InfoSec in the News

2001 and earlier

Most of these news stories could have been prevented with an effective security awareness program or they promote the use of security awareness.
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29 December 2005 - The Year in Security
Data security breaches lead a run-down of the 2005's significant security events; more than 130 data security breaches were reported, exposing more than 55 million Americans to potential data theft. Other
issues include the arrests of "bot masters", the increased focus on creating stealthy attack tools and narrowly targeted attacks, and Sony BMG's problems with digital rights management (DRM) software on certain CDs.

29 December 2005 - UK Man's Spam Claim Successful
A UK Court found in favor of Nigel Roberts, a Channel Island man who filed a claim against Media Logistics UK, an Internet marketing company, after he received unsolicited commercial email from them on his personal email account. A three-year-old EU spam law, the Directive on Privacy and Telecommunications, allows individuals to claim damages from offenders. Media Logistics acknowledged the claim but did not defend it; Mr. Roberts will receive GBP270 (US$466) in compensation and GBP30 (US$52) in court fees.

28 December 2005 - Marriott Acknowledges Missing Backup Tapes Contain Personal Data
More than 200,000 employees, owners and customers of Marriott Vacation Club International are being notified that backup tapes containing their personal data, including bank, credit card and Social Security numbers, are missing from a Florida office. Club officials have reported the missing tapes to authorities and have begun their own investigation into the tapes' disappearance.

25 December 2005 - Iowa State University Acknowledges Data Security Breaches
Two computers at Iowa State University suffered security breaches this month, possibly exposing the personal data of ISU employees and university athletic department donors. University technology staff
investigating the breaches says credit card numbers were encrypted and therefore unlikely to have been read by intruders. The breaches affected more than 3,000 ISU employees and approximately 2,500 donors. University officials say they do not plan to contact the police to help them find the intruder's identity. ISU suffered a similar security breach in June of this year.


15 December 2005 - Meth Users Turn to Internet Fraud to Fund Their Habit
A USA Today investigation revealed that methamphetamine users have turned to the Internet to steal data and commit identity fraud to raise money to feed their addictions. The meth users and traffickers have in the past stolen information from mailboxes and wallets; now they are trading that information on the Internet and conducting elaborate schemes to steal funds and launder money. The investigations involved interviews with more police officers, district attorneys, addicts and Internet security experts.

14 December 2005 - Owner-Operator of Pirated Software Website Pleads Guilty
Nathan Peterson has pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal copyright infringement; Peterson owned and operated iBackups.net, a website that offered pirated software. When he is sentenced in April 2006, Mr. Peterson faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of US$500,000. He will also pay restitution of US$5.4 million. Customers of the website were told the products they purchased on iBackups was "backup software" to protect their systems from crashes. Products were sold via download or through the mail. The site was shut down in February.

12 December 2005 - State of Information Security 2005 Report Finds Security-Related Events on the Rise
The State of Information Security 2005 report from CIO Magazine and PricewaterhouseCoopers found that security-related events have increased 22.4 percent since last year. Just 37 percent of the companies responding to the survey have established a security plan; twenty-four percent plan to implement one in the next year. The number of organizations with a CISO or CIO rose from 31 percent last year to 40 percent this year. Among organizations with a chief information security officer (CISO) or Chief Security Officer (CSO), 62 percent have security plans in place. The study surveyed more than 8,200 IT security executives in 63 countries around the world. http://www.enn.ie/frontpage/news-9658009.html

30 November 2005 - Top Ten Viruses and Hoaxes for November 2005
Sophos reports highest ever record of new malware in one month, and new Sober worm shoots to number one in the prevalence chart. Find out more in our analysis of the last 30 days. http://s466.link.sophos.com/topnov05?pl_id=9

30 November 2005 - Phishers send email posing as IRS tax refund
Sophos experts have warned internet users of a phishing email which aims to steal from American taxpayers by posing as notification of a refund from the Internal Revenue Service. The phishers are taking advantage of a an apparent error on the real US Government website which is allowing
phishers to redirect visitors to a bogus website. http://s466.link.sophos.com/irs?pl_id=9

28 November 2005 - Scottrade Informs Customers of Third-Party Data Security Breach
Scottrade, an online trading company, has informed its customers that the company's electronic checking provider, TROY Group, suffered a security breach which compromised personal data including names, driver's licenses, bank account and bank routing numbers and trading account numbers. The TROY Group acknowledged the security breach in an October 25 press release.

25 November 2005 - ET could hack internet (Yes, this is a real story)
Aliens could hack the internet and spread viruses if proper precautions are not put in place, warned a top scientist. http://www.scmagazine.com/us/news/article/529846/?n=us

25 November 2005 - Verizon Wireless clamps down on wireless spam
US mobile operator Verizon Wireless has filed a lawsuit in New Jersey, seeking an injunction against Passport Holidays of Ormond Beach, Fla., for allegedly violating federal and state laws by sending “tens of
thousands” of unsolicited text messages to its customers. http://www.scmagazine.com/us/news/article/529850/?n=us

24 November 2005 - Backup encryption failures leave data in peril
Potentially sensitive corporate data is being placed unnecessarily at risk because less than a quarter of companies currently encrypt their backup tapes, newly published research has claimed. http://www.scmagazine.com/us/news/article/529514/?n=us

24 November 2005 - IT security fears holding back US e-commerce
One in four U.S. consumers will not shop online this holiday season due to internet security concerns, according to a new survey from the Business Software Alliance (BSA). http://www.scmagazine.com/us/news/article/529512/?n=us

24 November 2005 - PC users underestimate malware threat
Ordinary PC users do not take computer security seriously enough and are not prepared to pay for it, a BT chief has said. http://www.scmagazine.com/us/news/article/529809/?n=us

24 November 2005 - One third of Brits send fake emails
Nearly a third of people in the UK have admitted to impersonating someone else when sending an email, according to new research. http://www.scmagazine.com/us/news/article/529517/?n=us

22 November 2005 - SANS Top 20 Internet Security Vulnerability Shows Attackers Are Using
New Approaches For Which Users Are Not Prepared

The SANS Institute and the United Kingdom National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre today announced the 2005 Top 20 Internet Security Vulnerabilities. The new report shows attackers are increasingly attacking security software and back up software and network security and communication devices that users (a) thought was keeping them safe, and (b) do not patch. The new threat sets defenders
back six years in their fight against attackers.

21 November 2005 - Survey: IT Execs Say Security Will Top IT Spending List in 2006
A survey by Goldman Sachs & Co. of 100 IT executives found that security software and enterprise IT upgrades are expected to top their IT spending lists in 2006. Fifty two percent of those surveyed said they expected IT spending levels to be unchanged, while forty percent said they were considering reducing their IT budgets for 2006. http://www.computerworld.com/printthis/2005/0,4814,106422,00.html

19 November 2005 - Boeing Employee Data on Stolen Laptop
Boeing has acknowledged that a recently stolen laptop computer contained sensitive data belonging to more than 160,000 current and former employees. The laptop was stolen from an off-site location. Among the data on the computer are Social Security numbers, banking information and birth dates. Boeing is notifying everyone whose data were on the computer and will pay for enrollment in credit monitoring and fraud protection programs. Authorities have been notified as well.

17 November 2005 - Irish IT Security Awareness Campaign Survey Finds Few Informed About Spyware and Phishing
A survey conducted on behalf of Ireland's Make IT Secure Initiative found that 24 percent of those polled know what spyware is and just 13 percent feel they have a good understanding of what phishing is. However, 79 percent of home users and 75 percent of work users use anti-virus software. The public awareness campaign focuses on educating users about phishing, spyware, identity fraud and online child safety. http://www.siliconrepublic.com/news/news.nv?storyid=single5699

17 November 2005 - Spammer Sentenced to One Year in Prison
Peter Moshou, sometimes known as the "Timeshare Spammer", was sentenced to one year in federal prison and ordered to pay US$120,000 in restitution for sending millions of spam messages in 2004 and 2005. Mr. Moshou was convicted in June of violating the CAN-SPAM Act; he had been named in a lawsuit filed by EarthLink. EarthLink also said that it has won a US$15.4 million judgment against Craig Brockwell and BC Alliance Inc. in a suit that claimed Mr. Brockwell and his company sent hundreds of thousands of unsolicited email messages.

10 November 2005 - Trojan horse exploits Sony DRM copy-protection vulnerability
Sophos experts warn of the Stinx Trojan horses that can hide under the cloak of Sony's controversial CD copy-protection software, and have been spammed across the internet in an email claiming to come from a business magazine. Also, find out about the free Sophos tool which can detect if Sony's cloaking technology has been installed on your PC and disable it if you wish. http://s452.link.sophos.com/sonydrm?pl_id=9

10 November 2005 - Verizon Files to Stop FL Company From Gathering Customer Information
A court has granted a temporary injunction in a suit brought by Verizon against a Florida company called the Global Information Group. The company allegedly impersonated Verizon employees and attempted to gather confidential information from Verizon wireless customers. The temporary injunction prohibits Global Information from contacting Verizon customers and from sharing customer information with third parties. In
addition, the court issued an order allowing Verizon to seize the data the company had allegedly collected. Verizon has also filed a civil suit against the Global information Group.

9 November 2005 - Stolen Desktop PC Contained Credit History Data on 3,600 Individuals
A desktop computer stolen in October from a regional office of TransUnion LLC contains Social Security numbers and other personal information belonging to more than 3,600 consumers. TransUnion LLC is one of three companies in the US that keeps records of individuals' credit histories. TransUnion sent out notices on October 21 informing those affected by the theft and offering a year of free credit report monitoring. TransUnion vice president for corporate affairs Colleen Tunney said the company is investigating why the data was stored on an individual computer and not on a secure corporate network.

9 November 2005 - Phishing Scam Pretends to be Cash Prize From Google
A new phishing campaign purports to be an announcement from Google that the recipient has won US$400. The spam email with the message also has a link to a phony Google site where users are asked to supply their addresses and credit card information. The phishing web site, which was hosted in the US, was shut down within 24 hours after the scam was detected.

8 November 2005 - 'Live phishing' experiment nets consumers hook, line, and sinker
Despite the spiraling threat from identity theft, most consumers who were recently approached by complete strangers on the streets of New York freely gave up personal and sensitive data, which could be used by cyber criminals to crack account passwords or to steal identities outright.

8 November 2005 - Shoppers still wary of online market
Consumer distrust of online commerce remains widespread, according to a national study released last week. http://www.scmagazine.com/us/news/article/526709/

8 November 2005 - Italian organization calls for Sony spyware probe
An advocacy group has asked the Italian government to investigate whether Sony BMG Entertainment broke any of the country's laws when it included what has been called a form of spyware on some of its CD-Roms. http://www.scmagazine.com/us/news/article/526725/

8/7 November 2005 - Hong Kong Court Gives File Sharer a Three-Month Sentence
A Hong Kong court sentenced Chan Nai-ming to three months in jail for digital piracy; he uploaded three Hollywood movies to the Internet with BitTorrent, allowing them to be shared in violation of copyright laws.

7 November 2005 - Australian Gov't Teams with ISPs to Track Down Bot-Infected Computers
The Australian government is working with five Internet Service Providers to track down computers that have been compromised and made part of zombie networks that are used to send spam or launch distributed denial-of-service attacks. The Australian Internet Security Initiative will identify IP addresses of hosts that exhibit behavior indicating they are zombies. The ISPs then can contact their customers, let them know their computers have been compromised and help them disinfect their machines. Steps may be taken to disconnect from the Internet the computers of customers who do not disinfect their computers."

