NewsBits for August 5, 2004 ************************************************************ Romanian hacker indicted in US Calin Mateias accussed of conspiring to steal $10m of computer equipment. US court has indicted a Romanian hacker accused of conspiring to steal $10m of computer equipment from Ingram Micro. Calin Mateias, operating under the name Dr Mengele, allegedly hacked into the computer company's systems and placed fraudulent orders for goods. - - - - - - - - - - Wardriving guilty plea in Lowe's wi-fi case In what prosecutors say is likely the first criminal conviction for wardriving in the U.S., a Michigan man plead guilty Wednesday to a federal misdemeanor for using the Internet through an open wi-fi access point at a Lowe's home improvement store in suburban Detroit. Paul Timmins, 23, pleaded guilty to a single count of unauthorized access to a protected computer. He was cleared of more serious charges of participating in a scheme organized by his roommate and another man to later use the wireless network to hack into Lowe's computers and siphon credit card numbers. - - - - - - - - - - Vostok Media was attacked by hackers Russia, Vladivostok, August 5, 2:30 am local time, a hacking into the website of Information Agency Vostok Media was committed. The information on the arrest of a spammer and the owner of company Alexei Valerievich was placed on the main page of This information was untrue. At 8:30 am local time, the malfunction was removed by efforts of the Farpost company that provides hosting services to Vostok Media. The administration of Vostok Media tenders apologies to visitors of the resource. - - - - - - - - - - Four more Los Alamos employees suspended The probe into missing computer disks from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico widened Wednesday, according to a USA Today report. Four more lab workers have been put on paid leave during the investigation into the two missing disks that contain classified information. The recent action brings the number of suspended employees to 19 due to security risks at the lab. - - - - - - - - - - Oz teen's crime spree financed mobile phone addiction An Australian judge has warned of the possible arrival of a disturbing new trend of teenagers stealing goods to finance their addiction to mobile phones. The warning came as the judge sentenced a 17-year-old thief to two years and three months on probation for a series of robberies. Brisbane District Court heard the youth, whilst still a juvenile, was involved in a gang that stole A$30,000 in cash and goods. - - - - - - - - - - Sheriff misusing FBI computer can't be sued A federal appeals court said this week that the sheriff of Shawnee County, Kan., could not be sued for snooping through an FBI database for dirt on political enemies. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that David Meneley, who was sheriff until being ousted by the state on unrelated corruption charges, was immune from a civil lawsuit filed by Kansas residents he surreptitiously investigated through the FBI's Interstate Identification Index (III). Meneley was hoping to discredit local activists who had organized a petition drive in March 1999 to remove him from office. - - - - - - - - - - Attorneys general put file-sharing software firms on notice A warning letter from more than 40 state attorneys general went out Thursday to seven companies behind online file-sharing software, hinting at possible legal consequences if the firms don't do a better job of informing computer users about the potential risks of using their software. State AGs warn file-sharing companies - - - - - - - - - - FCC Blocks Spam on Wireless Devices The Federal Communications Commission yesterday moved to prevent cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) from becoming the next major frontier for e-mail spam. The agency issued rules requiring marketers to have explicit permission from wireless-device users before they can be sent any commercial e-mail. And it urged the industry to develop technologies to prevent spam from overwhelming wireless devices the way it has swamped computer messaging. - - - - - - - - - - Trojan horse stalks PocketPC Russian virus hunters Kaspersky Labs have detected a Trojan horse programme capable of infecting PDAs running Microsoft's PocketPC operating system. Although a very small number of PocketPC viruses have been located, Brador-A is said to be the first backdoor program capable of infecting handhelds running PocketPC. Previous PocketPC viruses have been written as experiments in coding not for malicious intent. Brador-A breaks this pattern by coming pre-loaded with a series of malicious routines. - - - - - - - - - - New MyDoom revives call to catch culprit A new variant of the MyDoom worm, described variously as MyDoom.Q or MyDoom.O, that uses Yahoo! People Search to find new email addresses has been discovered sparking fresh calls in the industry for information leading to the arrest of the worm's author. Last week, a MyDoom variant pumped so many queries into Google that the search engine was unavailable or very slow for large periods of time. The same variant of MyDoom also succeeded in knocking a number of smaller search engines--including Altavista and Lycos--off the web completely. At the time of writing, Yahoo People was functioning normally. - - - - - - - - - - FTC says minorities hit hardest by fraud A new survey released Thursday by the Federal Trade Commission reveals that 25 million Americans have been hit by fraud in the past year -- and minority groups are far more likely to be victims. Hispanics are twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be victims, according to the telephone survey results. Blacks are three times as likely. And a stunning 34 percent of American Indians had been hit by fraud, a rate 6 times greater than non-Hispanic whites. - - - - - - - - - - Image flaw pierces PC security Six vulnerabilities in an open-source image format could allow intruders to compromise computers running Linux and may allow attacks against Windows PCs as well as Macs running OS X. The security issues appear in a library supporting the portable network graphics (PNG) format, used widely by programs such as the Mozilla and Opera browsers and various e-mail clients. The most critical issue, a memory problem known as a buffer overflow, could allow specially created PNG