Knujon Archives: |
News - 2009 Archive
Archived 2009 News, for current news click here
August 31, 2009
Officials in West Virginia, Vermont, Wyoming and Washington state have reported receiving between three and five laptops, each over the course of two separate deliveries — but none had ordered any of them. (foxnews.com)
August 30, 2009
August 29, 2009
Italy’s antitrust watchdog is investigating allegations that Google Italy is discriminating against newspapers that don’t want their content linked on Google’s news site by dropping them from its search engine. The Italian authority monitoring markets and competitions said in a statement that it was looking into whether Google might have an unfair advantage in reaping online advertising. (bostonherald.com)
Rogue Pharmacies Dominate Bing's Ads(technologyreview.com)
Most Microsoft Bing-Sponsored Search Ads Point To Phony Pharmacies(darkreading.com)
Fraud groups ding Bing for illicit pharmacy promos(theregister.co.uk)
Report: Microsoft Bing benefits from illegal pharmaceutical sales(computerworld.com)
Bing And Rogue Pharmacy Ads?(digitaltrends.com)
Does Bing 'Find' Illicit Meds Sites?(internetnews.com)
Bing blasted for pushing rogue RX advertisements(thetechherald.com)
Microsoft Bing Benefits from Ads for Illegal Online Pharmacies(eweek.com)
90% Of Bing’s Internet Pharmacies Search Ads Lead To Rogue Sites(searchengineland.com)
Bing in the dock over rogue pharmacy site ads(bx.businessweek.com)
Microsoft Bing Enables Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Sales(blog.pharmtech.com)
90% of Bing's online drug ads lead to rogue pharmacies(arstechnica.com)
Microsoft's Bing invaded by pharmaceutical scammers(blogs.zdnet.com)
Microsoft Slammed Over Bing's Sponsored Online Drug Ads(pcworld.com)
Criminal Prescription: Fake Pharmacies Haunt Bing(news.google.com)
9 in 10 US drug ads on Bing are illegal- report (netimperative.com)
Fake Pharm Ads Flood Bing, Microsoft Benefits: Report(infopackets.com)
Bing Selling Fake Viagra Says Knujon(ukmedix.com)
Are Bing Searches Still Turning Up Illicit Meds?(internetnews.com)
Bing’s Illegal Rogue Pharmacy Ads: “Online Street Corners”(chattahbox.com)
Microsoft Allows Illegal Online Pharmacies to Advertise on Bing(choosehelp.com)
Microsoft Bing a Haven for Illegal Pharmacy Ads(itbusinessedge.com)
Criminals Operating Unlawful Online Pharmacies Through Microsoft’s Bing(cyberinsecure.com)
Microsoft AdCenter On Illegal Pharmacy Ads(searchnewz.com)
August 9, 2009
August 8, 2009
The nation's security could be in jeopardy because not enough workers are sufficiently trained to protect computer systems from hackers, criminals, terrorists and foreign governments, the Partnership for Public Service and consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton found after studying 18 federal agencies and interviewing experts inside and outside government. (cnn.com)
August 7, 2009
August 6, 2009
The smart cards pay for parking spots, and their programming could be easily changed to obtain unlimited free parking. It took researcher Joe Grand only three days to design an attack on the smart cards. The researchers examined the meters used in San Francisco, California, but the same and similar electronic meters are being installed in cities around the world. (cnn.com)
August 5, 2009
STUDY: 89.7% PRESCRIPTION DRUG ADVERTISEMENTS SPONSORED BY BING.COM ARE ILLEGAL OR DON’T REQUIRE A PRESCRIPTION
Pharmaceuticals purchased via Microsoft advertisements test positive as counterfeit
August 4, 2009
New report from LegitScript.com and KnujOn.com
Among our findings in the 59-page report:
Bing is Microsoft's search engine, a new version of their old Live.com platform. Advertisers may purchase space within the search results that are matched to a user's search terms. The point is to present the user with products they may be interested in and can click through to. These are not "organic" search results that appear because of popularity, meta-data or relevance. These are paid-for search results tied to specific products and services. Pharmacies are heavily regulated, in the real world and on-line. Unlicensed pharmacies are not supposed to be able to advertise within Bing.
Bing has search suggestions. Start typing and options will appear below your entry.
In this case, we simply typed "Xanax no" and Bing suggested four variations of "Xanax no prescription" for us. [Xanax, AKA Alprazolam, is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Xanax is a controlled substance. Long-term abuse may result in physical dependence.]
The sponsored Bing results have many options for buying Xanax without a prescription
As a sample we will examine the most prominent advertisement: rxtank.com (ABACUS AMERICA INC/AT&T WorldNet Services) In reviewing these sites it does not take long to see what is really going on. rxtank.com does not supply its business address(makes vague reference to being in Florida) and actually states in their FAQ: "We are not a pharmacy". There are many other samples in the full report. Verify rxtank.com
Bing offers other resultsIn addition to Xanax, Bing suggests links to find Ocycontin, Hydrocodone, Ambien, Vicodin and others with no Prescription.
See For Yourself
August 3, 2009
Google's page-rank algorithm, for instance, in part gives prominence to pages that are heavily linked to other material on the Web. Spammers can exploit this by adding links to their site on message boards and forums and by creating fake Web pages filled with these links. [Knujon] keeps track of reported search spam, says that some campaigns involve creating up to 10,000 unique domain names.
Third-Party Ads Give Facebook an 'Image' Problem (foxnews.com)
August 1, 2009
Exposed: Repair Shops Hack Your Laptops
Family learned over Internet that son was killed (cnn.com)
Report: Federal Documents Detail iPods Overheating, Catching Fire (foxnews.com)
GPS Typo Leads Couple 400 Miles Off Course (foxnews.com)
iPhone Apps for the Lawbreaker in You (foxnews.com)
July 30, 2009
If Skype loses the right to use a key part of its software and can't create an adequate replacement, "Skype's business as currently conducted would likely not be possible," eBay said in its quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Real and Legal Work-At-Home Jobs (yahoo.com)
July 30, 2009
The U.N.’s World Intellectual Property Organization says current owner Majid Karimian Ghannad of Yazd, Iran, has to transfer the domain name — facebook.ir — to the U.S.-based site.
The Geneva-based U.N. agency says Ghannad registered the domain in bad faith and had no right to the name.
White House Clears Up Twitter Mystery (wsj.com)
July 28, 2009
July 27, 2009
The hugely talked-about computer worm seemed poised to wreak havoc on the world's machines on April Fool's Day. And then ... nothing much happened. But while the doom and gloom forecast for the massive botnet -- a remotely controlled network that security experts say infected about 5 million computers -- never came to pass, Conficker is still making some worm hunters nervous. (cnn.com)
July 26, 2009
July 25, 2009
July 24, 2009
10 sites to help you navigate the new world of music. Instead of buying CDs or downloading songs, younger consumers appear to be shifting toward streaming music online and on mobile devices. (cnn.com)
July 23, 2009
Although spam filtering and blocking is helpful for the end user, it doesn’t stop the production of spam. KnujOn strikes spam at the source. Unsolicited electronic material is more than just an annoyance. In 2004, Ferris Research Inc. estimated that spam costs US organizations more than US$ 10 billion dollars per year in manpower, software expenses, and lost productivity. In addition, affected systems can suffer from a distributed loss of bandwidth and occasional server failures, not to mention the risk of virus infection and the dangers of phishing expeditions. (linux-magazine.com)
July 22, 2009
The report cites four challenges facing the government: an inadequate supply of potential new information technology experts; uncoordinated leadership of cyber-security workers; a cumbersome hiring process that discourages people from seeking government jobs and fails to provide a career path for those who do; and hiring managers and human resource specialists who disagree on the quality of IT candidates.
Obama Wages Cyberwar - Mentions KnujOn (wired.com)
July 21, 2009
MARINA DEL REY, CA - The Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and registrar Lead Networks Domains Pvt. Ltd. has expired without renewal because Lead Networks failed to comply with the requirements of that RAA (icann.org)
July 20, 2009
SEOUL, South Korea — Hackers extracted lists of files from computers that they contaminated with the virus that triggered cyberattacks last week in the United States and South Korea, police in Seoul said Tuesday.
The attacks, in which floods of computers tried to connect to a single Web site at the same time to overwhelm the server, caused outages on prominent government-run sites in both countries.
Teenager claims to have easy iPod Touch jailbreak (cnet.com)
July 19, 2009
Lexis-Nexis made public notification of a data breach that federal authorities say is tied to a New York mafia crime family. The New York-based company has sent more than 13,000 letters to former customers whose personal data may be at risk. The 13,000 customers may have been targeted for extortion and identity theft.
Amazon takes a page from 1984, deletes Orwell books from Kindles (tgdaily.com)
July 18, 2009
Often imitated and deviously duplicated, a group called PrankNET appears to be at the center of a growing trend that has harried hoteliers and restaurateurs for months and is now being investigated by the FBI. (foxnews.com)
July 17, 2009
BOSTON - A doctor has pleaded guilty to writing tens of thousands of prescriptions for muscle relaxants and other drugs over the Internet to patients he'd never examined.
Federal prosecutors say Dr. Torino Jennings, of Mechanicsville, Va., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston on Monday to seven counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and four counts of tax evasion.
Prosecutors say between 2004 and 2007, Jennings issued from 50,000 to 100,000 prescriptions based on forms completed for online pharmacies.
Pain relief can spiral into addiction to prescription drugs (cnn.com)
July 16, 2009
Although access to the internet is restricted within China and many neighboring Central Asian republics, where a large portion of the Uyghur expatriate community resides, over twenty-five prominent web sites, mostly maintained by Uyghurs who left Xinjiang prior to Communist Liberation, reach approximately half of the estimated one million Uyghurs living outside Xinjiang. Most, like the International Taklamakan Human Rights Association (http://www.taklamakan.org), the East Turkistan Information Center (http://www.uygur.org), and the Uyghur American Association (http://www.uyghuramerican.org/) are focused on serving the international exile community and drawing external attention to the Uyghurs' plight, with predominantly English-language sites ("Cyber-Separatism and Uyghur Ethnic Nationalism in China" 16). About half are dedicated to open independence advocacy, while the others are focused more generally on providing information about the Uyghurs, their history, culture, and current political situation; a few of these latter sites are sometimes accessible within China itself depending on political conditions ("Cyber-Separatism and Uyghur Ethnic Nationalism in China" 9). (cheznadezhda.blogharbor.com)
July 15, 2009
Though job scams are prevalent at any point in time, today's tough economic times have increased the amount of scammers looking to take advantage of people desperate to make money and find a job. "With the economy sliding, people who might otherwise be skeptical want to find a silver lining and too often mistake the glitz and glamour promises of a scammer's ad for their path to financial security," says Christine Durst, co-founder and CEO of Staffcentrix, a training and development company that focuses on home-based work. (cnn.com)
July 14, 2009
A Weymouth company is sweet on becoming the online corner candy store to the world. Candy.com is scheduled to launch July 20 as a destination for everything candy - selling more than 6,000 different candy items from 500-plus manufacturers to offering product reviews, blogs and discussion boards. The Web site’s candy selection will come from all over the United States and the world, including products from smaller manufacturers and retro candy that adults remember from their childhood, such as candy cigarettes, 100 Grand bars and Charms, according to CEO Greg Balestrieri. (bostonherald.com)
July 13, 2009
Once again we are seeing false suspensions and blank Whois records for spammed Xin Net domains engaged in
illicit traffic. This has been carefuly documented at Xin Net before.