7 November 2005 - US Authorities Arrest Alleged Botnet Operator in California
FBI agents have arrested Jeanson James Ancheta and charged him with spreading a Trojan horse program that allowed him to create a botnet of 400,000 computers. A botnet is a network of compromised computers that can be controlled to send spam or launch distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS). Among the zombie computers in his network were some belonging to the US Department of Defense. Mr. Ancheta allegedly took payment from companies whose adware he surreptitiously loaded into their computers. He also allegedly controlled the computers via an IRC channel and advertised their use for sending spam or launching distributed denial-of-service attacks. Mr. Ancheta was scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, November 7, 2005. Two aspects make this case unique: (1) it is the first time an alleged botnet operator will be prosecuted in the United States, and (2) Mr. Ancheta is accused of using a botnet to make a profit. In the past, people who have created botnets have done so primarily for bragging rights.

7 November 2005 - Greek Police Arrest Swedish Programmer for Spamming
Greek police have arrested a Swedish computer programmer, Rick Downes, on charges of sending spam. Mr. Downes, who retired to Greece, has denied the charges and maintains the police have no evidence against him. Mr. Downes' computer has been seized and sent to police laboratories for examination; he says he has not been asked for his administrative password. Mr. Downes is a member of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email and has campaigned against spam in the past. Mr. Downes was suspected of sending spam after a travel agent and two other people reported receiving nearly identical spam email messages shortly after meeting him. Mr. Downes's wife says they suspect that a travel agent's computer was compromised and the addresses were being used by a spammer; the police seemed ignorant of how spammers operate, apparently believing they collect email addresses one at a

4 November 2005 - Phishing Attack Targets PayPal Users
A new phishing attack is targeting people who use PayPal. The users receive an email message telling them that someone has been trying to access their accounts from a foreign country. The are advised to click on a link that purports to be a PayPal Security Tool executable, but is really a Trojan horse program that modifies the local workstation's DNS settings and deletes itself; when users try to visit PayPal in the future, they are directed to a fraudulently crafted site where the thieves proceed to elicit personal data by asking them to update their accounts. The data requested includes names, Social Security numbers and bank account and routing numbers.

4 November 2005 - Australian Reseller to Pay Microsoft AU$1.3M for Copyright Infringement
The Australian Federal Court has ordered New South Wales-based reseller PC Club and its associates to pay Microsoft AU$1.3 million (US$952,300) in damages and costs for selling pirated and illegal software and counterfeit Certificate of Authenticity labels. The charges included copyright and trademark infringement and breaches of the Trade Practices Act.

2 November 2005 - eBay Fraudster Sentenced to Four Years in Jail
David Levi has been sentenced to four years in jail for masterminding a phishing scam that stole nearly 200,000 GBP (US$355,000) from eBay customers. Mr. Levi headed a group that included six other people who tricked eBay shoppers into disclosing their passwords and other account information. His conviction is believed to be the first in the UK for phishing fraud.

3 November 2005 - SEC Releases Tips for Safeguarding Personal Information and Money Online
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has released a guide for investors recommending steps they can take to protect their online brokerage accounts from data thieves. Among the SEC's recommendations are checking the sites' security certificates, using security tokens when available, not responding to email asking for personal data, using strong password practices and logging out completely from accounts. http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/onlinebrokerage.htm

20 October 2005 - Better Protection Possible With Lower Budgets, Claims Gartner Organizations that focus on security processes and not products will be able to lower their total information security budgets while simultaneously improving their overall level of protection, Gartner claimed today. http://www.scmagazine.com/us/news/article/523421/

20 October 2005 - Identity Theft Threatens 26.7 million Americans
There are currently 26.7m Americans at risk from identity theft because they are unwittingly transmitting sensitive personal data to international hackers and criminals, a newly published report has claimed.

20 October 2005 - Study Finds Spyware Most Prevalent in PCs in US, Thailand and UK
According to research from anti-spyware company Webroot, the countries with the highest incidences of computers infected with spyware in the most recent quarter are the US, Thailand and the UK. Nearly 55 percent of consumers' PCs are infected with spyware. The research counts tracking cookies among the spyware. In the UK, the average number of pieces of spyware on the consumers' PCs is 18; discounting the cookies, that figure falls to just 4.5.

19 October 2005 - Sainsbury gift voucher chain letter makes way around UK
An email chain letter which deludes people into thinking they will be given £60 worth of supermarket gift vouchers has spread amongst internet users in the United Kingdom.

19 October 2005 - Fear of identity theft holds back global e-commerce
Although online transactions are increasing in both the U.S. and Europe, a growing fear of identity theft and other online fraud is eroding confidence in e-commerce, newly published research has warned.

18 October 2005 - Phishing and pharming set to soar, groups warn
U.S. consumer groups have warned of a growing danger from phishing and pharming attacks.

18 October 2005 - Transportation IG Audit Finds Serious Security Lapses
The Department of Transportation's inspector general was able to penetrate and gain root control of a vulnerable server during a recent audit. Because there is interconnectivity within DOT, other departments could be put at risk by just one department's security weaknesses. According to the audit report, there are also previously noted security vulnerabilities that the agency has not addressed. The audit is an annual event conducted in accordance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

17 October 2005 - Anti-Phishing Working Group's August Report
According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group's August 2005 Phishing report, phishing sites are remaining on line an average of 5.5 days. A year and a half ago, phishing web sites usually remained on line for a week or more. The number of "phishing campaigns" detected fell for the second month in a row, although the number of new phishing web sites reached an all-time high of 5,259, up from a reported 4,564 in July.

17 October 2005 - Spammer's Sentence is Under Seal
Anthony Greco was sentenced in a closed session for sending nine million spam email messages through instant messages to members of MySpace.com. The sentence is under seal. Earlier this year, Mr. Greco reached a plea agreement with prosecutors wherein he would serve a sentence of between 18 months and two years in prison in return for his guilty plea. Mr. Greco had also threatened to share his spamming techniques with others. Federal prosecutors planned to ask the judge to make the sentence

16 October 2005 - FBI Agents Seize Alleged Spammer's Computers and Financial Records
Recently unsealed warrants reveal that FBI agents raided the Michigan home of Alan M. Ralsky, allegedly one of the nation's most prolific senders of bulk email, and seized his financial records, computers and disks. The seizure has reportedly halted his operation. Mr. Ralsky was sued by Verizon Communications in 2001 for shutting down Verizon's network by sending millions of unsolicited email messages; he settled the case for an undisclosed sum and promised not to send spam on the company's networks any more.

14 October 2005 - MPAA Files Lawsuits Against Movie Download Web Sites
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has filed lawsuits in New York state courts against six web sites. The MPAA alleges the sites are violating federal copyright laws by pretending to be legitimate movie and music downloading web sites, but actually charging people to redirect them to file sharing sites where they have access to illegally copied content.

13 October 2005 - Three Indicted in Software and Music Piracy Scheme
Three California men have been indicted for their alleged roles in a music and software piracy scheme; the three were allegedly involved in illegally copying CDs. Charges in the indictments include conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and traffic in counterfeit labels, criminal copyright infringement, trafficking in counterfeit labels, and aiding and abetting. The arrests and searches were part of the US Department of Justice's "Operation Remaster" which focused on the replicators in the chain of digital media piracy. http://www.computerworld.com/printthis/2005/0,4814,105374,00.html

10 October 2005 - British Malware Authors Jailed for Conspiracy to Infect PCs
Two members of a hacking gang who wrote malware to remotely control innocent people's computers have been sentenced to three months and six months jail. Have your say on their sentence - do you think it was too harsh or too soft? http://s431.link.sophos.com/threatkrew?pl_id=9

10 October 2005 - Suspected zombie kings who ran botnet of 100,000 PCs arrested
Dutch police have arrested three men alleged to have been involved in a gang controlling a zombie network of more than 100,000 computers. http://s431.link.sophos.com/dutchbot?pl_id=9

7 October 2005 - Banks, Internet Companies Dealing with Phishing Privately
Because law enforcement seems to give phishing a low priority, banks and companies that conduct business on the Internet are taking matters into their own hands. The organizations work with ISPs, web hosting services and regional Internet authorities to track down the servers the phishing email is coming from and work with contacts to shut the sites down. They have also been setting up phony accounts and working with banks and law enforcement organizations to track the stolen data and ultimately arrest the thieves. http://www.newsfactor.com/story.xhtml?story_id=38544

6 October 2005 - Former White House Aide Allegedly Stole Intelligence Documents
US federal investigators say an FBI analyst who had previously worked as an aide in the office of the Vice President from 1999-2001 used his top-secret security clearance to steal classified intelligence documents from White House computers. Leandro Aragoncillo was allegedly spying for a group in the Philippines who was opposed to the government there. A US District Court judge in Newark, NJ has signed an order to continue the case in order that the defendant's attorney may negotiate a plea agreement, indicating that Mr. Aragoncillo is likely to be cooperating with federal investigators.

6 October 2005 - City University of New York Notifies Those Affected by Data Leak
City University of New York (CUNY) has informed more than 750 students and current and former employees that their personal information, including Social Security numbers, may have been compromised. A law student Googling her own name found among the results documents that contained sensitive personal student data. School administrators apparently posted the documents on the university's central web site. Even after the school became aware of the situation and removed the files, Google's caching feature made the information available for a few more days.

5 October 2005 - Phishers Target Swedish Bank
A phishing attack has broken new ground by attacking a Scandinavian bank operating a one-time password.

5 October 2005 - FTC Asks Court to Shut Down Alleged Spyware Company
The Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint with a US court in New Hampshire asking that a company in that state be shut down. Odysseus Marketing maintains that its Kazanon software is anonymous peer-to-peer file sharing software, but the FTC alleges that it behaves as a Trojan horse, allowing other programs to infiltrate users' computers and deliver pop-up advertisements and track their web surfing activities. In addition, people's search results have been meddles with to send them to look-alike search engines that display Odysseus customers prominently in the search results. A software tool from Odysseus that is supposed to correct the problem actually brings in more spyware, according to allegations. The FTC asked court to permanently halt downloads from Odysseusmarketing.com.

4/3 October 2005 - China Expels American Convicted of Piracy to US to Face More Charges
Randolph Hobson Guthrie, who has been convicted in China of trafficking in pirated digital media, has been expelled from that country to face additional charges in the US. Mr. Hobson was scheduled to appear in US federal court for a bond hearing on October 4; he will then be sent to Mississippi to face charges of copyright infringement, trafficking and money laundering. Mr. Hobson was sentenced to two years in prison in China in April. He and another American convicted along with him were ordered deported after completion of their sentences; it has not been made clear why Mr. Guthrie was released early.

4 October 2005 - Florida Man Arrested for Alleged Fraudulent Donation Solicitation
A Florida man has been arrested and charged with four counts of wire fraud for allegedly using a web site to solicit donations for medical supplies and evacuation flights to hurricane-ravaged Louisiana; Gary Kraser allegedly never made any of the flights, though he wrote stories of having done so on the web site. Mr. Kraser allegedly raised US$40,000 in just two days. According to the indictment, he collected the money through PayPal accounts and through direct wire transfers to his bank account.

4 October 2005 - Eight People Arrested in Scheme to Defraud Red Cross
Eight people have been arrested and one more person is being sought in connection with a scheme to defraud the American Red Cross. Some of the people hired to work a Red Cross call center in Bakersfield, California that was set up to provide hurricane evacuees with PIN numbers they could use to obtain relief aid through Western Union gave those numbers to friends and family. So far, US$25,000 has been documented as stolen, but a US attorney expects that figure to increase. If convicted of the wire fraud charges against them, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison and fines of US$250,000. Law enforcement officials say they expect to make more arrests.