graphics to execute a malicious program when the application loads the image. - - - - - - - - - - Feds seek a few good hackers Attention, hackers: Uncle Sam wants you. And hackers are answering the call, or at least listening. A well-attended session at the recent Defcon 12 hackers' conference was "Meet the Feds," a recruitment presentation by a group of federal cybercrime law enforcement agents, who fielded questions from would-be cybercops.,10801,95054,00.html - - - - - - - - - - FBI publishes computer crime and security stats Every year for the past nine years, the Computer Security Institute and the FBI undertake a computer crime and security survey among companies and institutions in the US. These surveys provide interesting insights into the level of computer crime being experienced by companies, as well as how they are responding to security breaches. - - - - - - - - - - Biggest ever Windows upgrade gives security boost Almost since the day Microsoft Corp. released its Windows XP computer operating system nearly three years ago, it has been a favorite target of hackers and critics eager to stress its numerous security shortcomings. Now, more than two years after promising to do something about it, Microsoft is about to release the biggest update ever for Windows. The free upgrade is designed to make users safer from cyberattacks by sealing entries to viruses, better protecting personal data and fending off spyware. Windows security update delayed again Microsoft to begin shipping major update to Windows - - - - - - - - - - Oracle 'sitting on security fixes' Database giant Oracle has been censured by a leading security expert for sitting on fixes to defend against a wide variety of security vulnerabilities affecting its database software. UK-based Next Generation Security Software (NGS Software) has identified 34 security vulnerabilities affecting various versions of Oracle's database software. Around half these flaws affect the latest version of Oracle's database software, 10g. At least one of these bugs could be exploited to give attackers remote access to corporate database servers without a user ID or password. - - - - - - - - - - What's in a worm's name? It's not easy naming worms. Antivirus researchers originally identified a recent security attack as a variant of MyDoom - but now think it's actually related to a different piece of malware. When security experts first detected a mass-mailing worm that uses Yahoo's People Search engine to harvest email addresses, they assumed it was a new variant of MyDoom, which a week earlier had attacked a number of search engines for the same purpose.,39020369,39162715,00.htm - - - - - - - - - - Onion Routing Averts Prying Eyes Computer programmers are modifying a communications system, originally developed by the U.S. Naval Research Lab, to help Internet users surf the Web anonymously and shield their online activities from corporate or government eyes. The system is based on a concept called onion routing. It works like this: Messages, or packets of information, are sent through a distributed network of randomly selected servers, or nodes, each of which knows only its predecessor and successor. Messages flowing through this network are unwrapped by a symmetric encryption key at each server that peels off one layer and reveals instructions for the next downstream node.,1848,64464,00.html - - - - - - - - - - Easy VoIP wiretaps coming soon Virtually everything done via TCP/IP, with the (for now) exception of instant messaging, is on its way to becoming wiretap-friendly, thanks to a tentative 5-0 decision by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday. Thanks to relentless lobbying and fear-mongering by law enforcement outfits and the companies that sell surveillance equipment to them, all broadband communications, including VoIP, will have to be modified to allow the Feds to patch in easily and immediately, in order to comply with the 1994 Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). - - - - - - - - - - You are still the weakest security link Yet again staff have been identified as the biggest security threat to business IT systems, in a survey released today. The poll of 1,240 British businesses found employee misuse of technology topping the reasons for security breaches, with 50 per cent of businesses having problems. The second highest cause, at 45 per cent, was poorly updated antivirus software. Bosses finger workers for virus attacks - - - - - - - - - - Don't Toss That Personal Firewall The new firewall in Windows XP Service Pack 2 is not by any means the most important security advance in the service pack. Other changes, principally locking down the My Computer zone in Internet Explorer, will have more profound implications for security of the average system. But it's not unimportant. - - - - - - - - - - DHS network may link to others Homeland Security Department officials are considering using the classified network they are developing to link state and local governments as well as federal civilian agencies, a top official said today. Steve Cooper, the chief information officer for DHS, told a breakfast meeting for private industry that discussions are underway to make multiple uses of the Homeland Secure Data Network (HSDN), which is being built under a $350 million contract awarded to Northrop Grumman Corp. in April. - - - - - - - - - - How Al Qaeda uses the Internet A programmer detained in Pakistan told how terrorists used the Internet, informed. According to a source in the US government, Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, 25, alleged computer expert for Al Qaeda, who was arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of involvement in terrorism, told investigators that Al Qaeda used email and websites in Turkey, Nigeria, and regions occupied by Pakistani tribes to communicate with each other. *********************************************************** Search the Archive at: *********************************************************** The source material may be copyrighted and all rights are retained by the original author/publisher. The information is provided to you for non-profit research and educational purposes. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however copies may not be sold, and NewsBits ( should be cited as the source of the information. Copyright 2000-2004,, Campbell, CA.