communications at the LAPD.,10801,79488,00.html *********************************************************** Computer Forensics Training - Online. An intense, 150 hour, instructor lead program that teaches you computer forensics and helps prepare you for the Certified Computer Examiner exam. 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