No Whois record returned, but the site is active!
July 12, 2009
Every quarter Google and Postini take a joint look at the state of the spam industry, its undulations and upheavals. And the results for the most recent quarter, ended June 30, are in. In many ways, the results are unsurprising: Spam is up again, with levels 53 percent higher than the first quarter of the year, but just 6 percent higher than the second quarter of 2008. (Spam levels were uncommonly low last quarter following the shut-down of the ISP McColo, a notorious haven for spammers. Those spammers have largely found other services to host their activities, and spam levels have since rebounded.) (tech.yahoo.com)
July 11, 2009
Some California pot sellers are living the high life this summer — because high-tech social-networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are allowing them to legally swap street corners for the Internet. (foxnews.com)
July 10, 2009
IDG News Service - The grainy video shows a bleary-eyed young man in a hoodie inside the Carrell Clinic in Dallas, Texas. As he hits the elevator button, the theme music from Mission Impossible plays in the background. "You're on a mission with me: Infiltration," he tells the camera. Then in the course of the next five minutes, the man, who says he hasn't slept in three days, uses a security key to roam the halls of the hospital and install malicious botnet software on a computer there. He says he's "infiltrated a very large corporate office," but according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, he was just working the night shift as a security guard, pretending to break into the very building he was supposed to be guarding. On Friday the federal authorities arrested Jesse William McGraw on a charge of felony computer intrusion, saying he intended to use the botnet to launch a massive distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on July 4, the day after he was set to stop working there. He'd nicknamed the day "Devil's Day." He worked for a Dallas security company called United Protection Services, on the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift at the clinic. McGraw, who went by the hacker name GhostExodus, allegedly installed malicious software all over the Carrell Clinic, including systems that contained confidential information and others that managed the building's climate-control systems, authorities said Tuesday. The hacker could have harmed patients or damaged drugs if he had turned off air conditioning during Texas's hot summer months, authorities said (cio.com)
July 9, 2009
WASHINGTON -- The flagship system designed to protect the U.S. government's computer networks from cyberspies is being stymied by technical limitations and privacy concerns, according to current and former national-security officials. The latest complete version of the system, known as Einstein, won't be fully installed for 18 months, according to current and former officials, seven years after it was first rolled out. This system doesn't protect networks from attack. It only raises the alarm after one has happened. A more capable version has sparked privacy alarms, which could delay its rollout. Since the National Security Agency acknowledged eavesdropping on phone and Internet traffic without warrants in 2005, security programs have been dogged by privacy concerns. In the case of Einstein, AT&T Corp., which would test the system, has sought written approval from the Justice Department before it would agree to participate, people familiar with the matter says. (wsj.com)
July 8, 2009
North Korea was indeed behind the cyberattacks that targeted dozens of Web sites in the U.S. and South Korea over the past week, a U.S. defense official told Fox News Wednesday afternoon. (foxnews.com)
July 7, 2009
A computer security expert is calling for action against two Chinese companies that he and other analysts allege are facilitating spam and cybercrime on the Internet.
Both of the companies, eName (http://www.ename.com/) and Xin Net Technology (http://xinnet.com/), are domain name registrars. They sell domain names and the corresponding registration services that allow a Web site to be found on the Internet, said Gary Warner, director of research in computer forensics at the University of Alabama's computer and information sciences department.
Warner, who runs a research project dedicated to tracking trends in spam, said both companies accept domain name registrations from bad actors who can be traced to illegal activity and spam.
Xin Net came in at the top spot on a list of the most abused registrars released earlier this year by KnujOn, an organization dedicated to fighting spam. It garnered the same rank last year.
From June 2008 through February, KnujOn said it found 34,283 illicit domains linked to Xin Net, covering unregulated prescription drugs, pirate software and counterfeit consumer goods.
EName has allowed registration of Web sites selling software that purportedly allows users to spy on other people's SMS messages, Warner said. The company also allows the registration of domains names that are hosted on botnets, or networks of computers that have been infected with malicious software.
CyberCrime & Doing Time (garwarner.blogspot.com)
China postpones controversial Web filter (bostonherald.com)
July 6, 2009
CHICAGO — United Airlines' computers are back up and running at O'Hare International Airport, slowly easing long lines of passengers headed out for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. It's not clear whether all of the computers are functioning again, but some ticket agents are able to check in passengers. And the self check-in kiosks are working. A computer problem involving all of United's computers at O'Hare had caused delays and cancelations Thursday morning. (cnn.com)
July 5, 2009
LONDON, England (CNN) -- How many people does it take to break the Internet? On June 25, we found out it's just one -- if that one is Michael Jackson.
The biggest showbiz story of the year saw the troubled star take a good slice of the Internet with him, as the ripples caused by the news of his death swept around the globe.
"Between approximately 2:40 p.m. PDT and 3:15 p.m. PDT today, some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson," a Google spokesman told CNET, which also reported that Google News users complained that the service was inaccessible for a time. At its peak, Google Trends rated the Jackson story as "volcanic."
As sites fell, users raced to other sites: TechCrunch reported that TMZ, which broke the story, had several outages; users then switched to Perez Hilton's blog, which also struggled to deal with the requests it received.
Celebrity death rumors spread online (cnn.com)
July 4, 2009
For more than 200 years, buried deep within Thomas Jefferson's correspondence and papers, there lay a mysterious cipher -- a coded message that appears to have remained unsolved. Until now. The cryptic message was sent to President Jefferson in December 1801 by his friend and frequent correspondent, Robert Patterson, a mathematics professor at the University of Pennsylvania. President Jefferson and Mr. Patterson were both officials at the American Philosophical Society -- a group that promoted scholarly research in the sciences and humanities -- and were enthusiasts of ciphers and other codes, regularly exchanging letters about them. (online.wsj.com)
July 3, 2009
STOCKHOLM — A little-known Swedish software firm has snapped up file-sharing website The Pirate Bay with the hope of turning the source of legal controversy into a money-spinner that appeals to both users and content providers.
Global Gaming Factory X AB, which operates Internet cafes and provides software, said Tuesday that it had agreed to buy Pirate Bay for 60 million Swedish crowns ($7.7 million).
The website made world headlines in April when the three Swedish founders and a financial backer were each sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay a combined $3.6 million in damages for breaching copyright law with the free downloading site, which was one of the biggest sites of its kind on the Internet.
Hey, that's not the hotel I booked (cnn.com)
July 2, 2009
ROME -- The U.S. Secret Service plans to unveil Tuesday plans for a pan-European task force charged with preventing identity theft, computer hacking and other computer-based crime.
The unit will be based in Rome, teaming up with an Italian anti-cyber-crime police unit and the Italian post office Poste Italiane SpA, which has developed software that can track electronic payments as it moves beyond traditional mail delivery.
Apple pulled adult app, won't distribute porn (macworld.com)
July 1, 2009
Securing the nation’s and the world’s increasingly critical, connected and diverse information infrastructure requires a holistic view of cybersecurity, rather than a focus on specific technologies, threats and delivery vectors, according to a panel of government security officials.
Hacker pleads guilty to stealing 1.8 million credit card numbers (post-gazette.com)
June 29, 2009
Prime Minister creates security post after warnings of electronic espionage. Britain is to appoint its first national cyber security chief to protect the country from terrorist computer hackers and electronic espionage, Gordon Brown will announce tomorrow. (independent.co.uk)
June 28, 2009
Former Department of Homeland Security cyber chief Rod A. Beckstrom has been tapped to be the new president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the California based non-profit, which oversees the Internet's address system. Most recently, Beckstrom was director of the National Cyber Security Center -- an organization created to coordinate security efforts across the intelligence community. Beckstrom resigned that post in March, citing a lack of funding and authority. (washingtonpost.com)
June 27, 2009
State Department officials monitoring events in Iran from Dubai have relayed back to Washington that Mousavi's Web site "Kalemah," his last link to the outside world, is completely shut down. (foxnews.com)
June 26, 2009
June 25, 2009
PORTLAND, Oregon — Hackers defaced the home page of the Oregon University System, posting a caustic message telling President Obama to mind his own business and stop talking about the disputed Iranian election. Attempts to access the university system's Web site were automatically redirected to another page, where readers viewed a message said to be from Iran that asserted there was no cheating in the election. That message was up for 90 minutes before university system technicians intervened Wednesday morning. (foxnews.com)
June 24, 2009
TRENTON, N.J. — A 14-year-old New Jersey girl who posted nude pictures of herself on MySpace.com will have child pornography counts dropped. The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office says the girl must undergo at least six months of counseling and probation and must stay out of trouble. If she does, all charges will be dropped. The Clifton teen was initially arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. If convicted on those counts, she could have been required to register as a sex offender. (foxnews.com)
June 23, 2009
Alan Ralsky, a 64-year-old Michigan man that federal investigators say was among the world's top spam kingpins, pleaded guilty on Monday to running a multi-million dollar international stock fraud scam powered by junk e-mail. (washingtonpost.com/securityfix/)
June 21, 2009
Germany to Block Child Porn Web Sites
Australian Parents Fight to Shut Down Teen 'Revenge' Web Site (foxnews.com)
Iranians dodging government's Internet crackdown (cnn.com)
FBI hacked by China (washingtontimes.com)
June 20, 2009
One blogger put up an “Iran Election Cyberwarfare Guide” detailing how activists could support Iranian tweeters. Advice included: “Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is Tehran and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become Iranians, it becomes much harder to find them.” Protesters are also using Twitter to organise “denial-of-service” attacks against Iran Government websites — co-ordinated attempts to shut down their servers by overwhelming them with traffic. (timesonline.co.uk)
June 19, 2009
(CNN) -- A federal jury Thursday found a 32-year-old Minnesota woman guilty of illegally downloading music from the Internet and fined her $80,000 each -- a total of $1.9 million -- for 24 songs. Jammie Thomas-Rasset's case was the first such copyright infringement case to go to trial in the United States, her attorney said. (cnn.com)
June 18, 2009
Michael Phelps may have conquered the 2008 Olympics, but he might also be destroying students’ computers. Typing his name in five major search engines carries a 40 percent maximum risk of infection, according to a recent report by the security technology company McAfee. Hypothetically, 100 out of the 250 websites that appear after a search of “Michael Phelps” would be infected. (foxnews.com)
June 17, 2009
Iranians protesting the outcome of their country's presidential election, and stymied by Internet censorship, have a secret weapon — proxy servers. Following the controversial announcement that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won in a landslide late Friday, Iranian authorities disabled cell-phone text-messaging and blocked Web sites such as Facebook and YouTube. But Iranians who'd voted for the "loser," Mir Hossein Moussavi, quickly discovered what Chinese Web users have long known: certain Internet-linked servers can serve as relays, allowing access to blocked sites. Instead of two machines communicating directly — as usually happens when a Web user goes to a Web site — the proxy server acts as a "man in the middle," bouncing data from one to the other and back again. (foxnews.com)
June 16, 2009
Behind a Massive Robocall Scam, Four Human Faces:
What's surprising is that these billion-plus calls allegedly stemmed from three companies — Transcontinental Warranty, Voice Touch and Network Foundations.
