Review Category : Security News

Phishing Scam Spreading Through Twitter Direct Messages

twitterUsers of the social networking website Twitter have yet another virus to fear. According to these latest reports, there is a new worm related to a phishing scam floating around Twitter and it’s using the system’s direct messages to spread.

An already compromised account will send a direct message to another account with a body similar to:

“rofl this you on here?”

Once users click on the link they are asked to submit their information via a fake Twitter login page. And, once they’ve entered their login information, hackers use the compromised account to send a fresh batch of messages to all of the person’s Twitter followers. By luring unsuspecting users with “rofl is this you?” promises of a funny picture, victims are inclined to click on the fake link and thus subject themselves to the phishing virus.

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New Surveillance Radar Announced for Plane Traffic Control in C.O.

radar2The Federal Aviation Authority announced Tuesday that a new high tech surveillance system will be launched in Colorado to make airplane monitoring easier, more efficient, and more effective. Before this system, when a large aircraft entered a mountain valley, radar would go dead and air traffic controllers would be left blind to the plane’s whereabouts. Clearly unsafe, smaller Colorado airports were forced to turn away the larger aircrafts that were susceptible to this loss of radar, which resulted in a significant loss of revenue for both the airports and the state. The new surveillance system will incorporate sensors for more detailed mapping and air traffic control capabilities.

As aircraft approach a mountain valley, we have sensors that are located throughout the valleys, next to the runways, which allows us to see the aircraft as it descends and loses traditional radar service,” Travis Vallin, Director of Aeronautics with the Colorado Department of Transportation, said.

With this high tech surveillance system, three smaller regional airports will be able to accept larger airplanes with 700 passengers or more, improving the scope of air travel in Colorado.

“It’s not only the first time it’s been done here, it’s the first time it’s been rolled out in the United States,” Vallin said. “So, Colorado is a leader in this technology, and we hope to put it to good use.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation will share costs with the FAA in this joint venture to make air travel safer and more efficient.


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Conficker Worm Growing into an Undefeatable Worldwide Threat

worm_chomping_on_computer_hg_whtRecently, some of the best security minds in the world have started joining forces to fight an evil called the Conficker Worm. The Conficker Worm is a computer virus that targets a flaw in Microsoft’s operating system and then spreads rapidly through other computers connected to the same network.

To date the Conficker virus has infected at least 5 million computers. After the virus infects the computers, the hacker can control the computer systems and transform the systems in to a “botnet army.” The botnet army can be used to syphon banking information or to flood government servers knocking them off line. In July, Conficker knocked out parts of Manchester City Council’s IT system costing the council £1.5 million in total. Similarly in January, the French Navy had to quarantine its computer network after it was infected with Conficker. This forced aircrafts at several air bases to stay grounded.

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U.S. Embassy in South Africa Closes Due to Security Threat


U.S. Consulate in the Sandton area of Johannesburg

The U.S. Embassy in South Africa was urgently shut down today due to intelligence information it received from U.S. security officials. This closure has also affected the U.S. embassy in Pretoria, consulates in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, and aid and development offices. Despite this, neither U.S Embassy spokeswoman Sharon Hudson Dean nor Nonkululeko Mbatha, spokeswoman for the South African national police commissioner, would say whether a threat had prompted the closure. This has brought back many security questions, however representatives assure “every thing is under control.”

U.S. diplomats advised American citizens to review a July 29th U.S. State Department warning expressing concern “that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.” The warning followed suicide attacks on two American-owned hotels in Indonesia’s capital that killed seven people and wounded more than 50. On August 7, 1998, Al-Qaeda carried out suicide bomber attacks targeting the US embassy in Kenya and Tanzania. 213 people died in the Nairobi bombing.

Despite the fact that the embassy and other U.S. government buildings in South Africa are still closed, officials refuse to disclose any detailed information and are constantly reassuring everyone who will listen, that they have the situation under control. The embassy and all other American affiliated buildings, are planning to reopen as early as Wednesday.

(Via Associated Press, and AFP)

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U.S. Border Patrol Boats Being Outfitted With High-Tech Surveillance System

bildeThe U.S. Border Patrol recently unveiled its latest weapon in their fight against the smuggling of drugs, weapons, goods, and illegal aliens. The border patrol is now enlisting the help of a specially outfitted 43 foot long boat.

The boat is still in its testing stages but boasts a high speed of 75 mph as well as a new security camera that is able to see up to one mile ahead of the vehicle at night. This new patrol boat is 13-20 miles per hour faster than the normal patrol boats used by government agents today. It is also the first of its kind to use new powerful heat detection software in its cameras helping to ensure that things can be seen even in the darkness of night. The boat is also equipped with 4 machine gun turrets as well as four pistols for the men aboard the boat.