1 October 2005 - Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Anti-Phishing Law
Phishing is now a civil offense in California. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill on September 30, 2005, that allows people to sue the senders of deceptive emails that attempt to steal personal data; they can seek to recover actual damages or US$500,000 for each violation, whichever is greater.

30 September 2005 - Trojan Exploits Unpatched Microsoft Office Vulnerability
A Trojan horse program called Backdoor.Hesive exploits an unpatched hole in Microsoft Office and could allow attackers to take control of vulnerable machines. Machines become infected when users are tricked into opening a specially crafted .mdb file in Microsoft Access. All recent Windows releases are vulnerable. Backdoor.Hesive exploits a flaw in Microsoft's Jet Database Engine. Microsoft was alerted to the problem in April, 2005, but has not yet issued a patch.

29 September 2005 - Gartner: Unattended PCs Pose Risk
Recent Gartner research indicates that organizations tend to overlook the security threats posed by unattended PCs that are logged onto corporate networks. The situation could allow people to access and alter confidential information to commit fraud or to send email from others' accounts. In addition, when network connected PCs are left unattended, employees can offer the "someone else used my machine" defense when faced with evidence that their machine was improperly used. Some companies would benefit from using timeouts, which make users of back on to the system after specified periods of inactivity. another solution would be to use proximity tokens, which disconnect users and log back onto on the system based on their proximity to their PCs.

29 September 2005 - Software Pirate to Pay More Than US$1 Million in Restitution
Li Chen has pleaded guilty to one count of copyright infringement and will pay US$1.1 million in restitution to Symantec and Microsoft for software piracy under the terms of his plea agreement. A Symantec spokesperson said, "This guy was one of the largest distributors of pirated software. He had direct ties to China, where the counterfeit product was being produced."

28 September 2005 - IM Malware on the Rise
A recent report noted 25 IM viruses circulating in September and 47 in August, the highest monthly total recorded since they began keeping track a year-and-a-half ago. The report also noted that in the past, IM viruses have been variants of email viruses, but they are increasingly seeing malware created specifically to spread over IM systems. According to the report, attackers are using IM malware to take control of computers and use them in zombie attacks.

15 September 2005 - Sys Admins Believe Users Could Put Companies at Risk
A Sophos survey has revealed that 79% of syadmins believe that employees are putting their companies at risk by failing to act safely online. Despite instructions from IT departments, many employees continue to open unsolicited email attachments and download malware from websites. Read more and find out about the 'sinful seven' online activities that employees find hard to resist.

14 September 2005 - Malware time bomber banged to rights
A Californian man has been convicted of planting a malware "time bomb" in his former employer's computer.

13 September 2005 - Users likely to take more online risks at work than home
Corporate users are more apt to click on suspicious links or visit suspicious web sites at work than home, according to a survey conducted by anti-virus supplier Trend Micro.

9 September 2005 - New Law Likely to Spur IT Security Spending at Japanese SMBs
Small and medium sized businesses in Japan are likely to increase their IT security spending to comply with the country's Personal Information Protection Law, which took effect April 1, 2005. The law requires organizations holding personal information of 5,000 or more people to take certain precautions to protect those data; failing to protect the data could result in stiff penalties. AMI-Partners predicts that small and medium businesses in Japan will spend US$824 million on IT security in 2005; that figure is expected to grow to US$1.5 billion in 2009.

9 September 2005 - Softly softly scammers steal money on the sly
Internet thieves are resorting to a "softly softly" approach in order to steal money from users' accounts without arousing suspicion.

8 September 2005 - Indian Call Center Employee Arrested for Alleged Data Theft
Police in India have arrested a man who worked at the Saffron Global call center for allegedly stealing customer data. Company officials say the man was discovered copying data onto a CD; they then alerted police. The suspect was booked under the Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code and has been placed in judicial custody for 14 days.

7 September 2005 - Ireland's First Spam Conviction
Ireland has seen its first conviction under its new anti-spam law; a company called 4's A Fortune Limited was found guilty of sending unsolicited commercial messages to five mobile telephones. The company actually made 165,000 calls, but only five complaints were registered. The law under which 4's A was found guilty took force in November 2003. 4's A was fined 300 Euros for each call and ordered to pay court costs of 1,000 Euros. The law allows fines of as much as 3,000 Euros per message sent. There is presently no provision for jail time in spam cases in Irish law, but that may change in the future.

7 September 2005 - Former Student Sentenced for University Computer Intrusion & Data Theft
Christopher Andrew Phillips, formerly a student at the University of Texas at Austin, has been sentenced to five years of probation for breaking into the school's computer system and stealing people's personal data, including Social Security numbers. In addition, Mr. Phillips has been ordered to pay more than US$170,000 in restitution to the university. Mr. Phillips is prohibited from accessing the Internet except with the approval and supervision of his parole officer, and even then may use it only for school and work.

7 September 2005 - Hackers, scammers and phishers exploit Hurricane Katrina disaster
In the wake of the natural disaster in the United States, internet criminals are expoiting the situation by distributing malware and setting up bogus charity websites.

7 September 2005 - Top ten viruses and hoaxes in August 2005
Which virus topped the chart in August 2005? Find out which viruses and worms were spreading the most across internet email systems in the last last month in this hall of shame.

5 September 2005 - Consumer Reports: One Third Of Net Users Damaged By Malware
In the 2005 Consumer Reports State of the Net survey, the team led by Jeff Fox found that home users of the Internet have a 1-in-3 chance of sustaining computer damage and/or financial loss due to malware. According to the survey, Americans spent over US$2.6 billion on software to protect their computers last year, but also spent US$9 billion on repairs, parts and replacements due to the damage caused by malware. Consumer Reports maintains that on line threats are worse than they were a year ago due to "government inertia and consumers' imprudent practices." In addition the researchers discovered that major consumer products companies are actually providing the economic sustenance for spyware by buying advertising distributed using the scourge. The culprits include computer companies that then make money when users find their systems so overrun with spyware that they give up and buy a new computer.

1 September 2005 - ChoicePoint hacker indicted
The man who received 16 months jail time for dealing in personal information taken from ChoicePoint has now also been indicted for fraudulently accessing consumer financial records.

31 August 2005 - Phony Yahoo Site Tries to Collect User Names and Passwords
A web site pretending to be a free Yahoo game service actually attempts to gather information that could be used to steal identities. The site is being hosted on a Yahoo Geocities account; site visitors are asked
to supply their Yahoo user IDs and passwords. Users are being lured to the site by spam sent through Yahoo's instant messaging service; the message, which urges the recipient to visit the malicious site, appears to come from someone on the user's friends list.

30 August 2005 - Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Windows Source Code
William P. Genovese, Jr. has pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawfully distributing a trade secret; Mr. Genovese sold chunks of source code from Microsoft's Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. He apparently obtained the code on the Internet after someone else stole it and made it available. Mr. Genovese entered his guilty plea in a federal court in Manhattan; he will be sentenced this fall. Federal prosecutors have recommended a prison sentence of 10-30 months, although the maximum penalties for this crime are 10 years in prison and a US$250,000 fine.

29 August 2005 - MPAA Uses Data from Shuttered File-Sharing Sites in New Lawsuits
The Motion Picture Association of (MPAA) America's latest round of lawsuits was based on information the organization obtained from file trading sites - largely BitTorrent hubs -- that were shut down earlier this year. The MPAA filed suits against 286 individuals for illegal file sharing. The MPAA and those it represents are hopeful that the action will discourage people from illegally trading copyrighted digital content. The lawsuits at present are filed against John Does along with Internet addresses; the MPAA will seek their identities at a later date.

29 August 2005 - Legal Action Against File Sharing Sites Does Not Deter Traders
A study has indicated that the legal action taken against BitTorrent has not reduced the amount of file trading that takes place on the Internet, but merely caused file traders to shift to a different network.

27 August 2005 - Two Arrested in Connection with Zotob Worm
Authorities in Morocco and Turkey arrested two men in connection with the Zotob worm that caused computer outages at organizations around the world two weeks ago. Farid Essebar of Morocco allegedly wrote both the Zotob worm and the Mytob worm in February. Atilla Ekici of Turkey is alleged to have paid Essebar to write them. Authorities say the pair was interested in using the worms for financial gain. The men will be prosecuted in their countries of origin. The Washington Post also reported that these same criminals were suspected of authoring and distributing Rbot, a family of trojans that allow attackers to maintain access to many tens of thousands of infected systems on the Internet.

26 August 2005 - Use USBs at your peril, survey warns
Employees are putting their company's data at risk by not using encrypted USB devices, a new survey has revealed.

26 August 2005 - Three indicted in connection with spam operation
A federal grand jury in Phoenix, Ariz. has indicted three people on charges of violating the federal Can-Spam Act for operating a pornographic spam business.

26 August 2005 - Raid In Brazil Serves Up Arrests of 85 Alleged Cyber Thieves
A four-month investigation into on-line banking theft in Brazil culminated in a raid last week that netted Brazilian police 85 arrests. The raid, which was given the moniker "Operation Pegasus," was carried out by 410 police in seven Brazilian states. The suspects allegedly stole roughly 80 million BRL (approximately US$33.5 million) by breaking into online bank accounts.

24 August 2005 - Anti-Phishing Working Group Reports Phishers are Honing Their Skills
According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group's July 2005 phishing report, spammers are fine-tuning their techniques to evade conventional spam detection and prevention technologies. APWG noted a significant increase in screenscrapers, which send screenshots of users actions to phishers' servers. In this case, shots of users clicking on graphical keyboards were surreptitiously taken; graphical keyboards are sometimes implemented as an anti-keystroke-logging mechanism. In addition, as larger financial institutions implement stronger safeguards against phishing, the phishers are starting to target smaller financial institutions. The report also notes that the total number of reported phishing campaigns in July was down slightly from June numbers.

19 August 2005 - Former University Employees Charged in Grade-Altering Scheme
Ellis Peet and Clifton Franklin, both former Florida Memorial University employees, have been charged in connection with a grade-altering scheme. The men allegedly accepted money and favors in return for changing students' grades. Mr. Peet was a computer technician in the registrar's office and Mr. Franklin a data entry clerk. Officials believe the pair changed their own grades while they attended the school. According to Mr. Peet's attorney, his client has pleaded not guilty to racketeering and violating intellectual property and computer access laws. Mr. Franklin faces the same charges. In addition, three of five students who allegedly acted as middlemen in the scheme have been arrested and charged with racketeering. http://www.local10.com/news/4868830/detail.html

18 August 2005 - Effective Spear Phishing Defense: Positive Social Engineering
Although there is no technological defense against spear phishing, New York State has discovered an alternative means of defending against those targeted attacks: positive social engineering. New York sent "safe" phishing emails to 10,000 employees and told them more would be coming. When the second one arrived the number of people who fell for the scam fell by 50%.

16 August 2005 - Media organizations struck hard by new worm
Sophos has advised computer users not to panic, but to ensure appropriate defenses are in place, following reports that a worm has disrupted business at CNN, ABC, The Financial Times, and the New York Times. The worm exploited the new Microsoft MS05-039 security vulnerability live on air in front of
millions of viewers.


16 August 2005 - Trespassing thief and fraudster convicted
A businessman has been convicted of 120 counts of unauthorized access in what is claimed to be the biggest "computer theft" case of all time.