And behind those three companies are four human faces: Christopher Cowart, James and Maureen Dunne, and Kamian Kohlfeld.
A Peek Inside One Telemarketing Firm Ensnared in FTC Lawsuit: After just four days as a telemarketer at Transcontinental Warranty, Mark Israel quit. He couldn't take all the dishonesty and the "screaming and yelling" from irate consumers. A declaration from Israel, of Boca Raton, Fla., is a key component in a Federal Trade Commission civil lawsuit against the Florida company, which is accused of using illegal, prerecorded calls — or robocalls — and blatant misrepresentations while hawking bogus car warranties. (foxnews.com)
Car Warranty Robo Calls Investigated: The calls target people regardless of whether they have warranties or even own cars and have become such a nuisance that officials in 40 states are investigating the companies behind them. The Better Business Bureau said that last year it received more than 140,000 complaints about the car warranty calls, which come even if a person has signed up for the national Do Not Call registry. (foxnews.com)
Peeved at Auto-Warranty Calls, a Web Posse Strikes Back : Mr. Silveira began calling back an auto-warranty company that has become the focus of an Internet crusade. He left it voice-mail messages that contained nothing but a recording of Rick Astley's 1987 hit song "Never Gonna Give You Up." (wsj.com)
Sample Robo-Call Recordings:
402-982-0610 on 5/29/09 "Mortgage Payment Reduction"
269-768-2592 on 5/29/09 "Hardship program"(female)
917-398-5520 on 6/16/09 "Hardship program"(male)
502-565-1289 on 4/27/09 "Grant funding"
866-246-2310 on 6/5/09 "Auto Warranty"
231-732-2607 on 2/18/09 "Consumer Credit Card Bailout"
571-261-0045 on 5/12/09 "Kathy from Financial Freedom"
206-339-3738 on 5/5/09 "Cash System" RE: 556daily.com* More on this one later
Iran threatens Web sites reporting on protests(cnn.com)
June 15, 2009
The election crisis in Iran has ignited a full-on guerrilla cyberwar, with Twitterers and techies across the globe pitching in to help protesters in that country access the Internet, and official Iranian government Web sites being knocked offline.
Twitter Links Iran Protesters to Outside World (foxnews.com)
June 14, 2009
June 13, 2009
Two Harvard math majors, Greg Tseng and Johann Schleier-Smith, co-founded Tagged in 2004. I called them up, wanting to know why they're using Harvard math degrees to annoy the piss out of people. Tseng, the CEO, was unavailable, but Schleier-Smith, the chief technology officer, agreed to talk, but only over e-mail. "We did not intend to cause people to invite contacts by accident," Schleier-Smith wrote. "The recent backlash hurts, and we want to ensure our continued growth helps people rather than creating problems for them."
Tagged or Spammed?
June 12, 2009
HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- If you like to search for "music lyrics" or "free" things, you are engaging in risky cyber behavior. And "free music downloads" puts 20 percent of Web surfers in harm's way of malicious software, known as "malware." A new research report by U.S.-based antivirus software company McAfee has identified the most dangerous Internet search words that place users on pages with a higher likelihood of cyber attacks. The study examined 2,600 popular keywords on five major search engines -- Google, Yahoo, Live, AOL and Ask -- and analyzed 413,000 Web pages. (cnn.com)
June 11, 2009
This is not the first successful action against bad actors. In May 2008 the anti-spam organization KnujOn issued a report that identified 20 registrars — companies that issue domain names — as being responsible for 90 percent of the domains associated with high levels of spam or other abusive activities. By February 2009, eight of the top 10 offenders had been either put out of business or had cleaned up their acts. Unfortunately, a new group of registrars had taken their places, with 10 registrars responsible for 83 percent of spam domains
Rumor Mill: Rod Beckstrom, former director of the US DHS National Cybersecurity Center, to be new CEO of ICANN
June 10, 2009
On Thursday, June 4th the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet held an oversight hearing on “Issues Concerning the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers”. The hearing was remarkable in a number of ways. First, given the technically arcane nature of its subject, the turnout was spectacular – more than half the Subcommittee’s members on a morning when other hearings competed for their attention, and a SRO crowd in the very large hearing room of the full Energy and Commerce Committee. Second, there was remarkable bipartisan agreement expressed, with Member sentiments falling on a continuum between extreme concern and “over our dead bodies” as regards the prospect of termination of the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) between the U.S. and ICANN on September 30th.
Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Hearing on “Oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)”
June 9, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — State, local and federal authorities have arrested 77 suspects on child pornography charges and rescued five young victims. Gov. Charlie Crist announced the 10-week crackdown Tuesday at a news conference with "America's Most Wanted" TV host John Walsh and Attorney General Bill McCollum. The suspects range in age from 17 to 83 and include two registered sex offenders. The last person was arrested Tuesday in Tallahassee. Walsh called the crackdown "historic" and heaped praise on Crist and McCollum, saying he hoped both Republicans will win their next political races. Crist is running for U.S. senator and McCollum for governor. (foxnews.com)
June 8, 2009
3FN Service Specializes in Hosting Spam-Spewing Botnets, Phishing Web sites, Child Pornography, and Other Illegal, Malicious Web Content A rogue Internet Service Provider that recruits, knowingly hosts, and actively participates in the distribution of spam, child pornography, and other harmful electronic content has been shut down by a district court judge at the request of the Federal Trade Commission. The ISP’s upstream providers and data centers have disconnected its servers from the Internet. According to the FTC, the defendant, Pricewert LLC, which does business under a variety of names including 3FN and APS Telecom, actively recruits and colludes with criminals seeking to distribute illegal, malicious, and harmful electronic content including child pornography, spyware, viruses, trojan horses, phishing, botnet command and control servers, and pornography featuring violence, bestiality, and incest. The FTC alleges that the defendant advertised its services in the darkest corners of the Internet, including a forum established to facilitate communication between criminals. (ftc.gov)
June 7, 2009
The Federal Trade Commission's unprecedented recent takedown against troubled Web hosting provider 3FN.net has had an immediate -- if little noticed -- impact on the level of spam sent worldwide, and the number of infected PCs doing the spamming, according to multiple sources. Experts say the drop in spam probably is not visible to most Internet users or even operators of large networks, as the decrease is within the upper ranges of daily fluctuations in spam volumes. Still, the preliminary results indicate that a large number of spam-spewing zombie PCs were being coordinated out of severs hosted at 3FN. According to botnet expert Joe Stewart, director of malware research at Atlanta based SecureWorks, 3FN was home to a large number of command-and-control servers for the Cutwail spam botnet, one of the world's largest. As of last week, Stewart said he was tracking upwards of 400,000 spam zombies infected with Cutwail and sending spam. When I caught up with Stewart again on Monday, he said the number of Cutwail-infected PCs actively spamming was fluctuating between 120,000 and 150,000. (washingtonpost.com)
June 6, 2009
Verizon Business investigated 90 major data breaches in 2008, including 285 million compromised records. Nearly ¾ of those breaches were external hacks, and 99.9 percent of the records were compromised via servers and applications. (bankinfosecurity.com)
June 5, 2009
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One is a assemblyman in California; the other a piano tuner in Pennsylvania.
But when they independently looked at online aerial imagery of nuclear power plants and other sites, they had the same reaction: They said they feared that terrorists might be doing the same thing.
Now, both have launched efforts to try to get Internet map services to remove or blur images of sensitive sites, saying the same technology that allows people to see a neighbor's swimming pool can be used by terrorists to chose targets and plan attacks.
Pentagon Working on Cyberwarfare Tools for GIs (foxnews.com)
June 4, 2009
Now that KnujOn is an ICANN At-Large Structure we participate in many conference calls where vital policy issues are discussed. These calls are invitation only code accessed. This particular call was on the IRT Briefing concerning trademark protection and related issues. About halfway through the call an unidentified male interrupted the discussion and demanded "What color is your underwear?", mild outrage and confusion was followed by more strange statements like "EVERYONE HANG UP NOW! NO MORE QUESTIONS!" and then mass muting of all participants by the call operators at ICANN. After a moment we were restored to the call, but the interruptions continued as whoever repeated tried to shout into the call. Towards the end we were all treated to the query: "Anyone want to touch my wiener?" It is not clear if this was done by cybercrooks, ICANN critics or random pranksters. This was a first, but could be the beginning of a trend as issues of e-crime, institutional corruption, personal privacy, cross-border control, and international sovereignty take center stage in the next decade of the Internet.
