NewsBits for December 27, 2004 ************************************************************ Worldwide Warez hunt nets first conviction The US government has secured the first conviction in its ambitious Operation Fastlink program designed to nab software pirates. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported that Jathan Desir, 26, has admitted to distributing pirated software worth up to $200,000. The University of Iowa student is said to have had 13,000 software titles up for grabs. FBI agents searched his home earlier this year. - - - - - - - - - - Randex youths made botnets for gaming The youths who were sentenced for writing the Randex worm built a 30,000 strong botnet to win at online gaming. Two teenage hackers, who were convicted for their involvement with the Randex worm, used a 30,000-strong Windows botnet to beat opponents in online video game matches.,39020375,39182109,00.htm - - - - - - - - - - Hacker hits McDonald's China web site McDonald's has been hacked for listing Taiwan as a separate country on its web site. The Chinese- language website of fast food giant McDonald's has been broken into twice at Christmas by a hacker protesting against its listing of Taiwan as a separate country, the Beijing Youth Daily says. The world's largest restaurant chain is expanding fast in China and currently has 600 stores in what has become its eighth-largest market.,39020375,39182491,00.htm - - - - - - - - - - Trisha's complaint makes police alert on cyber crime Police have intensified vigil against cyber crimes in the city following allegations by film actress Trisha Krishnan that websites were allegedly hosting obscene pictures of her, City Police Commissioner R Nataraj said. Talking to newspersons in Chennai on Thursday, after inagurating a helpline for the mentally-challenged, he said though he had not received any complaint from Trisha or anybody on her behalf, it was the duty of the city police to check such crimes. - - - - - - - - - - Israel to restrict porn on cell phones Israel's Communications Ministry has amended licenses for mobile phone operators to restrict access to pornographic services following complaints that too many children were exposed to erotic material. - - - - - - - - - - Google worm targets AOL, Yahoo Days after Google acted to thwart the Santy worm, security firms warned that variants have begun to spread using both Google and other search engines. The Santy problem originally flared up a week ago as bulletin board Web sites found their pages erased and defaced by the worm's own text. The worm spread by targeting pages that used vulnerable versions of the PHP Bulletin Board (phpBB) software, and used Google to locate those pages. Santy.E worm poses threat to sites badly coded in PHP The latest version of the Santy worm poses an elevated risk to many Web sites built using the PHP scripting language, and protection of those sites may involve individually recoding them, security experts warned over the weekend.,10801,98553,00.html - - - - - - - - - - AOL Spam Down 75 Pct; Net Spam Trends Reverse You've got less spam, according to America Online, the world's largest online service. The online unit of Time Warner Inc. on Monday said junk e-mail declined by more than 75 percent this year, based on its internal member reports. Junk e-mail, known as spam, accounted for about 83 percent of computer traffic at one point this year, and have cost Internet providers about $500 million in wasted bandwidth, analysts have said. U.S. leads the dirty dozen spammers Researchers at security software company Sophos found that 42 percent of all spam sent this year came from the United States, based on a scan by its researchers of a global network of honey pots--computers designed to attract spam e-mails and viruses. Sophos said this is evidence that America's antispam legislation simply isn't working. CAN-SPAM law seen as ineffective A year after the U.S. Congress passed the first federal antispam law, observers see no evidence that it has cut the amount of unwanted commercial e-mail arriving in people's in-boxes.,10801,98559,00.html - - - - - - - - - - Some Fear Virus Threat to Cell Phones Malicious programs that can delete address books. Junk messages that flood a cell phone's inbox. Stealthy code that uses Bluetooth wireless technology to sneak onto handsets. Scared yet? Security experts say plagues like these will target mobile phones, but others contend cell phone viruses are the tech equivalent of smallpox: To the best of anyone's knowledge, they exist only in labs. - - - - - - - - - - Exploit code release may mean an unhappy Windows Christmas Exploit code has been released for two flaws in Windows at a time of year when many IT departments may be too short-staffed to cope. A Chinese security group has released sample code to exploit two new unpatched flaws in Microsoft Windows.,39020375,39182233,00.htm Three new Windows security holes come at a bad time,10801,98532,00.html - - - - - - - - - - A hit list of the year's top viruses A malware hall of fame is the latest addition to the year's what's in and what's out lists. Antivirus vendor Panda Software Inc. of Glendale, Calif., is calling the Sasser worm the most damaging of 2004 because its continual restarts make infected computers virtually unusable. - - - - - - - - - - Hacking Around the Christmas Tree Hackers, spammers and spies go into overdrive in December and January, when unsuspecting neophytes unwrap new computers, connect to the internet, and, too often, get hit with viruses, spyware and other nefarious programs.,1848,66141,00.html - - - - - - - - - - Redirected to jail? Malicious software, or malware, can steal credit card information, record sensitive password information and redirect you to Web sites you never intended to visit. But can it send you to jail? That's what one man claims, after compromising images of children were found