14 August 2005 - Bulk eMailer Guilty of Data Theft
A Florida jury found Scott Levine guilty on 120 counts of unauthorized access to data, two counts of access device fraud and one count of obstruction of justice; Mr. Levine was found not guilty on 15 other counts, including conspiracy and unauthorized access of a protected computer. Mr. Levine ran the now-defunct bulk email company Snipermail.com. According to prosecutors, Mr. Levine and Snipermail.com stole 1.6 billion customer records including names, home addresses, email addresses and bank account and credit card numbers from the Acxiom Corp. data management company. Mr. Levine is to be sentenced on January 9, 2006. Six of Mr. Levine's Snipermail.com employees pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and testified against him in this case.

9 August 2005 - High School Students Charged with Felonies for School Computer Misuse
13 Pennsylvania high school students have been charged with felony computer trespass for breaking school rules regarding the use of their school-issued laptop computers. The state defines the offense "as
altering computer data, programs or software without permission." The students discovered the administrative password that allowed them to reconfigure their machines and bypass Internet filters. Some students turned off a remote monitoring function and some used that function to view administrators' computer screens; some students also downloaded instant messaging tools. There is no evidence that the students altered grades, disabled the school's network or otherwise acted maliciously. School district officials maintain the students violated the code of conduct and acceptable use policy that warned of legal repercussions. The school had tried detentions and suspensions before turning the matter over to police. A hearing is scheduled for August 24, 2005.

9 August 2005 - Microsoft, Spammer Reach Settlement
Microsoft has settled a lawsuit against Scott Richter who was known as a "spam king." As part of the settlement, Richer will pay Microsoft US$7 million, $5 million of which Microsoft will put toward expanding
technology and support available to law enforcement for investigating cyber crime.

8 August 2005 - University of Texas Server Breached; 39,000 People Affected
School officials at the University of North Texas say a security breach of a school server may have compromised data belonging to about 39,000 current and former students as well as some applicants. Although there is no evidence that any information was stolen, the intruders may have had access to names, Social Security numbers and some credit card numbers. The school says it has blocked access to the server. University of Northern Texas has set up a web site with more information.

8 August 2005 - Identity Thieves Using Browser Hijackers to Steal Data
An identity theft ring is using CoolWebSearch browser hijacking tools to steal information from people's computers; the researchers who stumbled upon this fact say a great deal of information has been uploaded to a remote server. The stolen information includes chart sessions, usernames, passwords and banking data as well as other personal details including eBay account information, salary data and vacation plans. The FBI is reportedly involved in the case.

8 August 2005 - Sonoma State University Security Breach Affects Students and Applicants
Sonoma State University in California said that cyber intruders gained access to the names and Social Security numbers of people who attended or applied to the school between 1995 and 2002.

4 August 2005 - Cal Poly Pomona Notifies 30,000 of Security Breach
Cal Poly Pomona has sent notices to more than 31,000 people notifying them that their personal data may have been compromised when cyber intruders accessed two of the school's servers earlier this summer. The information compromised includes the names and Social Security numbers of applicants and current and former students, faculty and staff.

3 August 2005 - University of Colorado Hires Outside Auditor After Third Breach
A third intrusion into University of Colorado computer over the course of several weeks has prompted the school to hire an outside auditor to examine its "security safeguards." The school also plans to put firewalls on some of its systems. The most recent breach involved a computer that holds information related to the school's Buff OneCards, which allow students and staff to access buildings after hours and to purchase food. The files contain Social Security numbers, photographs and other personal information belonging to 29,000 students and 7,000 staff members.

2 August 2005 - Report Estimates US$2.75 Billion in Losses From Phony ATM/Debit Cards
According to a recent Gartner report, phishing attacks are responsible for US$2.75 billion in losses from ATM and debit cards over the past year; based on a survey of 5,000 Americans Gartner estimates that 3 million people have each lost an average of US$900. The thieves obtain card information through phishing attacks and with the aid of keystroke loggers; they then use the information to create phony cards. Card-issuing banks should validate security codes on the cards' magnetic strips, but not all are doing it.

1 August 2005 - Phishers use little old lady to steal from eBay Good Samaritans
Users of the eBay auction website have been warned about a new phishing campaign which pretends to be a message from a wheelchair-bound old lady. However, if recipients respond they risk passing their confidential login details and password to a criminal gang.

1 August 2005 - British Phonographic Industry Takes Five to Court Over Alleged Illegal Music Downloading
The British Phonographic Industry is taking five alleged illegal music downloaders to court. The five defendants allegedly made nearly 9,000 songs available on line. More than 60 other people in the UK who shared music illegally have already settled out of court, paying fines of up to 6,500 GBP (US$11,507).

1 August 2005 - Darkmail growth is hidden bandwidth menace
Malevolent mailers are increasingly hitting systems with email flooding attacks never designed to appear in inboxes.

27 July 2005 - Woman held over spammer death
A woman is being held in connection with the violent death of mega-spammer Vardan Kushnir.

26 July 2005 - Identity Theft Woes Linger

A study from Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company found that 28% of those who experienced identity theft were unable to completely restore their good names even a year after the theft had been discovered and efforts had been made to remediate the damage. The average fraudulent charge made to accounts was nearly US$4,000; 16% of those answering the survey said they had to pay for some or all of those charges. Only 17% of those surveyed said they were notified of suspicious activity by their banks or creditors. http://www.techweb.com/wire/security/166402606

26 July 2005 - Microsoft Genuine Advantage Now Mandatory for Updates
Microsoft's Genuine Advantage program has now become mandatory. As of July 26, 2005, users who want downloads from Windows Update, Microsoft Update for Windows, or the Microsoft Download Center must allow the program to verify that they are using a valid version of the Windows operating system. If the OS is found to be counterfeit, users have several options. Some will be eligible for free legitimate copies of Windows; they need to provide Microsoft with the source of the phony software, proof of purchase and the actual CD. Users who do not have all the information can still file a report and will be permitted to purchase a legitimate copy of Windows at a discounted price. Security updates are exempt from Windows Advantage and will be available to everyone.

22 July 2005 - Two Servers Breached at University of Colorado
The University of Colorado has hired a forensic investigator to look into security breaches of two of the school's servers. A server at the College of Architecture contains information on approximately 900 students and faculty members, while a Health Services server contains information on approximately 42,000 students and university staff. No credit card information was stored on either server and there is no
evidence that the information was stolen or has been misused. The university is informing people whose information was stored on the servers by letter and by email; in addition, the school has established a web site and a hot line to answer questions and provide information to those affected by the breaches.

18 July 2005 - While Computer Attack Costs are Down, Data Theft Costs Increase
A survey from the Computer Security Institute (CSI) and the FBI found that the average losses due to computer attacks dropped 61% in 2004. The 700 companies and government agencies who responded to the survey reported an average cost for cyber attacks of US$204,000 in 2004 compared to an average of US$526,000 in 2003. This is the fourth consecutive year in which the cost has dropped. However, the cost
associated with information theft has increased more than US$51,000 from last year. Theft of proprietary information cost the respondents an average of US$355,000 in 2004, compared to US$169,000 in 2003.

13 July 2005 - Number of Zombie Computers Growing Quickly, Says McAfee
A report from McAfee says that the numbers of computers infected with zombie code are increasing at an alarming rate. Incidents involving bot code increased to 13,000 in April through June of this year, four times
the number for the preceding three months.

13 July 2005 - Alleged Defense Computer Intruder Says Security Was Poor
Gary McKinnon, the British man who faces extradition to the US on charges he broke into and damaged US defense-related computer systems, says weak security on those systems enabled him to exploit them. Mr. McKinnon maintains that in one system, the local administrator's passwords was blank.

11 July 2005 - GAO Report Finds DHS Information Security Lacking
A Government Accountability Office report says the Department of Homeland Security's computer systems do not adequately ensure their own security and the security of the information they contain. Among the problems are risk assessments that have not been completed and incomplete implementation of security plans and policies. The applications and agencies selected for review in the GAO report include
US-VISIT, the Transportation Security Administration and the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate.

8 July 2005 - Police Arrest Florida Man for Unauthorized Wireless Network Use
Police have arrested Benjamin Smith III and charged him with using another individual's home wireless computer network without permission. Mr. Smith was allegedly sitting in his car outside the person's home
using his laptop computer. The owner of the network says he is less concerned with the fact that Mr. Smith accessed his network than with what Mr. Smith was doing while on the network. The law under which Mr. Smith was charged prohibits unauthorized access of a computer or network. His arrest is the first for unauthorized Wi-Fi access.

7 July 2005 - University Student Arrested for Alleged Data Theft
Police in Japan have arrested a university student from China who allegedly broke into more than a dozen companies' computer systems and stole customer information. The student allegedly sold the data on
line. He has admitted to the allegations, saying he was seeking additional funds for tuition and related school expenses. The man was arrested for a specific intrusion and is being questioned about the others.

6 July 2005 - IM-Based Attacks Increasing Rapidly
A study from the IMlogic Threat Center found that IM-based attacks rose from 20 in all of 2004 to 571 in just the second quarter of 2005. People who use IM would be well advised to block all attachments on IM and filter IM traffic to allow it to come from trusted sites only.

5 July 2005 - IM Threats Skyrocket
The number of attacks targeting instant message programs shot up 400 percent in the second quarter of this year, according to research from IM security firm Akonix.

1 July 2005 - RIAA to File More Suits Against Downloaders
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) says it plans to take legal action against 784 people suspected of illegally downloading music to their computers. Those being targeted include users of
Grokster and Limewire. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4640415.stm

1 July 2005 - Operation Shuts Down Internet Pirates' Servers Around the World
Raids on suspected Internet piracy groups in 11 countries around the world netted seven arrests and the seizure of US$50 million worth of pirated materials, including software, games and movies. In addition, eight servers used to distribute the pirated material were shut down.

30 June 2005 - Alleged Spammer Could Face Three-Year Prison Sentence
A Florida man could face a prison sentence of up to three years for sending unsolicited email messages. Peter Moshou said he would plead guilty to one count of violating the CAN-SPAM Act. Moshou allegedly
sent millions of spam messages through EarthLink; the messages used phony "from" addresses, deceptive subject lines and did not provide a means to unsubscribe electronically, all of which are violations of the law. Moshou could also be fined as much as US$350,000.

29 June 2005 - Deloitte 2005 Global Security Survey
According to Deloitte's 2005 Global Security Survey, financial services organizations are experiencing more internal security breaches than external security breaches. 28% of those responding to the survey had an IT security breach last year, a decrease of 55% from last year's figures. However, internal breaches rose from 14% last year to 35% this year.

28 June 2005 - Government Computer Intruder Sentenced
Robert Lyttle, one half of the Deceptive Duo team that broke into government computers and defaced web sites, was sentenced to four months in jail. Lyttle pleaded guilty to five counts of unlawfully accessing
computer systems in April 2002. He was also ordered to pay US$72,000 in damages and will remain on probation for three years following his release from federal prison; for the first four months of his probation,
he will be confined to his home by electronic monitoring. Mr. Lyttle's accomplice, Benjamin Stark, pleaded guilty last year, to similar offenses, but has not yet been sentenced.

28 June 2005 - Two UK Men Sentenced in Phishing Scheme
Two UK men have been sentenced to jail for their roles in a phishing scheme that netted the pair approximately GBP 6.5 million (US$11.4 million). Douglas Havard received a six-year sentence while Lee Ellwood received a four-year sentence. Their arrests were the result of a British National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) investigation into Eastern European phishing schemes.