June 3, 2009
Cyber terrorist Kasper Hauser has accessed President Barack Obama's encrypted Blackberry messages and reprinted them in a new book being published by the complicit book publisher Little Brown on June 8, 2009. (foxnews.com)
June 2, 2009
June 1, 2009
Learn how an optimal data security solution will allow for effective usage of your organization's data while protecting sensitive information and allowing you to operate in compliance with GLB and SOX. (bankinfosecurity.com)
May 29, 2009
While it's hard to get a handle on just how many consumers were affected by the Heartland Payment Systems (HPY) data breach, the total number of institutions now reporting card compromises is at 656. The tally reflects many banks and credit unions with losses of thousands of dollars to fraud, along with the costs associated with monitoring and card replacement, which has led to several class action suits being filed against the payments processor. On Wednesday, a federal court judge on the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Louisville, KY was to hear the case for consolidating several of the class action suits. The judge will issue the courts ruling sometime after the hearing. (bankinfosecurity.com)
May 28, 2009
TEHRAN, Iran — A moderate challenger to hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned the authorities on Monday for blocking access to the Facebook social networking site ahead of the June 12 presidential election. (foxnews.com)
May 27, 2009
PARIS — A French police official says 90 people have been detained in a nationwide sweep of suspected consumers of online child pornography. The official says Tuesday’s operation stemmed from the 2004 arrest of an 18-year-old man who was running a child pornography ring. The man, from the northern city of Clermont, traded pornographic photos and videos of children as young as babies. He has since been incarcerated. (bostonherald.com)
May 26, 2009
A Beijing judge has ruled that an internet hosting company was wrong to close a prominent government critic's website over allegedly illegal content, in the first case won by a victim of internet censorship in a Chinese court. Hu Xingdou, an economics professor who regularly discusses topics ranging from corruption to police brutality on his webpage, sued Beijing Xin Net in April after the hosting company sent him an e-mail saying the site contained "illegal" content and had been shut down. In a verdict issued on May 20, the Daxing district court said the company had failed to provide proof for its claim and to prove that it asked Mr Hu to change the incriminated content before closing the site, as required in their contract. (ft.com)
Steroids update: ICANN terminates registrar non-responsive to LegitScript rogue Internet pharmacy notifications
May 25, 2009
In July of last year, LegitScript and spam fighter KnujOn sent out letters to eight US-based registrars requesting that they terminate or suspend websites they were sponsoring that offered to sell steroids, a Schedule III controlled substance, without a prescription, from overseas (both illegal and dangerous). Eventually, six of the eight registrars terminated all of the sites. The sole exceptions were Parava Networks, supposedly in Texas, and eNom. (zimbio.com)
May 24, 2009
A handful of times in the past two years, political tensions in former Soviet states have spilled over into cyberspace. In April 2007, protests in Estonia, which was occupied by the Soviet Union for nearly four decades, resulted in attacks by ethnic Russians and their sympathizers on Estonian government networks. A year later, cyber attacks on networks in the nation of Georgia accompanied the military conflict between that country's government and Russia. Radio Free Europe suffered an attack nearly a year ago after it posted a report on the anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. (securityfocus.com)
May 23, 2009
Four HIV-positive patients whose records were left behind on an MBTA train by a Massachusetts General Hospital employee are suing the hospital, claiming their privacy has been breached. In March the hospital notified 66 patients who received care at its Infectious Disease Associates outpatient practice that billing records bearing their names, Social Security numbers, doctors, and diagnoses had been lost by a manager who was riding the Red Line. She had brought the paperwork home for the weekend, but left it on the train when she returned to work the morning of Monday, March 9, according to hospital security reports. (boston.com)
May 22, 2009
The "/b/tards" strike again. The teenaged pranksters of 4chan.org's /b/ discussion board flooded YouTube with pornographic clips Wednesday and Thursday, according to various reports. YouTube has strong filters and dedicated employees seeking out and deleting porn from the site, but it wasn't enough to handle the onslaught of uploading clips. (foxnews.com)
May 21, 2009
May 20, 2009
When a North Carolina woman accused the federal government last week of abusing the Patriot Act to imprison her teenage son for allegedly making bomb threats, the mother's allegation caused quite an uproar, including calls to free 16-year-old Ashton Lundeby. But a new report by Wired News suggests that, not only was the teenager an online superstar in rogue tech communities for his prank phone calls, but his mother may have known all along that the boy was conspiring with others to make bomb threats. (foxnews.com)
May 19, 2009
Who Owns the Problem? In recent years, the web has become one of the leading methods of spreading malicious software. One of the challenges in fighting this means of distribution is the diversity of groups involved in the fight: security companies, independent researchers, webmasters, registrars, hosting companies, network providers, enforcement agencies, and more. What are reasonable expectations and roles for the various parties involved? What partnerships are effective, and how do we build more of them? What are best practices for information reporting and for responding to abuse complaints? (antispywarecoalition.org)
May 17, 2009
A band of brazen thieves ripped off hundreds of New Yorkers by rigging ATMs to steal account and password information from bank customers. They used the pilfered info to swipe half a million dollars from their victims' bank accounts - the latest twist in increasingly aggressive identity-theft scams, police said. (nydailynews.com)
May 16, 2009
On the second attempt, France's National Assembly has passed a net piracy bill that would see offenders disconnected from the Web. Last month the French National Assembly rejected a bill that would see illegal file sharers cut off from the Net after being caught three times. Yesterday, in a 296-233 vote, they passed it, making President Nicolas Sarkozy, a firm advocate of the legislation, a happy man. (digitaltrends.com)
May 15, 2009
Craigslist will pull its controversial "erotic services" section, called a front for prostitution by critics, following the arrest of a Boston medical student charged with murdering a masseuse he allegedly met on the classified ad site. (foxnews.com)
May 14, 2009
The Irish Times reports that a Wikipedia hoax by a 22-year-old Dublin student resulted in a fake quote being published in newspaper obituaries around the world. The quote was attributed to French composer Maurice Jarre, who died at the end of March. It was posted on the online encyclopedia shortly after his death and later appeared in obituaries published in the Guardian, the London Independent, on the BBC Music Magazine website and in Indian and Australian newspapers. Shane Fitzgerald, a final-year undergraduate student studying sociology and economics at UCD, said he placed the quote on Wikipedia as an experiment when doing research on globalisation. (electricnews.net)
May 13, 2009
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey man has pleaded guilty to conducting a cyberattack on Church of Scientology Web sites in January 2008.
Prosecutors say 19-year-old Dmitriy Guzner of Verona entered his plea to computer-hacking charges on Monday in Newark.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wesley Hsu says Guzner attacked Scientology Web sites as part of Anonymous, an underground group that protests the Church of Scientology, accusing it of Internet censorship.
A guide to social networking for clueless adults (bostonherald.com)
May 12, 2009
The U.S. is ready to respond with physical military force to a cyberattack, a top general says. "The Law of Armed Conflict will apply to this domain," Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, head of U.S. Strategic Command, told reporters at a breakfast roundtable Thursday, according to Stars and Stripes. (foxnews.com)
May 10, 2009
The FAA said Monday hackers were able to access its computers last week, accessing personal information on some 45,000 employees and retirees but never reaching the systems responsible for air traffic control. "The FAA is moving quickly to prevent any similar incidents and has identified immediate steps as well as longer-term measures to further protect personal information," the agency said in a statement.
FAA's Air-Traffic Networks Breached by Hackers (foxnews.com)
May 8, 2009
The FBI is investigating a $10 million ransom demand by a hacker or hackers who say they have stolen nearly 8.3 million patient records from a Virginia government Web site that tracks prescription drug abuse, an FBI official confirmed Wednesday.
The state police in Virginia are also investigating the possible breach of confidential records.
Government Secrets Found on Computer Sold on eBay (foxnews.com)
Domestic Terror Lexicon (turnerradionetwork.com)
May 7, 2009
Tough-talking attorneys general are pushing for policing and even the complete shutdown of online “brothels” hosted by Craigslist and the Boston Phoenix on thinly veiled sex-for-hire sites in the wake of the murder of an erotic masseuse in Boston.
“We have the horrific evidence that bad people use these services. We have to do more together,” said Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch, president of the National Association of Attorneys General.
The online sites contain graphic, descriptive ads for sexually oriented services. One from “Chelsea” on the Phoenix Web site offers “sensual body rubs” and fetish services at $225 an hour. On Craigslist Boston, “Bella” offers sessions with a “mind-blowing ending.”
Phoenix publisher slams attacks on fetish ads (bostonherald.com)
Erectile dysfunction ads too hot for TV? (cnn.com)
May 6, 2009
WASHINGTON — A Swedish computer hacker was indicted Tuesday for breaking into the networks of tech-gear maker Cisco Systems Inc. and high-end computing equipment at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The attacks underscore the development of a vast underground economy that targets both the private sector and the government. Hacking under the nom de guerre "Stakkato," Philip Gabriel Pettersson was a teenager when he penetrated the systems five years ago. He is now 21 years old and faces charges in a five-count indictment of illegally damaging computer networks and theft of trade secrets. (foxnews.com)
May 5, 2009
President Obama won high marks from friend and foe alike for his campaign's mastery of the Internet during the 2008 campaign, and now that he is in the White House he has pledged to use the Web to make the federal government more transparent to the general public. But the federal government's Web sites -- with the notable exception of the White House site -- are in large part outdated and difficult to navigate, leaving the administration looking ahead to a very bumpy ride along the information superhighway as it tries to bring the sites up to speed. (foxnews.com)
May 3, 2009
WASHINGTON — Shrouded in secrecy, the U.S. government's policies on how and when to wage cyberwarfare are ill-formed, lack adequate oversight and require a broad public debate, a new report by the National Research Council says. The report warns that the "undeveloped and uncertain nature" of the government's cyberwarfare policies could lead to them being used hastily and ill-advisedly during a crisis. That danger is compounded by secrecy and lack of oversight, the report's authors cautioned on Wednesday. (foxnews.com)
May 2, 2009
Two brothers from Missouri and two of their cohorts have been charged with conspiracy and violations of the CAN-SPAM Act thanks to their $4 million e-mail scheme targeting university and college students across the US. The scheme originated out of the University of Missouri, but the group took numerous measures to obscure the origins of their e-mails. (arstechnica.com)
May 1, 2009
Celebrities, athletes, politicians and media personalities alike have been flocking to the hugely popular social networking site in droves, with actor Ashton Kutcher leading the way and media magnate Oprah Winfrey recently joining the fray.
Twitter Hacked Yet Again (foxnews.com)
April 30, 2009
The United States has no clear military policy about how the nation might respond to a cyberattack on its communications, financial or power networks, a panel of scientists and policy advisers warned Wednesday, and the country needs to clarify both its offensive capabilities and how it would respond to such attacks.
Report: U.S. Already Conducting Cyberwarfare (foxnews.com)
April 29, 2009
April 28, 2009
April 27, 2009
The Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) doesn’t want geographical names operating as gTLDs and said as much to ICANN in their comments on version 2 of the draft application guide book. (namesmash.com)
April 26, 2009
I know how to win the war on spam. The first step is acknowledging that we can do it, and the second step is actually accepting that we want to do it. However, doing this would have a number of consequences that certain companies (the ones that could actually win the war on spam) are financially dis-interested in undertaking. Namely, it would kill the spam-fighting industry, and that would cause some harm to the anti-virus industry, as spam fighting has become an extra service they tease you about so you'll pay the extra money to get the premium version of their anti-virus utility. Another major hurdle is that spam detection techniques are often closely held secrets, and revealing any part of that process is often quite taboo. We can't get very far until these issues are resolved, and we need backing by some heavyweight players (like Google, who recently bought anti-spam company Postini). (khopesh.com)
April 25, 2009
NEW YORK — International hackers scan New York Police Department computers at least 70,000 times a day hunting for an unauthorized entry into the system of the nation's largest police force, commissioner Raymond Kelly said Wednesday.
But all attempts have failed because of a protective system quietly constructed in the past seven years, even though hackers illegally scan NYPD computers every day, using IP addresses predominantly from China and the Netherlands, Kelly said.