on his work computer by an employer, who then reported him to law enforcement authorities. - - - - - - - - - - Internet scams on the rise The increase in online shopping has meant more victims of Internet scams, according to the Indiana Crime Prevention Coalition's executive director Scott Minier. Minier said that 37,183 complaints were filed with the National Fraud Information Center last year. The average reported loss rose from $468 in 2002 to $527 last year. Most complaints involve merchandise never arriving or misrepresented goods or services. - - - - - - - - - - Problems of counteraction to cybercrime and cyberterrorism in Ukraine Processes of globalization and development of the modern civilization are described by transition of industrial society to information. Wide introduction of modern information technologies creates new, unique opportunities for more active and efficient development of economy, politics, country, society, social consciousness and a citizen. - - - - - - - - - - Banks Test ID Device for Online Security For years, banks gave away toasters to people who opened checking accounts; soon they may be distributing a more modern kind of appliance. Responding to an increase in Internet fraud, some banks and brokerage firms plan to begin issuing small devices that would help their customers prove their identities when they log on to online banking, brokerage and bill- payment programs. - - - - - - - - - - Electronic Records Open Up Fertile Legal Research Field Some law firms have formed special units to search for digital data and help their clients manage it. Brian L. Moffet said he saw the writing on the wall about three years ago. The attorney was arguing a national class- action suit with 50,000 pieces of paper entered into evidence when the judge asked, "Where are the e-mails?" That sent Moffet into scramble mode. (LA Times article, free registration required),1,4557657.story - - - - - - - - - - Got a new PC for the holidays? Protect it! The New York City fund-raiser clicked on a happy-face attachment in a friend's e-mail last year. The virus crashed her computer within an hour. - - - - - - - - - - It's Been a Day-to-Day Battle With Intruders When people try to describe what using technology was like this year, the word that will likely come to mind is "pain." With viruses, worms, spyware, spam and phishing, running a computer -- especially one with Windows -- has often been a colossal headache. Most Windows users could be excused for feeling they were never more than a few clicks away from an online mugging. In 2004, they operated in a strikingly different universe than people using computers running Mac OS X or Linux, who experienced an Internet blissfully devoid of malware. - - - - - - - - - - Technology Can't Stop Cyber Crime! Here is a conversation with Capt. Raghu Raman, the CEO of Mahindra Special Services Group, and an expert on information security for nearly two decades. Techtree: Was the arrest of the CEO of, an online auction site, justified? Raman Actions like throwing the CEO of Baazee into prison is not going to control crime. Such material over the Internet cannot be filtered. It's impossible. - - - - - - - - - - Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice (Part II) Courts in the United States, Europe and Australia have in recent years experimented with sanctions which require the computer of an offender convicted of high tech crimes to be forfeited, or which seek to prohibit the offender from undertaking certain, or all, computer-related activities like possessing or using computers or gaining access to the internet. - - - - - - - - - - Spam Punishment Doesn't Fit the Crime I hate spam as much as the next person, but recent decisions by courts in Iowa and Virginia demonstrate how fear of technology (and justifiable annoyance) can force the legal system to impose fines and sentences that are grossly disproportionate to the harm caused by spammers. - - - - - - - - - - Downloading digital music It wasn't quite the 'Year of Digital Music', but 2004 certainly paved the way for 2005 to take that title. In the UK, Apple and Napster both opened online music services, with the iTunes Music Store also making an appearance in France, Germany and, later in the year, in a number of other European states. - - - - - - - - - - Worming Into Apple In 2000, writer Rodney Rothman spent three weeks pretending to be an employee of a Silicon Alley company, writing up the experience for The New Yorker as "My Fake Job." Seven years earlier, in 1993, programmer Ron Avitzur pulled a similar stunt.,2125,66138,00.html - - - - - - - - - - ID System Gets in Face of Criminals LAPD officers field-test a hand-held computer using facial recognition to identify suspects. Critics raise issues of privacy and reliability. The Los Angeles Police Department is seeking half a million dollars from the federal government to expand the use of advanced facial-recognition systems to identify criminal suspects. (LA Times article, free registration required),1,5491213.story,1282,66142,00.html - - - - - - - - - - Law Aids School Technology, Cell Phone 911 President Bush signed into law a bill to speed computer subsidies for schools and libraries and to spend $1.25 billion on equipment that will help police find calling mobile-telephone users who call 911. - - - - - - - - - - Go Ahead, Just Try to Disappear Global positioning technology on mobile phones and other devices can track errant workers, teens or even pets. The price is privacy. As her daughter enjoyed a weekend road trip, Donna Butler sat back home 120 miles away at her personal computer and watched a blue dot tick slowly across the screen. (LA Times article, free registration required),1,7147933.story 30 million cars now record drivers' behavior *********************************************************** 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.