20 June 2005 - Security is Banking Sector's Top IT Spending Priority Says Study
According to the Info-Tech Research Group 2005 IT Budget and Staffing Report, security is the banking sector's top IT spending priority. 59% of the banks surveyed plan to increase security spending; 70% of bank IT executives plan to spend money on security software.

17 June 2005 - Some FDIC Employees' Data Compromised
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has notified 6,000 current and former employees that their personal data may have been compromised in a security breach that occurred in 2004. In several cases, the stolen data were used to obtain loans at a credit union. The FDIC says the case is one of "unauthorized release" of personal information rather than an intrusion. The FBI is investigating.

16 June 2005 - Equifax Canada Notifies People of Security Breach
Equifax Canada has notified 600 Canadian citizens that their credit files were illegally accessed. Most of those affected reside in British Columbia. The breach was reportedly due to "improper use of the access
codes and passwords of one of Equifax's customers."

14 June 2005 - Japanese Police Arrest Phishing Suspect
Japanese police have arrested Kazuma Yabuno who is suspected of creating and operating a web site that appeared to be a known Internet auction site but which was instead used to harvest unsuspecting users' personal information. Police confiscated 12 computers from Mr. Yabuno's home; he will also face charges of copyright violation. The arrest is Japan's first related to phishing.

7 June 2005 - CitiFinancial Blames UPS for Tape Loss
Citigroup Inc. subsidiary CitiFinancial says a box of computer tapes being transported by United Parcel Service has been lost. The missing tapes hold unencrypted data, including names and Social Security
numbers, for approximately 3.9 million customers. The company has sent letters to all affected customers, warning them to pay special attention to their accounts for suspicious activity. CitiFinancial videos show the UPS driver failing to observe the agreed upon "special security procedures." The tapes were sent in early May; there have been no reports of unauthorized account activity. CitiFinancial has been planning to switch to encrypted data sent electronically in July of this year. The Secret Service is investigating.

6 June 2005 - Phishers Target Smaller Financial Institutions
A report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group indicates that phishers are broadening their base of attack targets to include small financial institutions such as credit unions. The Anti-Phishing Working Group also said that the number of phishing attempts reported in April rose to 14,411, although the number of unique phishing messages dropped from 4,100 in March to 3,930 in April.

4 June 2005 - Texas HS Student Arrested for Unauthorized Computer Access
A South Houston (Texas) High School student has been arrested on charges of breaching computer security for allegedly using software he obtained from the Internet to gain unauthorized access to the school district's computer network. The student's actions hastened the district's security implementation activities.

31 May 2005 - Stolen Laptop Holds Dept. of Justice Workers' Credit Card Data
A laptop computer stolen from Fairfax, Virginia-based Omega World Travel contains names and credit card numbers of approximately 80,000 US Department of Justice employees. The data were password- protected. The FBI and local police are investigating the theft.

31 May 2005 - Arrests Made in Cyber Espionage Case
An Israeli husband and wife living in London have been remanded in custody after Israeli police requested their extradition. Michael and Ruth Haephrati were arrested for allegedly designing Trojan horse software that other businesses used to spy on rivals' computer systems. 18 people in Israel have also been arrested for using the software.

30 May 2005 - Private Citizen Files Suit Against Alleged Spammer
A New York attorney has filed a lawsuit against China Digital Media for using his email address to send spam. Between April 29 and May 3, attorney Scott Ziegler saw his email box fill up with bounced promotional emails with his business address in the "From" field. He contacted the owner of the company being promoted and got told they hired a promoter but didn't know anything about spam. He sued the
unknown spanners and is seeking millions of dollars in damages.

27 May 2005 - Site Registration and Password Reminder Attacks Help Spammers Tailor eMail
Phishers and spammers are reportedly using site registration and password reminder attacks to gather information about their targets in order to customize their scams. People are more likely to open email
that appears to come from sites they are familiar with, and customized email messages are less likely to be caught by spam filters.

26 May 2005 - Feds Shut Down Network Offering Pirated Movie Downloads
US law enforcement authorities executed search warrants in a raid targeted at administrators and content providers of a network that allowed people to download new release movies including Star Wars -- Episode III. The main server of the Elite Torrents network was seized in the raid. After the raid the site displayed the following notice: "This site has been permanently shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement."

26 May 2005 - Bank of America to Roll Out Anti-Phishing and Anti-Spyware Technologies
Bank of America is planning to introduce a system to protect its customers from phishing, spoofing and spyware. The program will use visual images from a list and a customer-generated text passage to verify that they are visiting an authentic BoA web site instead of a phishing site. The program, called SiteKey, is scheduled to premiere in Tennessee and will remain optional until it is available nationwide. SiteKey also connects the users' PC to the online banking service; if an attempt is made to access the account from a different computer in the future, the user will be required to answer one of three previously
selected security questions.

23 May 2005 - Stolen Laptop Holds MCI Employee Data
A laptop computer stolen from the car of an MCI financial analyst in Colorado contains the names and Social Security numbers of approximately 16,000 current and former employees. A company spokesperson said the computer was password-protected but declined comment on whether or not the data were encrypted and on whether or not the employee was authorized to have the data on the laptop. Those whose data have been put at risk were notified, and the company is investigating the incident; the employee may face disciplinary action if the investigation determines that company policies were violated.

21 May 2005 - Cyber Intrusion at Georgia University Exposes 40,000 People's Data
As many as 40,000 people may be at increased risk for identity theft after a computer intrusion at Valdosta State University in Georgia. The breached server held information for VSU 1cards, combined identification and debit cards that can be used to purchase food and books on campus and check out library materials. All students from 1997 onward are at risk, as are current employees and employees who left the school between 1997 and 1999.

6 May 2005 - DrinkorDie Piracy Ring Members Receive Jail Time
Three members of the DrinkorDie Internet piracy group have received jail sentences of between 18 months and two years for their roles in a massive software piracy ring that defrauded major companies, including
Microsoft, of millions of dollars in revenue. The group allegedly stole software and allowed people to download it from the Internet at no cost. A fourth defendant received a suspended sentence.

6 May 2005 - Phishers Increasingly Using Keystroke Loggers
According to the Anti Phishing Working Group (APWG), the use of keystroke loggers to steal computer users' personal and financial information has increased tenfold in the past six months. The keystroke
logging software is surreptitiously placed on users' computers via browsers with unpatched known vulnerabilities. http://www.vnunet.com/news/1162890

4 May 2005 - Chinese Student Arrested for Alleged Industrial Espionage
Police in Versailles, France have arrested a Chinese student who is suspected of stealing proprietary information from her job at Valeo, a car parts manufacturer. Law enforcement officials who raided her house found computer equipment containing information about Valeo products, including "confidential" designs. A Valeo executive became suspicious when the woman, Li Li, was noticed walking around the office with a portable computer. She has denied the charges.

3 May 2005 - Air Canada Alleges Industrial Espionage Against WestJet
Court documents allege that WestJet Airlines Ltd. stole confidential data from Air Canada that gave WestJet the impetus to move its eastern hub from Hamilton to Toronto. Forensic auditors analyzed seven WestJet computers and allegedly found flight comparison reports as well as information about AirCanada's load factor -- the percentage of available seating capacity filled by travelers.

2 May 2005 - Secret Service Investigating Disappearance of Time Warner Backup Tapes
Time Warner Inc. says that the US Secret Service is investigating the disappearance of backup tapes containing the names and Social Security numbers of 600,000 current and former employees. Time Warner says that an outside company, Iron Mountain, was responsible for the tapes at the time of their loss. Time Warner is notifying those whose data may have been compromised.

1 May 2005 - Judge Rules Two Schools Do Not Have to Surrender Information to RIAA
US Magistrate Judge Russell A. Eliason ruled that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University do not have to disclose the names of students who allegedly used the schools'
computer networks to share music illegally. The Recording Industry Association of America had subpoenaed both schools to obtain the information. An attorney representing the students said that the case is not about whether students have the right to share music in this way, but about Internet users' right to privacy.

30 April 2005 - Nine charged in Bank Account Data Theft Ring
Nine people have been charged for their alleged roles in a scheme in which financial records belonging to half a million people were stolen and sold to collection agencies. Orazio Lembo Jr., the alleged ringleader of the operation, apparently obtained lists of people who were being sought by debt collection agencies. Lembo allegedly shared those names with accomplices who worked in banks where they could compare the list to the names of bank customers and provide Lembo with the names and account details when they found matches. Lembo in turn allegedly sold that information to collection agencies for a tidy profit. If convicted of all charges against him, Lembo could face 130 years in prison and a fine of US$1 million.

29 April 2005 - Florida International University Computer Systems Breached
Some Florida International University students, faculty and staff have been notified that their personal information may have been compromised after it was discovered that computer systems at the school had suffered security breaches. A file found on one of the computers indicates that the intruders had access to user names and passwords for 165 university computers. Users have been advised to remove sensitive data from their computers and to place fraud alerts on their credit files. University "technology experts" are examining 3,000 computers at the school for evidence of intrusions.

29 April 2005 - New York AG Spitzer Files Spyware Suit Against California Company
New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has filed a lawsuit against Intermix Media Inc. for allegedly installing spyware and adware on people's computers without their knowledge. According to the lawsuit, New York residents downloaded 3.7 million programs, including games and screen savers, from Intermix web sites, but they were not properly notified that the downloads also contained spyware and adware.
Intermix senior VP and general counsel Christopher Lipp said such practices are part of Intermix's past, and were established under prior leadership and that the company has ceased distributing the programs in
question of its own volition in April 2005. The lawsuit follows a six-month investigation.

28 April 2005 - Backup Tape Disappearances Underscore the Need to Rethink Policies and Procedures
The recent spate of revelations from companies that backup tapes containing customer data have been lost has pointed out the fact that organizations may need to reconsider their backup policies and procedures. One poll of 400 companies found that more than 60% do not encrypt any of their backup data and that just 7% encrypt all their backup data. Another problem is that the job of making backup tapes
tends to fall to those ranking low on the IT department scale of importance, which increases the possibility that they could be bribed.

27 April 2005 - Heckencamp Sentenced for eBay and Qualcomm Intrusions
Jerome Heckencamp has been sentenced to eight months in prison followed by eight months of electronically monitored home confinement. In January 2004, Mr. Heckencamp pleaded guilty to breaking into computer systems of several high profile companies, including eBay and Qualcomm, and installing Trojan horse programs. Mr. Heckencamp has also been ordered to pay nearly US$270,000 in restitution and for three years; he may not use an Internet-connected computer without permission from a probation officer. http://www.crime-research.org/news/27.04.2005/1186/

22 April 2005 - Lawsuit Alleges Kraft Foods Sent Spam
The founder of a small California ISP has filed a lawsuit against Kraft Foods, Inc., alleging the company is responsible for 8,500 spam email messages in violation of both the federal CAN-SPAM Act and California
anti-spam law; the headers of the unsolicited commercial email messages were faked. The attorney representing the man who filed the suit says his client is entitled to US$11.7 million in damages.

21 April 2005 - Carnegie Mellon Computer Breach Exposes Personal Data
Carnegie Mellon University is informing more than 5,000 people that their personal information, including Social Security numbers, may have been compromised during a computer network breach that was discovered on April 10. The compromised computers contain information about current graduate students and administrative staff as well as those who received graduate degrees from and those who applied to several different graduate programs.