Hackers 'got close to high-tech jet programme' (independent.co.uk)
New Military Command Planned to Improve U.S. Cybersecurity (foxnews.com)
how to get malicious domainresellers out of the system (belsec.skynetblogs.be)
Joe Stewart at RSA (secureworks.com)
April 24, 2009
Spammers come in all shapes and sizes. One in particular wears very large sneakers. Bill Bradley -- Basketball Hall-of-Famer, Rhodes scholar, former U.S. senator from New Jersey and onetime presidential candidate -- may very well be helping to clog up your inbox with unwanted mail. Bradley sits on the board of QuinStreet, which is identified as a major spamming firm by anti-spam organizations such as www.stop-spam.org and www.spamsuite.com. (foxnews.com)
April 23, 2009
Mac computers are known for their near-immunity to malicious computer programs that plague PCs. But that may be changing somewhat, according to computer security researchers. It seems that as sleek Mac computers become more popular, they're also more sought-after targets for the authors of harmful programs. (cnn.com)
April 22, 2009
This panel will deconstruct the online criminal enterprises causing the most damage to the Internet and generating the most criminal profits. Technical, business and inter-operational elements together with technical elements such as malware, bots, spam, spyware and data theft will be addressed. The emphasis will be criminals' use of new interdependent business models to generate enormous profits.
Panelists: Dr. Robert Bruen - Knujon, Lawrence Baldwin - my|NetWatchman, Joe Stewart - SecureWorks. Moderated by: Patrick Peterson - IronPort/Cisco
Secure software? Experts say it's no longer a pipedream (cnn.com)
April 21, 2009
A clean-cut Boston University medical student preparing to wed a blond beauty was charged last night as the notorious Craigslist killer, cops said, announcing a bombshell break in a case that has attracted national attention. Philip H. Markoff, 22, was stopped on Interstate 95 in Walpole with a suitcase in the trunk of his car. Police - who credited forensic computer experts, tips from the public and “shoe-leather” detective work for cracking the case - had Markoff under surveillance “for days. (bostonherald.com)
April 20, 2009
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (CNN) -- Four men behind a Swedish file-sharing Web site used by millions to exchange movies and music have been found guilty of collaborating to violate copyright law in a landmark court verdict in Stockholm. (cnn.com)
April 19, 2009
Two days after Amazon said a "glitch" had caused the sales rank to be dropped from thousands of books, the numbers returned Tuesday for Annie Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain," James Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room" and other notable titles. (yahoo.com)
April 17, 2009
"It's as though we've entered something like the nuclear era without a Hiroshima," says Scott Borg, director and chief economist of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that consults with government and industry about potential cyberattacks. "People aren't aware that everything has changed."
Hackers grabbed more than 285M records in 2008 (foxnews.com)
Study: Spammers scourge to inbox and environment (foxnews.com)
Podcast Series: RSA Conference 2009, Patrick Peterson HT1-202: Deconstructing The Modern Online Criminal Ecosystem
April 16, 2009
Patrick Peterson HT1-202: Deconstructing The Modern Online Criminal Ecosystem This panel will deconstruct the online criminal enterprises causing the most damage to the Internet and generating the most criminal profits. Technical, business and inter-operational elements together with technical elements such as malware, bots, spam, spyware and data theft will be addressed. The emphasis will be criminals' use of new interdependent business models to generate enormous profits. Panelists: Larry Smith Chief Investigator, SpamHaus, Lawrence Baldwin Chief Forensics Officer, My Net Watchman, Robert Bruen, CEO Knujon. (rsaconference.com)
April 15, 2009
The end of a long drama that started last summer: Registrar Parava Netowrks(aka 10-Domains.com) has been
terminated by ICANN for failing to address non-compliance of the RAA. Parava
first came to our attention while working with LegitScript
on a report on Underground Steroid Websites.
While conduction our investigation we discovered that Parava had
falsified its address.
ICANN also found a litany of other violations and now must secure the smooth transition of the estimated 36,000 domain names currently managed by Parava Networks through the new De-Accredited Registrar Transition Procedure.
RE: NOTICE OF TERMINATION OF REGISTRAR ACCREDITATION AGREEMENT
April 14, 2009
The offending item: a set of brass knuckles, mailed to video games journalists together with other goodies including a cigar, a silk handkerchief, and a book of matches. But while it nicely complements the game's mafiosi theme, it also had the unfortunate side-effect of turning recipients of the mailing into criminals, as mere possession of brass knuckles is illegal in many states and can carry hefty penalties.
After blog GamePolitics expressed its consternation, the publisher began a flurry of hush-hush phone calls to arrange the return of the weapons. EA declined to comment beyond expressing a desire to assist journalists in proper disposal of the items. (yahoo.com)
BlackBerry users experience e-mail outage (cnn.com) Scientists warn of Twitter dangers (cnn.com)
April 13, 2009
WASHINGTON - When Dave deBronkart, a tech-savvy kidney cancer survivor, tried to transfer his medical records from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to Google Health, a new free service that lets patients keep all their health records in one place and easily share them with new doctors, he was stunned at what he found. Google said his cancer had spread to either his brain or spine - a frightening diagnosis deBronkart had never gotten from his doctors - and listed an array of other conditions that he never had, as far as he knew, like chronic lung disease and aortic aneurysm. A warning announced his blood pressure medication required "immediate attention." "I wondered, 'What are they talking about?' " (boston.com)
April 11, 2009
You might not believe it after glancing at your e-mail inbox, but professional spam fighters say they're making progress in the war on digital junk mail. Billions of unwanted spam messages continue to flood the Internet; indeed, spam now accounts for about 90 percent of all e-mail traffic, according to e-mail security officials who attended a conference on spam held late last month at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But improved filtering technology means that the great majority of these messages never arrive at their destinations. And last year saw the shutdown of several major spam senders. "This is not an impossible problem to solve," said Garth Bruen, chief executive of Knujon, an e-mail security company in Wilmington, Vt., whose name is "no junk" spelled backward. But private citizens are finding ways to slam the spammers. Bruen pointed to last year's shutdown of McColo, a California company that was one of the world's leading senders of spam. Goaded by evidence compiled by Knujon and other antispam researchers, two major Internet providers stopped doing business with McColo, knocking the company offline. Overnight, worldwide spam output dropped about 75 percent, according to Ironport's spam-tracking survey. Bruen and his father, Robert, cofounder of Knujon, are trying to remove the profit from spam. Most spam messages contain Web addresses, so the recipient can go to a website to make a purchase. Web addresses are purchased from a company called a registrar. Spammers provide the registrars with false names and street addresses to make it harder for law enforcement agencies to track them down. Knujon is pressuring the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an Internet governance group, to force registrars to demand accurate information from purchasers of Web addresses. This would make it far easier to put spammers out of business. Already, said Bruen, pressure from ICANN has caused two domain registries, one in Germany and the other in China, to largely eliminate their sales of domains to spammers. "It's been slow, but we are getting progress," said Bruen (boston.com)
April 10, 2009
In February we were analyzing our new Ten Worst Registrars List and noted that many
had dropped from last year's list and we had a clear explanation
for each change in the list, except for The Nameit Co/AITDOMAINS.COM. A careful read of
ICANN's Contractual Compliance Semi-Annual Report shows Nameit/AIT is under investigation
by ICANN. The following paragraph is from that Report.
Since July 2008, ICANN continued to follow-up with seven registrars to elicit responses to the audit. Four additional registrars responded to ICANN’s request to provide a reasonable level of assurance that they had taken steps to correct Whois data inaccuracies. (refer to Figure 4-1). Three registrars - Beijing Innovative Linkage Technology Ltd., dba dns.com.cn (Beijing Innovative Linkage Technology), Advanced Internet Technologies, Inc. (AIT) and Parava Networks, Inc, dba 10-domains.com (Parava) - were not in compliance. ICANN sent breach letters to Beijing Innovative Linkage Technology and Parava. Staff is continuing to investigate AIT and considering issuing a breach letter. Beijing Innovative Technologies recognized that by failing to take reasonable steps to correct Whois inaccuracies they breached the RAA. Subsequently, they agreed to participate in a compliance remediation plan. (icann.org)
Nameit/AIT has been one KnujOn's most frequently cited Registrars for spam sites several years running.
April 9, 2009
Thanks to LegitScript, KnujOn and Directi the Internet is measurably safer.
As many may recall, we had a dust up with Directi in September of 2008. However, the disclosures
and confrontation lead to the situation we see now: Directi is shaking the illicit pharmacies out of their portfolio.
Arlington, Va. (PRWEB) April 9, 2009 -- Online pharmacy verification service LegitScript and Domain Name Registrar ResellerClub today announced some very promising results in their united effort against abusive domain name registrations. For several months, LegitScript and ResellerClub have been working together to identify and block domain names associated with rogue online pharmacies that were registered through ResellerClub. Their collaboration has resulted in thousands of rogue online pharmacies being shut down, largely over the past six months. LegitScript reports for the past couple of quarters revealed: Six months ago, over 13% of the rogue Internet pharmacies in LegitScript's database (about 8000 at that time) were registered through ResellerClub. After the two companies worked in close collaboration to remedy this, reports show a dramatic decline. Although LegitScript's rogue Internet pharmacy list has grown to over 35,000 domains, today, ResellerClub domains account for only 0.5% of these rogue Internet pharmacies. What's more, after this compliance exercise, of all the sites that were shut down, 75% remained offline - proving that the terminations had a meaningful effect. Meanwhile, nearly all of the 25% that did set shop again did so with other Registrars. (emediawire.com)
Inspiring news on the Anti-Abuse front (resellerclub.com)
Doc charged with distributing oxycodone (myfoxboston.com)
April 8, 2009
On March 25, a Taliban Web site claiming to be the voice of the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" boasted of a deadly new attack on coalition forces in that country. Four soldiers were killed in an ambush, the site claimed, and the "mujahideen took the weapons and ammunition as booty."
The Texas company, a Web-hosting outfit called ThePlanet, says it simply rented cyberspace to the group and had no clue about its Taliban connections. For more than a year, the militant group used the site to rally its followers and keep a running tally of suicide bombings, rocket attacks and raids against U.S. and allied troops. The cost of the service: roughly $70 a month, payable by credit card.
Cyberspies Penetrate U.S. Electrical Grid, Leave Software That Could Disrupt System (foxnews.com)
U.S. Power Grid Hacked, Everyone Panic! (schneier.com)
Cell Phone Tracking Can Locate Terrorists - But Only Where It's Legal (foxnews.com)
Alleged Iranian Nuke Smuggling Plot Involving New York City Banks Uncovered (foxnews.com)
Pentagon Loses $100M in Six Months to Cyberattacks (foxnews.com)
UK is ideal home for electronic Big Brother (newscientist.com)
April 7, 2009
BOSTON - The Massachusetts attorney general is suing two New Jersey-based companies and three individuals, accusing them of marketing and selling fraudulent health insurance.
Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a civil complaint Monday against the National Alliance of Associations, Professional Benefit Consultants and three men.
Coakley says the defendants made hundreds of customers believe they were buying health insurance, but the products were actually association memberships that provided a limited discount plan on certain medical services.
Telephone listings for companies have been disconnected.