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Massachusetts Court Ruling Permits Warranted GPS Tracking

dallas-car-chaseRecently Massachusetts state court ruled that the use of covert GPS can be installed by the police on a suspects vehicle without the suspect’s knowledge, provided that they have a warrant. The law states that as long as the police can prove that the GPS monitoring system will either provide evidence that a crime was committed or is about to be committed, then it can be planted on a vehicle. The warrant also states that the device can only be left on the vehicle for 15 days, while most warrants are only active for seven days.

Police had recently used GPS technology to track a local drug dealer named Everett H. Connolly. Local law enforcement had secretly installed the device on Conolly’s minivan and tracked his whereabouts to New York where he purchased and sold crack cocaine. He was then pulled over on the Route 6 highway where police arrested him after finding a ball of crack on him that weighed 124 grams.

One of the Justices, Ralph Grants,  stated “Our constitutional analysis should focus on the privacy interest at risk from contemporaneous GPS monitoring, not simply the property interest.” He also stated “Only then will we be able to establish a constitutional jurisprudence that can adapt to changes in the technology of real-time monitoring, and that can better balance the legitimate needs of law enforcement with the legitimate privacy concerns of our citizens.”

So far the ability to use GPS monitoring on suspects through the use of a warrant has proven very useful. The recent rules set up by the justices allow for appropriate use of the new technology that is not invasive of private life but allows for the police to effectively fight crime in ways that they never could before.

(Via Metro Desk)

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MI5 Using Asian Teens to Fight Hackers

305133British Military Intelligence agency, Mi5, is now hiring Asian teens with hacking expertise to assist in their efforts to combat cyber criminals. Mi5’s head, Jonathan Evens, has revealed that this past summer over 1,000 attacks were made on the computers in Whitehall, air traffic control, and power stations in London. The defense agency says that the teens are essential in the fight against cyber terrorists and they have already had much success.

People wondered for a moment whether the teens themselves could be considered a security risk because of the fact that they are so young. However, the defense agencies have stated that the teens have already signed a contract banning them from telling their parents or their girlfriends, friends, etc. about what they do in the Secret Service’s basement. The MI5 has already employed some 50 teens, most of Asian descent, to help track cyber crimes that reach as far as China, Peru, and even Russia. Reportedly, the teens have already uncovered hidden messages from terrorist leaders to members located in maximum security prisons.

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Grandfather Tackles Robber During Bank Heist

grandpa_tacklesIn Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a bank robber was put in his place after getting tackled by a 54-year-old man. The robber was pacing back and forth between to clerks and did not notice Matt Knetzger slowly coming up behind him before he pounced on the crook from behind.

The bank robber was revealed to be Senister Smith a frequent customer of the bank who reportedly robbed the bank because he had fallen on hard times. He walked into the bank covered in all black clothing and a ski mask. He then handed two notes to the tellers commanding them to put the money in the bag. Knetzger, a 54 year old grandfather, was in the back of the room eating a snack while the robbery was taking place. After finishing his snack Knetzger decided to do something about it and tackled the man.

When asked why he was so quick to make a move, Knetzger said he was simply worried for his wife’s safety. After tackling the young robber he also held him to the ground until police arrived. The best part is that it was all caught on the banks security cameras, effectively ensuring that they would always remember the hero of the day.

(Via The Post Chronicle)

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Hackers Targeting Public School and University Payroll Accounts

skullpayrollGangs of cyber criminals who have been attacking big business have now set their sights on public schools and colleges.  On October 17th, hackers broke into the Stanford school district and initiated fake money transfers from the schools payroll accounts. The thieves kept the amounts below $10,000 in order to avoid detection by the banks. By the time the staff caught on two days later they had already lost $177,000.

Stanford was not the only school to report thefts like this. The Sand Springs, Oklahoma school district has also been attacked,  as well as Marian University, a Catholic university in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Each establishment had close to $200,000 stolen from it. All three schools were able to detect the fraudulent transfers soon enough to reverse some of the damage, however the only school able to have its losses completely recovered was Sand Springs.

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Tracking Trash with GPS: Are Recyclables Ending Up in the Landfill?

landfillTracking family members, vehicles, and assets makes sense because hey, they’re valuable. But tracking trash? MIT researchers say, yes. Announced on Tuesday, MIT plans to electronically track 3,000 pieces of common garbage over the next three months using GPS cellular technology. The tagged trash, all potentially recyclable, will be monitored from the time it’s thrown out in an attempt to find out exactly where it’s going: in the landfill or in the recycle bin. By showing people that recyclable trash is still ending up in the landfill, MIT researchers hope to promote a lifestyle change nationwide.

“Trash Track aims to make the removal chain more transparent. We hope that the project will promote behavioral change and encourage people to make more sustainable decisions about what they consume and how it affects the world around them.”

The project was inspired by New York City’s Green Initiative goal to divert 100% of the city’s recyclables from landfills to recycle centers. By creating “trash transparency,” MIT researchers hope to change people’s  recycling habits  by using this high tech GPS tracking technology.


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