21 April 2005 - UK Ministry of Defence Files Found on Discarded Computer
A UK man found 70 "top-secret" Ministry of Defence files on a laptop he obtained at a garbage dump. The MoD is conducting an investigation to find out whether or not the computer was official MoD equipment. In 2002, the ministry admitted that nearly 600 laptops had been stolen or gone missing in the five preceding years. An MoD spokesman said the ministry has procedures in place to ensure that the equipment it disposes of does not contain sensitive information.

21 April 2005 - China Has Highest Number of New Zombie Computers
According to a recent report, over 20% of the 157,000 new zombie computers identified daily are in China. The US is next on the list with 16%, followed by South Korea with 10%. Zombies are computers infected with malware which allow them to be used by others to launch denial of service attacks or to send spam or phishing email. http://asia.internet.com/news/print.php/3499491

20 April 2005 - Ameritrade Notifying 200,000 Customers Whose Data is on Missing Tape
Ameritrade has begun sending letters to approximately 200,000 current and former customers informing them that a tape containing their personal data kept on file by the company has been misplaced. A spokeswoman for the company says there is every reason to believe the tape is still somewhere in the facility of the shipping company that initially misplaced it or that it has been destroyed. She also said the
data were compressed but not encrypted.

19 April 2005 - DSW Ups Number Affected by Data Breach to 1.4 Million
DSW Shoe Warehouse now says that the number of people affected by a massive theft of customer data is as high as 1.4 million, a number ten times greater than had previously been acknowledged. DSW says it has begun contacting those people for whom they have contact information. The thieves managed to steal credit card numbers, driver's license numbers and checking account numbers, but no customer names or addresses were affected. The Secret Service is investigating.

19 April 2005 - Shanghai Court Sentences Two Americans to Prison
Shanghai's No. 2 District Court sentenced two American men to prison for selling pirated DVDs over the Internet. Randolph Hobson Guthrie received a prison sentence of two-and-a-half years and was fined 500,000 yuan (US$60,400). Abram Cody Thrush received a one-year prison term and was fined 10,000 yuan (US$1,200). Both will be deported at the completion of their sentences. Guthrie reportedly earned about US$160,000 selling the pirated material.

11 April 2005 - Nine years in jail for $24 million spammer
A US court has sentenced a 30-year-old man to prison for sending spam messages said to have earnt him a fortune of $24 million. Read more about the case now.

8 April 3005 - Fake Microsoft security update delivers Trojan horse
Users are warned to be on their guard against an attempt by hackers to break into their computers under
the disguise of being a Microsoft security update. Find out more now and ensure you are properly protected. http://s388.link.sophos.com/fakeupdate?pl_id=9

7 April 2005 - Sophos Reveals the Dirty Dozen Spamming Countries
Sophos researchers have identified which countries are pumping out the most spam. Find out which country is the worst offender, and how innocent unprotected computers are adding to the spam problem.

5 April 2005 - Car Sales Firm Fined for Sending Spam to Mobile Phones
A car sales website based in Melbourne has become the first Australian company fined for spamming mobile phones, after authorities found it had sent unwanted SMS text messages to phone numbers taken from newspaper classified ads.

1 April 2005 - Microsoft Files More Phishing Lawsuits
Microsoft has filed civil lawsuits against 117 alleged phishers. The "John Doe" suits were filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle and are targeted at phishing sites that pretend to be Microsoft MSN and Hotmail sites.

1 April 2005 - Google Tests Anti-Phishing Technology
Google is testing methods of protecting its Gmail users from on line fraud. When users open a suspect message, a dialog box appears warning that the message may not be from whom it appears to be from and advising against clicking on any hyperlinks or providing the sender with any personal information. Gmail also now removes hyperlinks from HTML email. In fall of last year, Google implemented DomainKeys technology as a precautionary measure against email spoofing.

31 March 2005 - Blaster Author To Do Community Service Instead of Paying US$500,000 Fine
Microsoft has asked that Jeffrey Lee Parson, the man who created a Blaster variant, be required to serve 225 hours of community service in lieu of a $500,000 fine that would have been paid to Microsoft. In January, Parson was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay half million dollars in restitution. Parson's community service cannot involve the Internet or computers.

31 March 2005 - Sophos Reports on the Top Ten Viruses and Hoaxes
Which virus topped the chart in March 2005? Find out which viruses and worms were spreading the most across internet email systems in the last last month in this hall of shame.

31 March 2005 - Kelvir-F worm spreads malicious message via chat system
Experts at Sophos have warned users to be on their guard against a worm which spreads via instant messaging, posing as a funny screensaver. Find out more now.

31 March 2005 - Microsoft Moves Toward Restricting Downloads to Authenticated Users
Windows users who want to download one of Microsoft's 22 Language Interface packs will soon have to verify that they are running a legitimate copy of the software. The Windows Genuine Advantage authentication program began last year as an optional program. Over time, Microsoft has begun offering benefits to those people who verify they are running legitimate copies of the operating system, and are
moving toward withholding updates from users whose copies are determined to have been pirated.

30 March 2005 - South Korea Fines SMS Spammers
Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication has fined premium phone service operators between w15 million (US$14,744) and w30 million (US$29,483) for sending "unsolicited promotional text messages to cell phones." The fines were larger for companies that operated more than one call service; fines totaled w720 million (approximately US$707,700). The ministry is also investigating nearly 200 more cases of spam. http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200503/200503300027.html

30 March 2005 - Israeli Military Commander Jailed After his Laptop is Stolen
An Israeli Defense Forces commander was sentenced to two weeks in military prison following the theft of his laptop computer. The commander says he left his computer, which contains classified military information, on his desk while he was on a field trip with his soldiers; military protocol requires that laptops containing classified material be kept in a vault while not in use. Military police are investigating the theft.

29 March 2005 - Nearly Half of Retailers Surveyed Said they Share Customer Data
A study from The Customer Respect Group found that data brokers aren't the only ones playing fast and loose with customer data. 43% of financial services firms surveyed said they share customer data with business partners or third parties. 47% of retailers surveyed said they "shopped customer data around." Of insurance companies surveyed, 35% said they shared customer information with third parties. Airline and
travel companies fared the best in the survey, with only 28% sharing data with other sources.

28 March 2005 - Laptop Stolen from UC Berkeley Has Data on 100,000 Alumni and Applicants
A laptop computer stolen from a restricted area of a University ofCalifornia, Berkeley office contained personal information belonging to nearly 100,000 former graduate students and graduate school applicants.
Notifying all those affected could prove difficult as some received their degrees nearly 30 years ago. The data included Social Security numbers and some birthdates. A university spokesperson said there is no evidence the thief has used the information; it is more likely that the thief was after the machine and not the data it contained. University officials announced the March 11 theft on Monday, March 28 in accordance with California law requiring notification of consumers when their personal data is stolen.

28 March 2005 - Japanese Data Protection Law Imposes Penalties for Managers/ Data Handlers
Japan's Personal Information Protection Law, which took effect on April 1 of this year, requires companies to comply with a set of rules for handling consumers' personal data. The law applies to companies holding
the personal data of 5,000 or more individuals, including employees and affects foreign companies as well. Companies are required to designate a corporate privacy officer and staff who will be responsible for compliance with the law. Penalties include fines of up to 300,000 yen approximately US$2,760 and jail sentences of up to 6 months for the managers and data handlers who fail to comply. Under the provisions of the law, the companies must specify why they are collecting the information, obtain consent from the individuals before using it for any other purpose and take measures to prevent theft and leaks.

28 March 2005 - Yahoo Messenger Targeted by Phishers
Phishers are taking aim at Yahoo Messenger users. The attackers are sending messages that appear to come from friends and that contain a link to a phony web site. The web site looks authentic and asks for
Yahoo usernames and passwords. Once in possession of this information, attackers would have access to the user's Messenger profile and contact list. A recent report from SurfControl found that while 90% of the more than 7,5000 US businesses surveyed have established policies for email use, just over half have policies that address IM and peer-to-peer technology use.

25 March 2005 - GAO: SEC Information Security Controls are Lacking
A General Accounting Office report says that the Securities and Exchange Commission needs to improve controls over user accounts and passwords, access rights and permissions, network security and audit, and monitoring of events to detect and prevent intrusions. The weaknesses put sensitive data at risk of being stolen or modified. SEC passwords were easily guessed, and former employees were not blocked from using SEC computers. In one case, someone who had not worked for the SEC for eight months still had access to the system. The SEC will incorporate the recommendations made by the GAO by June 2006. http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=30858&printerfriendlyVers=1&

24 March 2005 - Ten Worst Security Practices
A list of the ten worst security practices includes buying products to fix security holes as they arise, neglecting to create a security policy, treating all data as equal and backing up all data every night.
The list includes tips on what to do instead.

24 March 2005 - Apple Settles Suit Against Developer Who Shared Mac OS Beta
Apple Computer Inc. has settled a lawsuit it brought against Doug Steigerwald, one of three men sued for distributing test copies of Mac OS X 10.4, code-named "Tiger," on a file sharing site. Steigerwald was a member of the Apple Developer Connection, which entitled him to early test copies of the new version of the operating system. Steigerwald will pay "an undisclosed sum" to Apple, and acknowledged that his
actions were wrong. Steigerwald is also being investigated by the US Attorney's office.

24 March 2005 - Acxiom Data Thief Sentenced to Nearly Four Years in Prison
Daniel J. Baas has been sentenced to 45 months in prison for breaking into Acxiom Corp.'s computer systems and downloading encrypted password files. He was able to access the files of other Acxiom clients. Although Baas stored the files on computer disks at his home, he apparently never used or shared the information he took. At the time, Baas was working as a systems administrator for a company that was doing data analysis for Acxiom. http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/news/editorial/

24 March 2004 - Financial Institutions Must Notify Consumers of Data Theft
Four government banking agencies, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve, have issued rules that require banks and other financial institutions to inform customers as soon as possible when their information has been stolen or its security has been breached and there is reason to believe it will be misused. Notice could be delayed if a law enforcement agency determines that it would interfere with a criminal investigation. Financial institutions are also required to inform their primary federal regulators whether or not customers are being informed.

23 March 2005 - Korean Bank Under Investigation for Allegedly Using Pirated Software
Police in Seoul, Korea are investigating a complaint lodged by Microsoft Korea against a local bank for using pirated software; 61% of the bank's 11,400 computers are allegedly running pirated software. Microsoft is also charging that the bank has not renewed its contract for the 4,500 computers for which the software was initially purchased. The bank maintains that under the terms of its contract with Microsoft, it can make as many copies of the software as it pleases.

22/18 March 2005 - FBI Arrests Two in Denial-of-Service for Hire Case
The FBI has arrested two people in connection with a denial-of-service-for-hire case. Jason Arabo allegedly hired a 17-year-old to launch an attack on the web site of Jersey-joe.com, a business competitor. The 17-year-old allegedly used a botnet to conduct the attack. Arabo could face up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as twice the amount of loss incurred by the victims.

21 March 2005 - Security Managers Take Proactive Measures
Security managers are increasingly taking a proactive stance toward network security. This shift is driven by several factors, including Sarbanes-Oxley compliance requirements, increasing use of wireless technology, remote workers and web services and the ever-shrinking lag time between the disclosure of a vulnerability and the appearance of malware to exploit it. General Motors Corp. denies network access to
anyone the company has not vetted. Texas Tech University deployed network behavior modeling tools to establish baseline network behavior and quickly detect and identify anomalies. Companies are also looking
to build security into application software and to encourage the software industry to incorporate security into the development process.