Attorney General Coakley Sues Company for Selling Fraudulent Health Insurance (mass.gov)
April 6, 2009
Government officials say scammers are seeking to take advantage of borrowers in danger of default by charging them upfront fees of $1,000 to $3,000 for help with loan modifications that rarely, if ever, pay off. The frauds often involve companies with official-sounding names designed to make borrowers think they are using the Obama administration's efforts to help modify or refinance 7 million to 9 million mortgages. (foxnews.com)
April 5, 2009
April 4, 2009
Fearing the appearance of their well appointed properties on the Web site would attract criminals scouting for burglary targets, villagers in Broughton, north of London, summoned the police after spotting the car. (cnn.com)
April 3, 2009
Not just any bloggers or social networkers, mind you. Rather, the Financial Times reports, the government consumer watchdog will be cracking down on people who post false statements endorsing certain products — and the makers of those products as well. (foxnews.com)
April 1, 2009
The organization's 15th meeting in San Francisco was one of its largest with 350 online security professionals from 10 countries and 130 companies collaborating against botnets, spam and all forms of abusive messaging. The 30 sessions over four days included a keynote by Washington Post journalist Brian Krebs sharing how his investigative reporting led to identifying McColo-hosted botnets; talks by ICANN representatives and Knujon's Bob Bruen on fighting domain abuse; and a session with FBI executives on finding and prosecuting botnet masters. User advocate Jayne Hitchcock of HaltAbuse.org spoke on educating customers. (news.prnewswire.com)###
March 31, 2009
The Armageddon-threatening virus(worm), also known as Downup, Downadup and Kido, was a major topic of conversation at the MIT Spam Conference as the doomsday date of April 1st is looming. This threat has been around since at least October 2008 and has gone through a number of changes. The authors of this worm have been credited with some of the most sophisticated and robust coding for malicious software so far. However, there is considerable debate as to what this malware can and will do tomorrow. Some say it is more hype than harm. Some call it an Internet WMD.
Let’s start with the basics. The malware affects MS Windows systems only through a Windows Server Service vulnerability that forces a buffer overflow, grabs a DLL from the Internet via HTTP that runs another through svchost.exe (this is a generic service process frequently attacked by viruses). This process will try an copy itself to networked machines and even to removable devices like USB drives. The portion of the worm code that spreads itself over the Internet is itself encrypted, which has slowed understanding of the malware. The malware will also block attempts to be removed by antivirus packages and may block system restore or rollback. More instructions will be sought from a list of domains, including trafficconverter.biz (see: Rogue Antivirus Distribution Network Dismantled). Suspiciously, the worm avoids infecting machines in the Ukraine.
Microsoft has issued a patch but millions of users have not applied it yet. Microsoft has also offered a bounty to capture the worm’s authors. A Working Group has been created that includes: Afilias, AOL, Arbor Networks, Microsoft, ICANN, Neustar, Verisign, CNNIC, Public Internet Registry, Global Domains International, Inc., M1D Global, Symantec, F-Secure, ISC, researchers from Georgia Tech, The Shadowserver Foundation, Support Intelligence, and others.
MS Patch: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS08-067.mspx
Malicious code has prompted France to ground fighter jets [comments] (theglobeandmail.com)
Conflicker virus expected to hit bank accounts from April 1 [comments] (news.com.au)
'Dangerous' computer worm no cause for alarm, experts say [comments] (ottawacitizen.com)
March 30, 2009
Analysts in China are dismissing claims that nearly 1,300 computers in more than 100 countries have been attacked, and have become part of a cyber-espionage network apparently based in China. The network was discovered after computers at the Dalai Lama's office were hacked, researchers say. "This is purely another political issue that the West is trying to exaggerate," Song Xiaojun, a Beijing-based strategy and military analyst, told China Daily, a state-run newspaper. Zhu Feng, a professor with the school of international studies at Peking University, added: "Cyber security has been a global issue, but this time those who see China as an emerging threat again have picked the subject as a new weapon." Computers -- including machines at NATO, governments and embassies -- are infected with software that lets attackers gain complete control of them, cyber-security experts alleged in two reports Sunday. (cnn.com)
March 29, 2009
After receiving information that the RBN malware bastion, HostFresh (aut-num: AS23898 as-name: HOSTFRESH-AS-AP), was in the process of being depeered. During the takedowns of Atrivo, McColo and UkrTelegroup, we observed domains being migrated to other IP ranges, as the owners sought to keep their criminal enterprises alive. (securehomenetwork.blogspot.com)
March 28, 2009
The e-mail was originally sent around without mentioning Cambridge; it got added after the Times of London interviewed a Cambridge neuropsychologist for comment. Matt Davis, a senior research scientist at Cambridge University's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, spent some time tracking down the origin of this letter-transposition story. He found that it comes from a letter written in 1999 by Graham Rawlinson, a specialist in child development and educational psychology, to New Scientist magazine in response to an article written about the effects of reversing short chucks of speech. (foxnews.com)
March 27, 2009
A whistle-blower organization claims a secret list of Web sites that Australian authorities are proposing to ban includes such innocuous destinations as a dentist's office. Australia's government denied that the list _ published by renegade Web site Wikileaks.org _ was the same as a blacklist run by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, or ACMA. However, a manager at the dentist's office said the ACMA had confirmed her site's inclusion on the ban list. (foxnews.com)
March 26, 2009
March 25, 2009
A crazed mob beats an accused rapist with baseball bats before setting him on fire. Soldiers open fire on a crowd in Cote d'Ivoire, and a bystander films the bloodied corpses in close-up. These are images mainstream media organizations deem too graphic to broadcast or print. (foxnews.com)
March 24, 2009
Written as a text for undergraduate courses, this book appeals to instructors interested in teaching the field of white-collar crime, both from a matter-of-fact investigative perspective as well as a decidedly academic endeavor. Accordingly, it goes beyond discussing the basic theories and typologies of commonly-encountered offenses such as fraud, forgery, embezzlement, and currency counterfeiting, to include the legalistic aspects of white-collar crime. It also explores the investigative tools and analytical techniques needed if students wish to pursue careers in this field. Because of the inextricable links between abuse-of-trust crimes such as misuse of government office, nepotism, and bribery and the realm of corporate corruption, these issues are also included. The text also maintains a connection between white-collar crime and acts of international terrorism; as well as the more controversial aspects of possible abuses of power within the public arena posed by the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the asset forfeiture process. Adapted readings at the end of each chapter provide readable cases of white collar crime - in action - to illustrate the principles / theories presented. Activities, Exercises, and Photographs are also included in each of the 10 chapters and a Companion Web Site provides additional test items and other instructor support material.
This book is useful for course study, training, reference or as an introduction to the subject. Use this form and get 20% off and Free Shipping
Qualified adopters may request an examination copy here
No joke in April Fool's Day computer worm [Comment] (cnn.com)
March 23, 2009
It has now been 15 business days since Parava Networks was issued a Breach Notice by ICANN.
As of this morning Parava was still using a fake address for its own operational domains.
KnujOn, will of course, be following this story closely in anticipation of some announcement from ICANN relating to this.
Is Your Domain Name Ownership Information Safe? [Comment] (domainnamewire.com)
March 22, 2009
A Russian organized crime group involved in pornography, drug smuggling, and the distribution of malware has initiated operations from the IP address space of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is unknown if this activity was launched with state approval. The Russian Business Network affiliate involved has established a front company, autonomous system AS48669 NTCOLO-AS NTCOLO, and has been allocated 510 unique IP addresses. AS48669 consists of 105 malware domains, 19 domain name servers, 8 mail servers and 3 fraudulent payment processors. The affiliate's contact email address is email@example.com. The domain to IP address assignments are modified several times per week, as the RBN seeks to evade IP blocking by network administrators. (securehomenetwork.blogspot.com)
March 21, 2009
Pentagon Official Warns of Risk of Cyber Attacks
The head of the Pentagon's Strategic Command warned Congress today that the United States is vulnerable to cyberattacks "across the spectrum" and that more needs to be done to defend against the potential of online strikes, which could "potentially threaten not only our military networks, but also our critical national networks." But Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton made clear to a House Armed Services subcommittee that he has not been asked to defend most government Web sites nor the commercial and public infrastructure networks whose destruction could cripple the nation. Chilton's command, instead, has the responsibility "to operate and defend the military networks only and be prepared to attack in cyberspace when directed," he said, adding, "I think the broader question is, who should best do this for the other parts of America, where we worry about defending power grids, our financial institutions, our telecommunications, our transportation networks, the networks that support them." The responsibility of protecting civilian networks currently rests with the Department of Homeland Security, but Chilton's testimony comes at a time when a presidential-chartered 60-day study of cybersecurity is underway. A report from that study is expected next month. (washingtonpost.com)
UPLAND MAN INDICTED FOR ALLEGEDLY DAMAGING COMPUTER SYSTEMS USED TO
MONITOR OFF-SHORE OIL PLATFORMS
An Upland man who worked at a company that operated off-shore oil platforms was indicted today on federal charges of damaging the company's computer systems after it declined to offer him permanent employment. Mario Azar, 28, was named in a one-count indictment returned this afternoon by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles. The indictment charges Azar with unauthorized impairment of a protected computer, a charge that carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Azar was an information technology consultant under contract with the Long Beach-based Pacific Energy Resources, Ltd. (PER) until May 2008, when he left the company. Azar helped set up a computer system that PER used to communicate between its offices and its oil platforms. The computer system also served a "leak detection" function for PER. During May and June of 2008, Azar illegally accessed the PER computer system and "caused damage by impairing the integrity and availability of data," according to the indictment, which alleges that Azar caused thousands of dollars in damage. While PER temporarily lost use of its computer systems as result of Azar's conduct, the outage did not lead to any oil leaks or environmental harm... (losangeles.fbi.gov)
6 from Hudson indicted in $6M credit card fraud, identity theft swindle
Six Hudson County residents, including three who are at large, have been indicted on charges they ran a credit card fraud/identity theft ring that swindled financial institutions out of at least $6 million. Six Hudson County residents have been indicted on charges they operated a credit card fraud and identity theft ring that swindled financial institutions out of more than $6 million, officials told The Jersey Journal today.¿½ A two-year investigation led to early morning raids on Sept. 5 ed and charges against Mohammad Sheikh, 47, of North Bergen; Afzal Sheikh, 54, and his wife, Rubina Sheikh, 44, of Secaucus, and Quaisar Mahmood, 47, Rafiq Malik, 56, and Rauf Farooqi, 54, of Jersey City. In the indictment handed up yesterday, they are charged with identity theft, theft by deception, money laundering and conspiracy, Davis Elson said "Mahmood, Malik and Farooqi remain at large and prosecutors think Mahmood and Farooqi may have left the country, Davis Elson said. Leaders of the group opened fraudulent credit card accounts at various banks and credit card companies and used them to make nonexistent transactions at "shell" companies created by the suspects, officials said. The companies had no actual sales locations or inventory, officials said" (nj.com)
As Jurors Turn to Web, Mistrials Are Popping Up
Last week, a juror in a big federal drug trial in Florida admitted to the judge that he had been doing research on the case on the Internet, directly violating the judge's instructions and centuries of legal rules. But when the judge questioned the rest of the jury, he got an even bigger shock. Eight other jurors had been doing the same thing. The federal judge, William J. Zloch, had no choice but to declare a mistrial, a waste of eight weeks of work by federal prosecutors and defense lawyers. "We were stunned," said a defense lawyer, Peter Raben, who was told by the jury that he had been on the verge of winning the case. "It's the first time modern technology struck us in that fashion, and it hit us right over the head." It might be called a Google mistrial. The use of BlackBerrys andd iPhones by jurors gathering and sending out information about cases is wreaking havoc on trials around the country, upending deliberations and infuriating judges (nytimes.com)
March 19, 2009
The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday said two men settled charges that they conducted a massive e-mail spam campaign to drive up the demand for penny stocks they owned. The enforcement action arose from a spam e-mail received by an SEC staff attorney in August 2005 that had the subject line: “Experts are jumping all over this stock,” according to the SEC. Several more e-mails to the SEC followed. The e-mails were sent by two Texas men, Darrel T. Uselton and his uncle Jack E. Uselton, who generated more than $4 million through the scheme, which involved buying and selling shares in 13 penny stock companies. (investmentnews.com)###
All MIT Spam Conferences are free for all interested parties to attend events. The primary goal is to get dialogs going and ideas flowing. [comment] (inboxrevenge.com)
Report: Most Spam Sites Tied To Just 10 Registrars (thebackgroundinvestigator.com)
March 18, 2009
They prey on weakness, fear, ignorance, gullibility, greed, and compassion. What is said of spammers can be said of most criminals. They find whatever is most human in their victims and exploit it. The national "health scare" debate has likely driven many to make choices out of fear, and this is what criminals know and hope for. Just as with the booming stock and mortgage markets of a few years ago, or increasing pharmacy prices today, these crafty crooks are lurking in the shadows waiting for the next crisis or opportunity. These fax-junk examples take advantage of the double-edged fear of medical finances and personal health issues with such pitch lines as: "Working with you to address the healthcare crisis!", "Most pre-existing conditions accepted!", "Accidental Injury Coverage Covered Up to $10,000".