21 March 2005 - Legislators Introduce Spy Block Act
The Spy Block Act, introduced last week by US Senators Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), is based on the premise that people have the right to know and control what software is installed on their machines. "The bill bans the surreptitious installation of software" in cases when the user did not request installation and it also takes aim at software that prevents efforts to uninstall or disable it. Also banned under the bill are the collection and transmission of information about computer users without their consent. http://www.internetnews.com/security/print.php/3491731

19 March 2005 - University of Nevada-Las Vegas Server Breached
The records of as many as 5,000 current and former international students at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas may have been exposed when an attacker gained access to the school's Student and Exchange
Visitor Information System server. The breach was discovered during a routine network activity security check; analysts caught the attack as it was happening and took the server off line. UNLV has emailed all
affected students and alerted them to the situation. The FBI is investigating.

19 March 2005 - Computer Stolen from Nevada DMV Contains Motorist Data
Thieves broke into a Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles office and stole a computer that contains personal data belonging to more than 8,900 licensed Nevada drivers. The information includes names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, photographs and signatures. The Nevada DMV initially said the data was encrypted, but DMV chief Ginny Lewis said the company that makes the state's digital driver's licenses told her the data was not encrypted. All Nevada DMV licensing stations have been ordered to remove personal information from computers; the department plans to send letters to the people whose data is on the stolen computer. In addition to the computer, the thieves also stole 1,700 blank licenses and the equipment to make licenses. The US Secret Service is investigating.

18 March 2005 - Cyber Thieves Thwarted
Police thwarted an attempt by cyber thieves to steal GBP220 million (US$41.7 million) from the London offices of Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui. The bank's computer systems were compromised with keystroke loggers in October 2004 and then used in unsuccessful attempts to transfer money to 10 overseas bank accounts. The thieves were stopped before any money was actually transferred. Emerging reports suggest that the attack was carried out with the help of an insider.

18 March 2005 - Brazilian Police Arrest Alleged Phishing Ringleader
Brazilian federal police have arrested Valdir Paulo de Almeida, the alleged leader of a phishing gang. The group allegedly stole US$37 million from victims' bank accounts with the aid of a Trojan horse program; as many as 3 million Trojan-laden emails a day were sent.

17 March 2005 - More University Computer Breaches
California State University, Chico has informed more than 59,000 people that the security of their personal information may have been compromised due to an attack on the school's servers. The information included the names and Social Security numbers of current, former and prospective students and well as current and former faculty and staff. Those affected were notified through email and the postal service. The
university says it will stop using Social Security numbers as identifiers. A Boston College computer used for fund-raising purposes was broken into, but school officials say no personal data were stolen; they still plan to notify the 120,000 alumni whose information may have been compromised. Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn says the school will no longer use Social Security numbers as identifiers.

16 March 2005 - Federal Agencies to Face Tougher Security Requirements
US federal agencies will face additional requirements when they are graded on next year's security report card. The Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 requires that agencies categorize their applications and systems according to the impact a major security breach would have on their ability to operate. In addition, agencies will be required to comply with minimum security control standards for federal systems by December 2006; the standards are described in the National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Report 800-53.

16 March 2005 - IRS Employees Vulnerable to Social Engineering
Treasury Department inspectors posing as information technology help desk employees addressing a network problem were able to convince 35 IRS employees to reveal their network logon names and change their passwords to one suggested by the callers. The results show a significant improvement from a similar test conducted in 2001, when 71 of 100 IRS employees changed their passwords.

16 March 2005 - Former IT Manager Gets Prison for Breaking Into Company's System
Mark Erfurt, who in August 2004 pleaded guilty to breaking into his former employer's computer system and to obstruction of justice for overwriting backup tapes, was sentenced to five months in prison. Erfurt will also serve five months under home detention and three years of supervised release, in addition to being ordered to pay US$45,000 in restitution. Erfurt had been employed by Manufacturing Electronic Sales Corp. as an IT manager, but after his termination, he broke into the company's computer system, read email, deleted data and downloaded a proprietary database.

14 March 2005 - State Legislators Introduce Data Theft Customer Notification Bills
Legislators in more than 20 states have already proposed bills aimed at dealing with data theft like that recently experienced by ChoicePoint and LexisNexis. Hastily proposed measures run the risk of being overly broad or narrow, or vaguely worded, impeding effective interpretation.

10 March 2005 - ISP Employee Arrested for Stealing Credit Card info
On March 8, UK police arrested an employee of Zen Internet for allegedly stealing customer credit card details. The suspect then allegedly used the information to establish gaming accounts that he sold over the Internet.

10 March 2005 - Customer Data Stolen from DSW Shoe Warehouse Stores
Credit card and other customer data from at least 103 DSW Shoe Warehouse stores has been stolen. The thefts took place over the last three months. Julie Davis, general counsel for parent company Retail Ventures, says credit card companies have reported fraudulent activity. Data provided at the DSW web site was not affected. Ms. Davis also said that an independent computer security company will conclude an
investigation within the next week two weeks, and that the Secret Service is investigating as well.

9 March 2005 - Consumer Data Stolen from Seisint Databases
Data broker LexisNexis said that social security numbers and other personal data belonging to as many as 32,000 US consumers were stolen from databases at Seisint, a company recently purchased LexisNexis parent company Reed Elsevier. The FBI is investigating the case. The company says it will notify all those whose data was compromised and will help them monitor their credit reports and other accounts for problems.

9 March 2005 - MIT, Harvard and CMU Business Schools Will Not Admit "Hackers"
MIT's Sloan School of Management will join Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business and Harvard Business School in rejecting applicants who took advantage of directions posted on the Internet to
access a web site that manages online school admissions. Sloan dean Richard L. Schmalensee said rejected applicants may reapply in later years; in addition, Sloan may consider appeals from individuals with extenuating circumstances. Mr. Schmalensee said that the posted instructions involved effort on the part of the information seekers; they had to know they were doing something unethical.

9/7 March 2005 - Worms Spreading Through MSN Messenger
Researchers have detected a variety of worms that are spreading through MSN Messenger. Some are Bropia variants; two others, Kelvir and Sumom, are capable of installing the Backdoor.Rbot Trojan. The number of worms using IM to spread is increasing. In the first six weeks of 2005 alone there have been 10 IM worms, three times the number for the same period last year.

8 March 2005 - Three Plead Guilty in Net Piracy case
Three men have pleaded guilty to being members of organized groups that distribute pirated video and computer games. The men were caught as a result of "Operation Higher Education," a Net piracy sweep carried out in 12 countries.

8 March 2005 - University of Arizona Student Pleads Guilty to Piracy
Parvin Dhaliwal, a student at the University of Arizona, has pleaded guilty to possession of unauthorized copies of intellectual property, a Class 6 Felony under the state's new piracy law. Mr. Dhaliwal had uploaded digital copies of recently released films and music believed to be valued at $50 million dollars; some movies such as Matrix Revolutions were still playing in theaters. Mr. Dhaliwal received a sentence of 3 months in jail, 3 years probation, 200 hours of community service and a US$5,400 fine. He is also required to take a university class on copyright issues.

8 March 2005 - Man Charged with Breaking into Sony Ericsson
Site Csaba Richter of Hungary has been charged with industrial espionage for allegedly breaking into the Sony Ericsson AB and Ericsson AB Intranets. He told officials that he hoped the companies would be impressed with his skills and hire him. Mr. Richter has admitted to stealing documents concerning telecommunications.

7 March 2005 - Proposed Anti-Phishing Legislation
The Anti-Phishing Act of 2005, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), would make it a crime to create phony web sites with the intent to defraud or commit identity theft. Parody sites would be exempt from the law. Those convicted could face prison sentences of up to 5 years and fines of up to US$250,000. The same penalties would apply to those convicted of pharming.

7 March 2005 - Keystroke Logger Surreptitiously Installed at New Zealand Internet Cafe
A cyber thief in Wellington, New Zealand apparently installed keystroke-logging software at an Internet cafe that allowed him to harvest user names and passwords belonging to people who conducted online banking there. Consumers are being warned to use caution while banking on line.

7 March 2005 - Shareholders Sue ChoicePoint
After the share price dropped more than 20%, stockholders filed a class action lawsuit in California on behalf of the people who bought shares over the past 10 months. The suit alleges that ChoicePoint knew it had inadequate protection measures and that it was selling data to illegal enterprises, and that security breaches had occurred twice before.

4 March 2005 - Identity Theft Investigation Nets Scottish Police 28 Arrests
After a months-long investigation, Scottish police have arrested 28 people on charges of identity theft. Among the schemes used by the alleged identity thieves are collecting trash, shoulder surfing and phishing to obtain PIN numbers. Nearly 2 million GBP (US$3.83 million) was stolen as a result.

3 March 2005 - Government Executives Focus on Security
Two thirds of federal IT managers rate security as one of their top three concerns. However the federal executives expressed concern that the government will not make significant cyber security progress in the
coming year, at least in improved grades given by the House Committee on Government Reform.

28 February 2005 - NIST Releases Final Recommended Security Controls for Federal Systems
On Monday, February 28, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released the final version of SP 800-53: Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information Systems. The publication is designed
to serve a a guideline for federal agencies to meet Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) mandates.

26 February 2005 - Lost Bank of America Backups Contain Federal Employees' Personal Data
Bank of America has revealed that it has lost backup tapes that contain personal data, including Social Security numbers and account information, of 1.2 million federal employees. Band of America Spokeswoman Eloise Hale said there is no evidence the tapes or the data they contain have been used, and that the tapes are presumed lost. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) says he was told it is likely the tapes were stolen from a commercial airliner by baggage handlers in December. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) is drafting a letter to the General Services Administration and Bank of America asking how federal employee personal data is going to be protected.

24 February 2005 - Phony eMail Appears to Come from FBI, Has Virus Attached
The FBI has posted a warning on its web site about email messages that appear to come from the agency, but which actually contain a virus as an attachment. The FBI says in its statement that it never sends unsolicited email and that people should not open unexpected attachments or those from unrecognized senders. The FBI also recommends that people who receive one of the fraudulent emails report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov.

10 February 2005 - Viral Valentines May Cause Heartbreak for PC Owners
Security experts at Sophos are urging computer users to be on their guard against the threat of viruses disguised as Valentine's Day greetings. Find out about the latest threats now and ensure you are protected.

7 February 2005 - Former AOL Employee Pleads Guilty in Customer Data Theft Case
Former AOL employee Jason Smathers has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen property for stealing 92 million customer names and email addresses and selling them to another individual. Sean Dunaway paid US$28,000 for the data which he used to promote his gambling sites before selling them to other spammers; charges against him are pending. Smathers will face up to two years in prison when he is sentenced on May 20; he will also be required to reimburse AOL for the cost of fixing the problem, which is estimated to be between US$200,000 and $400,000.

7 February 2005 - Proposed 2006 US Budget Calls for Increased IT Security Spending
President Bush's proposed fiscal 2006 budget designates US$1.685 billion for IT security spending, a 7.2% increase over the previous year. In addition, cyber security and information sharing are now cross-agency lines of business.

4 February 2005 - Bropia-F Worm Spreading
The Bropia-F worm spreads through MSN Messenger and installs a variant of Agobot on systems it infects, which can be used to log keystrokes, collect system information and act as a spam relay. It spreads by offering pictures to IM contacts of infected machines. Bropia-F affects MSN messenger running on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP.

4 February 2005 - SAIC Investor Data on Stolen Machines
Several computers containing names, social security numbers and other personal data belonging to 45,000 current and former Science Applications International Corp. shareholders have been stolen from an
SAIC administrative building in San Diego, CA. SAIC has begun informing those affected by the security breach. There is no evidence that the thieves were after the data.

4 February 2005 - Computer Stolen From Car Firm Contained Customer Data
In a separate story, three computers stolen from an automobile sales company in Japan's Shiga Prefecture contained data, including some credit card numbers, belonging to nearly 1,700 customers. Officials say the data cannot be accessed without passwords.

2 February 2005 - Harry Potter Fans Targeted in Phishing Scam
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has issued a warning to her fans not to trust any one purporting to be selling electronic copies of the upcoming sixth installment in the popular series. Ms. Rowling's lawyers managed to get one phony web site closed down, but it is likely there will be others. The people behind the scam are believed to be collecting personal financial data.

2 February 2005 - Top Ten Viruses for January 2005
Find out which viruses and worms were spreading the most across internet email systems last month in this hall of shame.

1 February 2005 - Student Arrested for Allegedly Stealing Test Info with Keystroke Logger
A Texas high school student has been arrested for allegedly attaching a keystroke logger to a teacher's computer, stealing test information and selling that information to other students. The teen was charged with breach of computer information, a Class B misdemeanor which carries a sentence of 180 days in jail or a US$2,000 fine. Police in area school districts sent out alerts about the keystroke logging device so that teachers could be made aware of the potential problem.

31 January 2005 NIST Releases Public Draft of Recommendations For Federal Systems
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has published the final public draft of Special Publication 800-53, Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information Systems, which will become a mandatory Federal Information Processing Standard by the end of 2005. The publication is one of seven that NIST will produce as required by the Federal Information Security Management Act. NIST is accepting comments on the draft through Friday, February 11.

28 January 2005 - Man Arrested for Attempting Tsunami Donations Site Intrusion
London (UK) police have arrested a man for allegedly trying to break into the Disasters Emergency Committee tsunami donations web site. Police are examining the suspect's computer equipment for evidence of the attempted intrusion. The suspect has been released on bail.

27 January 2005 - Trojan Masquerades as Windows Security Fix
An email purporting to be from Microsoft, claims an attachment will address security vulnerabilities in Windows. The attachment actually contains a Trojan horse program. The body of the email contains errors in grammar and spelling, which should clue people in to the fact that it is phony. Microsoft has encountered this type of scam often enough that they have devoted a web page to it, making clear that the company never sends security updates as email attachments.

27 January 2005 - Committee Gives Anti-Spyware Bill Top Priority
The House Commerce Committee has given HR29, the Spy Act, high priority; members hope to get it out of committee in under three weeks. The bill would require that spyware be easy to identify and to remove from computers. It would also prohibit the programs from collecting personal data without the user's express permission and authorize the Federal Trade Commission to fine violators as much as US$3 million for each infraction.

24 January 2005 - Financial Services Hardest Hit by Phishers
According to figures from the Anti-Phishing Working Group, there were 9,019 distinct new phishing attacks in December 2004, a 6% increase over the number recorded in November. The number of active phishing sites reported in December was 1,707. Eighty-five percent of the attacks in December targeted financial services institutions.

19 January 2005 - Spanish Police Arrest Alleged Webcam Malware Author
Spanish police have arrested a computer programmer who allegedly wrote malware that allowed him to spy on people with webcams. The man, identified only by the initials J.A.S., allegedly distributed his creation over a peer-to-peer file-sharing network in the guise of a music or picture file. He also allegedly stole online banking passwords.

19 January 2005 - DOJ Nets First two P2P Copyright Theft Convictions
Two men arrested as a result of last summer's Operation Digital Gridlock have been convicted of copyright theft. William R. Towbridge and Michael Chicoine each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit felony criminal copyright infringement which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a US$250,000 fine and restitution to victims; sentencing is scheduled for April 29. The men are also required to destroy all copies of copyrighted software, games, music and movies and the equipment used to create them. http://www.internetnews.com/xSP/print.php/3461501

18 January 2005 - Two US Citizens on Trial for Piracy in China
Chinese authorities report that two US citizens are on trial for allegedly selling more than 180,000 counterfeit DVDs, valued at nearly US$1 million, on the Internet. Two Chinese accomplices are reportedly on trial as well. Randolph Hobson Guthrie and Abram Cody Thrush could face 15 years in prison if they are convicted. A verdict has not been reached in the case.

18 January 2005 - University of California at San Diego Computers Compromised Again
For the third time in one year, computers containing information belonging to at University of California San Diego students and alumni have been breached. The university has been phasing out the use of Social Security numbers as identifiers, but these computers were among the last that still contained this data. While there is no evidence that the data has been used to steal identities, those whose personal information was compromised have been informed in compliance with California law. The intruder used the servers to store music and video files.

17 January 2005 - Judge Grants Injunction Against Spammers
US District Court Chief Judge Philip M. Pro has granted the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) request for preliminary injunctions against six companies accused of sending adult-themed spam. The companies are enjoined from sending out spam for the duration of the civil suit against them. The FTC alleges that the email sent by these companies did not have either the required "Sexually Explicit" labels in their subject lines or a way of opting out of receiving future email.

16 January 2005 - FBI Arrests Tsunami eMail Scammer
The FBI arrested Matthew Schmieder, who has admitted to sending out 800,000 unsolicited emails designed to look as if they were from a charitable organization collecting funds for the tsunami victims. Mr.
Schmieder had established a Paypal account to collect the money, but at the time of his arrest had reportedly received just US$150. He will face a preliminary hearing this week.

14 January 2005 - Texas AG Files Suit Against Prolific Spammers
The Texas attorney general has filed a lawsuit against two men who allegedly run one of the most prolific spam operations in the world. The federal complaint was filed under the CAN-SPAM Act, which carries
fines of up to US$250 per violation; the men named in the suit are also accused of violating two Texas laws that provide for penalties of up to US$20,000 per violation and US$10 per email up to US$25,000 a day. The suit names as defendants University of Texas at Austin student Ryan Samuel Pitylak and Mark Stephen Trotter of California. The pair allegedly sold the personal information garnered from phony mortgage refinance offers and other financial schemes to people for up to US$28 a name. They could face up to US$2 million in fines if they are convicted.

14 January 2005 - Gartner Study: Security Spending Tops List of Priorities
A Gartner survey of more than 1,300 CIOs worldwide found that IT budgets are expected to increase 2.5% this year; security enhancement tools topped the list of technology priorities.

13 January 2005 - DHS and Justice Dept. Plan Annual Computer Security Survey
Homeland Security and Justice Department officials plan to conduct an annual Computer Security Survey to assess the type and frequency of cyber security incidents. The departments plan to survey 36,000
companies across the country this spring. The data collected could help in the development of policy and resource allocation both for the government and for the private sector. The survey is being reviewed by a number of groups, including the FBI and the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, before it is used.

11 January 2005 - Former Teledata Employee Gets 14 Years for Identity Theft
A New York judge has sentenced former Teledata employee Philip Cummings to 14 years in prison for identity theft. Mr. Cummings used his position as a Teledata helpdesk employee to steal customer's credit
reports which he sold to other criminals. Mr. Cummings will also have to pay compensation which has not yet been determined, though losses associated with the theft are estimated to be as much as US$100 million. Several accomplices in the crime are still on trial.

11 January 2005 - Hacker Gets Data on Students and Staff at George Mason University
A hacker compromised a Windows server and gained access to social security numbers and other private information of thousands of students and staff at George Mason University. The university is one of the
Centers of Excellence in Information Security designated by the US government.

10 January 2005 - Software Pirate Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison
A US federal judge has sentenced Kishan Singh to 18 months in prison on a charge of copyright infringement. Singh operated a "pay-for-access" website on which he sold pirated copies of business software. Under the plea agreement, Singh and the US prosecutor agreed that the value of the software was between US$70,000 and US$120,000. Singh has also been ordered to forfeit the computer equipment he used in the commission of his crime.

7 January 2005 - BSA Wants Copyright Law Revamped for Prosecuting Pirates
The Business Software Alliance has released a white paper outlining legislative suggestions that would make it easier to prosecute Internet pirates. In the paper, the BSA maintains that the recent court decisions have created an "impediment to effective enforcement" of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

6 January 2005 - Cyber Scams Prey on Tsunami Donors
The FBI says that cyber scam artists are preying on people's efforts to help the Tsunami victims. There have been reports of sites being set up allegedly to collect donations, but which actually place a Trojan
horse program on the computers of users who visit the site. The FBI advises going directly to sites of known charities to make donations and verifying the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations.

5 January 2005 - AntiSpyware Legislation Reintroduced in House
US Representative Mary Bono (R-Calif.) has reintroduced legislation that could levy fines of up to US$3 million for companies that make software that steals personal information from computers or hijacks people's browsers. The Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act, or SPY ACT, would require users to give permission before software is downloaded onto their computers. It also prohibits unauthorized
software from changing default browser pages, altering security settings, logging keystrokes and delivering advertisements that cannot be closed without ending browser sessions or turning off the computer.

5 January 2005 - Google Search Leads to Security Webcams
A simple, well-crafted Google search can provide access to numerous security webcams, many of which are presumed private. Webmasters should keep the webcam pages password protected and use the robots.txt file to instruct Google and other search engines indicating that the directory should not be spidered. http://www.vnunet.com/news/1160289

4 January 2005 - "Spam King" to Refrain From Sending Ads
Stanford Wallace, the alleged "Spam King," has reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to refrain from sending unsolicited advertisements until a federal case against him has been resolved. Under the terms of the agreement, Wallace's companies may send the ads
only to people who actually visit the companies' websites. The
government alleges that Wallace planted spyware on people's computers
that caused them to be deluged with spam; he then offered to sell tools
he claimed would fix the problem, but they proved ineffective.

3 January 2005 - eBay Discontinues Use of Microsoft's Passport
eBay has informed its customers that it will no longer allow them to sign on using Microsoft's Passport web identity service, which allows users to store information like passwords and credit card data to be used on the Internet. An eBay spokesman said very few customers used Passport to sign on regularly. Passport has met with resistance, as evidenced by the formation of the Liberty Alliance, which hoped to
develop standards for identity authentication on the Internet and promote alternatives to Passport. Microsoft has announced that it will no longer market Passport to third parties, but will continue to stand
behind Passport, using it for MSN and their partners and providing support to third party sites that continue to use the service. http://www.computerworld.com/printthis/2005/0,4814,98677,00.html

2 January 2005 - 2004 Cyber Threat Wrap-Up and Trends
Security threats of all kinds have increased significantly over the past year. Phishing attacks grew 30% a month according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, and the number of botnets, that has fed the spam problem, increased. What has dwindled, however, is the number of worms written simply for the glory of seeing how quickly and widely it can spread. Instead, malware writers are turning an eye to financial gain. Also new in 2004 was Cabir, the first mobile phone worm that uses wireless protocol to spread itself. On the bright side, 2004 was a good year for apprehending and prosecuting cyber criminals: eight virus writers were arrested and two sites used to trade stolen credit card numbers were shut down.

1 January 2005 - Microsoft Wins US$7.4 Million Civil Suit Against Spammer
Microsoft has filed notice in Pima County (AZ) Superior Court that is has won a US$7.4 million civil judgment in King County, Washington, against Glenn Hannifin. Microsoft says that Hannifin has sent millions of spam emails. The lawsuit claims that Hannifin violated both federal and Washington state anti-spam laws. http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/dailystar/55002.php

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