March 17, 2009
The nation's cybersecurity is in dire need of an update to plug the various vulnerabilities and dangers within the network, according to a U.S. House subcommittee that met this week. IT security professionals gathered in Washington DC this week to discuss the challenges of improving the state of the country's web and network security and the goals of President Obama's 60-day review of the federal cybersecurity initiatives that were ordered last month. The hearing, the first of three this month, was before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology, which is chaired by Representative Yvette Clarke. "We find ourselves in an extremely dangerous situation today too many vulnerabilities exist on too many critical networks, which are exposed to too many skilled attackers who can inflict too many damages to our systems," the New York Democrat said in her opening statements. "Unfortunately, to this day, too few people are even aware of these dangers, and fewer still are doing anything about it." Other security experts present at the meeting said the country wasn't ready for a large-scale online attack and that things needed to change, SCMagazineus.com reports. (mxlogic.com)
March 16, 2009
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, as most U.S. intelligence shifted to finding Al Qaeda cells around the world, one group at the White House decided to investigate a new threat -- attacks from cyberspace. "In the past, you would count the number of bombers and the number of tanks your enemy had. In the case of cyber war, you really can't tell whether the enemy has good weapons until the enemy uses them," says Richard Clarke, former chairman of the White House Critical Infrastructure Protection Board. In "Cyber War!" Clarke and other insiders talk about a new set of warriors fighting on the new battlefield of cyberspace, and they evaluate just how vulnerable the Internet may be to both virtual and physical attack. "The thing that keeps me awake at night is [the thought of] a physical attack on a U.S. infrastructure combined with a cyber attack which disrupts the ability of first responders to access 911 systems," says Ron Dick, former head of the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center. (pbs.org)
March 15, 2009
Let us begin with the premise that security policies exist to protect an entity's assets as it pursues the normal conduct of business. To ensure that those policies are effective, security professionals must first understand the social elements, including cultural and generational variances, that affect employee behavior and perceptions about security. With the implementation of a three-step process of discussion, creation and messaging, security policy can be successfully crafted—with consideration given to geographical, cultural and generational factors—while assuring resonance and understanding throughout the organization.
A recent Cisco white paper, Data Leakage Worldwide: The Effectiveness of Security Policies, illustrates the apparent disparity between the perceptions of end users and IT professionals surrounding the existence, relevance, updating and communication of security policies. Just as businesses strive to understand their marketplace, they should also conduct internal market research to identify the key characteristics of their employee demographics.
March 14, 2009
YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) -- Today there are 21 generic top-level domains, or those little words that come after the dot at the end of a web addresses, including .com, .net and .gov. But that's all about to change.
A proposed expansion of domains means that by the end of the year there could be hundreds. Coca-Cola and Pepsi could request .soda or .softdrinks; Procter & Gamble and Unilever could sign up for .laundry or .soap; and McDonald's and Wendy's could get .burger or .fries. The potential for names and online branding would be limited only by the imagination of the creative marketing industry.
But what if you had to pay for every one of the new domains that relates to your brand? The initial cost estimated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the nonprofit agency that oversees the distribution and policy of domain names, is $185,000 for registration plus anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000 in annual fees.
Thieves look to Internet(dailypress.com)
March 13, 2009
KnujOn Feed Plug-in Requested for Spam Assassin(issues.apache.org)
March 12, 2009
Fellow Anti-Spammers, the Schedule for the 2009 MIT Spam Conference is now available.
Full details and registration information can be found here
Thursday March 26, 2009
9:30 a.m. breakfast
10:00 a.m. chair opening: Kathy Liszka / Bill Yerazunis Welcome and Administrivia
10:15 a.m. keynote: Robert Bruen Keynote: ICANN Policy Enforcement
10:45 a.m. keynote: Garth Bruen Keynote: The Future of Anti-Spam: A Blueprint for New Internet Abuse Tools
11:15 a.m. paper: Adrian McElligott Email Permission Keys
11:45 a.m. lunch
1:00 p.m. keynote
1:30 p.m. paper: Claudiu Musat Spam Clustering Using Wave Oriented K Means
2:00 p.m. paper: Sebastian Holst "Account-free” Email Services to Combat Phishing, Brand Infringement, and Other Online Threats
2:30 p.m. break
2:45 p.m. paper: Nathan Friess A Kosher Source of Ham
3:15 p.m. paper: Didier Colin A Selective Learning Model For Spam Filtering
3:45 p.m. presentation: Rudi Vansnick Is Spam in Europe easier to handle ?
6:00 p.m. reception: Courtesy of ComCast
Friday March 27, 2009
9:00 a.m. breakfast
9:30 a.m. paper: Tim Martin Phishing for Answers: Exploring the Factors that Influence a Participant's Ability to Correctly Identify Email
10:00 a.m. paper: Reza Rajabiun IPv6 and Spam
10:30 a.m. break
10:45 a.m. workshop: Adrian McElligott How to integrate Email Permission Keys in to an existing Spam Filter in 5 easy steps
11:15 a.m. paper: Henry Stern The Rise and Fall of Reactor Mailer
11:45 a.m. lunch
1:00 p.m. presentation: Andra Miloiu Costina Do humans beat computers at pattern recognition?
1:30 p.m. paper: Cesar Fernandes An Economic Approach to Reduce Commercial Spam
2:00 p.m. break
2:15 p.m. paper: Alexandru Catalin Phishing 101
2:45 p.m. paper: Areej Al-Bataineh Detection and Prevention Methods of Botnet-generated Spam
3:15 p.m. wrap up: all participants
FBI agents have made two arrests after raiding the D.C. office of the man tapped to be President Obama's chief information officer(foxnews.com)
March 11, 2009
There's no question Google and other search engines (think Yahoo) make a lot of money advertising--even in a recession.
But Google can't just let anyone advertise -- its rulebook, for example, explicitly bans advertisers that use "deceptive, illegal, unethical, false or misleading practices." Moreover, Google's Online Pharmacy Qualification Process lays out specific rules on which online drugstore sites are allowed to advertise. It says, for instance, that sellers of online prescription drugs in the U.S. and Canada must register with the PharmacyChecker Verification Program.
But is PharmacyChecker a strong enough verification process?
It may not be.
Its list of banned "rouge" sites, for one, pales in comparison to the over 22,000 sites that fail to meet the stricter standards of online verifier LegitScript.com.
Early this month, CNN exposed a PharmacyChecker-approved site that illegally sold controlled drugs from India without a prescription. Legitscript's analysis of the site, PharmNet.com, found that CNN's order for the restricted antidepressant Xanax was made through PharmNet but was processed and paid through another site altogether. In fact, while PharmacyChekcer validated PharmNet, LegitScript rejected that site's application for approval.
It's worrisome if Google's verification process relies solely on PharmacyChecker, which approves sites that other verification processors do not.
Researchers at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) agree. In a July 2008 study, CASA found search engines' verification processes "far from perfect." Indeed after successfully finding prominent ads from rouge pharmacies in searches for controlled substances on Google and Yahoo, CASA wrote that their findings "suggest that these search engines are profiting from advertisements for illegal sales of controlled prescription drugs online."
Until search engines impose more stringent requirements for online pharmacies, sites without the proper licenses and certifications will continue to generate sales. The online drug business is a fast-growing transnational enterprise, estimated by Mark Monitor to be worth $12 billion last year--there's a lot of potential ad dollars in there. (behindonlinepharma.com)
The battle over cybersecurity(scitech.blogs.cnn.com)
March 10, 2009
WEBSITES are selling fake state-of-the-art Australian passports for as little as $1250, boasting they'll pass the most rigorous border checks. Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) says the sites are just another money-making scam but admit they are "the subject of ongoing discussions'' with Australian Federal Police. DFAT also warns that people who use such documents are guilty of a serious criminal offence. One of the sites boasts it is a unique producer of quality fake documents. "We offer only original high-quality fake passports, driver's licences, ID cards, stamps and other products for following countries: Australia, UK, USA,'' the site says. Sample pictures of a blank Australian passport show where buyers' personal details will be entered after supplying a digital photo, signature and other particulars. (theaustralian.news.com.au)
March 9, 2009
Online abuse of the world's top brands is rising, according to a report.
Cyber-squatting - in which someone registers a domain name with the aim of selling it on at a later date - remains the most common form of abuse.
Cyber-squatting rose by 18% in 2008, to 1,722,133 reported incidents, according to brand specialist MarkMonitor.
The study also found that 80% of sites identified in 2007 as "abusive" were still in existence today.
The report suggests that brand owners need to take a more aggressive stance against people or companies abusing a trademark, brand or domain name.
Cybercrime in the UK rose by more than 9% in 2007, according to a new report(news.bbc.co.uk)
March 8, 2009
"When reporting abuse and fraud, instead of being helped, consumers are often pushed into a maze with no map. Obfuscation by industry experts, experts at manipulating hosts, ISPs, registrars and the general architecture of the Internet, they confound investigators. There could be potentially a dozen or more companies involved in the promotion and execution of a single illicit transaction domain, and often, these companies are distributed through different countries. And this is done on purpose. Within this complex structure, there is significant misdirection and falsification deliberately put into place to frustrate investigators and consumers. The deep manipulation of registrars and resellers can only happen if the registrars and ICANN allow it. In these cases, we can use policy, not just technology, to fix this." (mex.icann.org)
March 7, 2009
At the ICANN meeting in Mexico City, the various GNSO constituencies worked diligently to arrive at a supportive motion that will advance the RAA amendment package and provide for additional follow-up efforts that will be pursued over the coming months. This motion was adopted unanimously and the amendment package has been advanced to the Board for final approval.
(icann.org) There are a number of new or modified sections to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement that provide better protection for consumers and Internet users, including a new section based on a proposal submitted by KnujOn:
3.16 Registrar shall provide on its website its accurate contact details including valid email and mailing address.
As KnujOn users will recall, this was part of a big push by our members due to a fiasco of 70 Registrars in mystery locations. We believe this disclosure is crucial to security and consumer trust.
Other useful amendments:
- Enforcement tools
- Registrar Audits – Allowing ICANN to conduct site visits and audits of registrars upon at least 15 days notice.
- Sanctions & Suspension – Providing for escalated compliance enforcement tools such as monetary sanctions and suspension of registry access.
- Group Liability – Preventing "serial misconduct" by registrars when another affiliated (by common control) registrar's RAA is terminated.
- Registrar Fees – Revising registrar fee provision to be aligned with recent and current ICANN budgets; assessing interest on late fee payments.
- Registrations by Registrars – Creating liability by registrars to ICANN for any registrations created by a registrar for its use in providing Registrar Services.
- Arbitration Stay – Eliminating the existing automatic 30-day stay of termination registrars receive by initiating arbitration or litigation to challenge an RAA termination.
- Registrant protections
- Private Registration & Registrar Data Escrow Requirements – Registrars are required to either escrow underlying customer data in the case of private or proxy registrations, or alternatively, give prominent notification that such data will not be escrowed.
- Registrant Rights and Responsibilities – Requiring registrars to include on their websites a link to a "Registrant Rights and Responsibilities" document to be created in consultation with the ICANN community.
- Contractual Relationships with Resellers – Protecting registrants who are customers of resellers by obligating resellers to follow ICANN policies and requiring that they either escrow privacy/proxy customer data, or alternatively, give prominent notification that such data will not be escrowed.
- Promoting stable and competitive registrar marketplace
- Accreditation by Purchase – Requiring registrars to notify ICANN upon a change of ownership and to re-certify the registrar's compliance with the RAA.
- Operator Skills Training and Testing – Providing for mandatory training of registrar representatives to ensure better registrar understanding of ICANN policies and RAA requirements.
- Use of ICANN-Accredited Registrars – Maintaining ICANN's general policy of requiring registries to use ICANN-accredited registrars (in the absence of a reasonable and noted exception).
- Agreement modernization
- Notice Provision – Streamlining ICANN's obligation to provide notice to registrars of new consensus policies applicable to registrars.
- References to the Department of Commerce – Acknowledging ICANN's movement toward independence from the DOC by removing certain references within the RAA to a requirement of DOC approval.
- Registrar Data Retention Requirements – Clarifying data retention requirement for registrars to allow for more uniform practices.
March 6, 2009
The Cybot Age could soon be upon us. But be not afraid; this isn't Star Trek. We're not talking droves of evil cyborgs bent on galaxy domination. If all goes as planned, in just a few years colonies of software robots -- "cybots" -- linked into a "hive" mind could be defending the largest computer systems in America against network intruders. Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory say the program behind the cybots "T Ubiquitous Transient Autonomous Mission Entities (UNTAME)" T will be very different from current cybersecurity systems. Joe Trien, who leads the team at the lab's Computational Sciences and Engineering Division, said what will make cybots so useful is that they will be able to form groups, function autonomously and respond almost immediately. (foxnews.com)
March 5, 2009
Interestingly, what we’re witnessing for the time being is a mixed abuse of, both, legitimate infrastructure and purely malicious one. For instance, the bad actors that FireEye is profiling, will receive traffic coming from abused legitimate infrastructure such as the Digg, Google Video and YouTube’s latest malware campaigns. Moreover, we cannot talk about cybercrime-friendly ISPs without mentioning the domain registrars of choice for the majority of cybercriminals, which KnujOn keeps profiling. Their February, 2009 Registrar Report states that 10 registrats are responsible for 83% of the fraudulent sites that they’ve analyzed, with the Chinese registrar XIN NET topping the chart for a second time. (zdnet.com)
March 4, 2009
Tuesday, 4 March, 2009 14:00 - 17:30
WG5 Policy Proposal Statement: Internet users want all reasonable steps taken for a more secure internet.
This is from the Working Group operating nextdoor to KnujOn's (Working Group 5: DNS Security Issues within ICANN's Mandate) . It addresses many of the same issues from a different perspective. This group more or less came to the same conclusions as Garth Bruen and Rudi Vansnick independently. There is broad security industry support for these concerns. Serious problems exist within DNS, the registry system and within the Registrar community. Anyone failing to acknowledge this does not understand the problem, anyone denying this is part of the problem.
Summary of recommendations
Fighting exploitation of the DNS
APWG Best Practices (apwg.org)
El objetivo del portal es brindar información y consejos a la comunidad sobre las medidas tendientes para evitar los casos de robo de datos personales, fraudes bancarios y los delitos informáticos. (identidadrobada.com)
From yesterday's Registries, Registrars and the Abuse of Domains session:
Slides for Registries Registrars Abuse Domains (.ppt)
Audio Recording of session (.mp3)
“Important” Registrar Parava Gets Breach Notice (domainnamewire.com)
March 3, 2009
Tuesday, 3 March, 2009 16:45 - 18:15
Slides for Registries Registrars Abuse Domains (.ppt)
Audio Recording of session (.mp3)
Rolling commentary from General Assembly of the North-American Regional At-Large Organization
In a discussion with ICANN's new Compliance chief David Giza we have again raised the issue of verifiable contact information for Registrars. (see: news2008.html#11022008)
Also concerning Section 3.7.8 of the RAA we have requested a change in the language of one word "or" for "and".
"Registrar shall abide by any specifications or policies established according to Section 4 requiring reasonable and commercially practicable (a) verification, at the time of registration, of contact information associated with a Registered Name sponsored by Registrar OR (b) periodic re-verification of such information. Registrar shall, upon notification by any person of an inaccuracy in the contact information associated with a Registered Name sponsored by Registrar, take reasonable steps to investigate that claimed inaccuracy. In the event Registrar learns of inaccurate contact information associated with a Registered Name it sponsors, it shall take reasonable steps to correct that inaccuracy."
The word "or" should be changed to "and". This is an ambiguous situation that could be easily remedied by requiring both activities. Verification at registration and regular checking should go hand in hand. Checking at the origin point can prevent the need for checking later and would improve security and general stability of the registry system. Also, how is one to determine which action a Registrar opted to use? How is this verified? It is better to know that both verifications are occurring, it will save the Registrars many headaches in dealing with abusive registrants BEFORE they get in as opposed to after. Comments have been made that this process will increase the cost of domain registration. Wrong. Simple form verification is commonplace in Internet commerce, the scripting is easy. This is the first line of defense against forgery. Second level verification: Registrars must email registrants a transaction receipt when a domain name is purchased. Sending this notification to the posted Whois contact email will provide instant verification of accuracy. Other items should at least match the payment information which the Registrars are assured of verifying.
March 2, 2009 - Rolling
Parava Networks, AKA 10-domains.com received a
breach notice from ICANN Friday
for among other issues, failure to correct Whois inaccuracies including the
records for the Registrar's own sites. This was
reported by KnujOn in July, 2007. This came to our attention while investigating
Registrars sponsoring unlicensed steroid domains.
Official requests sent to Parava's office were returned as undeliverable. However, Parava to this day
still uses this obviously bogus address for their whois record.
March 2, 2009 - Rolling
Mexico City, Mexico — 2 March 2009 — Founders and leaders of the Internet today praised the achievements of Dr Paul Twomey, the President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN, after learning that Twomey had advised ICANN's Board of Directors that he will not seek renewal of his contract and will move on from ICANN at the end of 2009. (icann.org)
March 2, 2009
March 1, 2009
Working Group 4 will prepare a statement of the At-Large community on the subject of transparency and accountability in ICANN. This subject is regularly discussed in the community - especially at present, as community members reflect on the level of transparency and accountability that ICANN should have as a part of the “Improving Institutional Confidence” process, which is being handled by Working Group 2 of the Summit. Over the years, the At-Large community has provided significant input regarding the development of transparency and accountability of ICANN within statements on related topics. Details of this communication are available at: http://www.atlarge.icann.org/en/correspondence. (Note that some statements are available in English only at the present time).
February 28, 2009
After being stranded in Atlanta for one night, KnujOn's Garth Bruen is finnaly in Mexico City at the ICANN
meeting. He will be presenting at several e-crime sessions and participating in serious policy discussions.
Let Your Voice Be Heard!
February 27, 2009
Obscene profits occur when registrars knowingly permit spammers to buy huge blocks of web addresses to further their questionable activities. In an age where analytic applications are becoming pervasive, why wouldn’t a registrar develop analytic measures to detect and halt improper behavior? It’s got to be money related. They’re addicted to the easy, straight to the bottom line money that this activity generates for them. Let’s call this obscene profit.
Knujon is an interesting organization. It is a small, volunteer group that wants ICANN, registrars and others to follow the rules that supposedly govern the Internet. Please read their reports, send them your spam and help them pressure the registrars to make the Internet a safer place for us all. (blogs.zdnet.com)
February 23, 2009
The Expanded MIT Spam Conference 2009 invites the submission of original, unpublished papers on all aspects of spam and other types of electronic communications brand malware. Topics of interest include:
* Submission deadline: March 9, 2009
* Rolling Notification of acceptance: Two weeks after submission.
* Conference: March 26 - 27, 2009 (mit.edu)
Report: Most Spam Sites Tied to Just 10 Registrars (coboto.com)
February 22, 2009
"Really the problem is with the apparently irresponsible domain registrars at the top of the Knujon list who seem perfectly happy to sell hundreds of thousands of domains to apparent criminals. The outright criminal ISPs and registrars (like Estdomains, Intercage, McColo, etc.) need to be kicked off the Internet, and the non-criminal ISPs and registrars need to do much more to stop abuse of their services and networks." (nabble.com)
February 21, 2009