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? http://videos.twitter.secure-logins01.com.”

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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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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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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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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facebook-fan-check-virusWord has spread through Facebook that the popular Fan Check application may actually be a virus. Many Facebook users who have downloaded the application have made complaints that their accounts were being hacked and sending unintentional messages to their contacts.

The application, which became available only recently, monitors the friends that comment on your wall or photos the most, and ranks them from highest to lowest. Shortly after it became available on the social networking site, groups already began forming asking for Facebook to ban the new application and warning fellow users not to download it.

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hackers_cartoonsThere are dozens of websites online dedicated to making life difficult for your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. But for Elaine Cioni that wasn’t enough. When Cioni found out that her already married husband had other girlfriends she went to Yourhackerz.com to help get a better look into his personal life.

For only $100 Yourhackerz.com provided Cioni with the password to her boyfriends AOL account, and then she continued to pay for his wife’s password as well as the password for at least one other girlfriend and even his two children. All of the victims had no idea what was happening. Cioni went even further, making harassing phone calls to her boyfriend and his wife using a “spoofer” service to disguise her voice. Cioni was prosecuted and is now serving a 15 month sentence.

But even though a suspicious girlfriend like Cioni is now behind bars, websites like Yourhackerz.com are still up and running and they present great risks towards computer safety. What is worse is that government officials say that there is not much that they can do about it. With e-mail quickly becoming the easiest way to communicate with people around the world it is scary to know that anyone can pay $100 bucks and hack into your account.  So what can you do to protect yourself? Always make sure your Internet Security software is updated, be wary of downloading attachments from strangers, and restrain yourself from clicking on suspicious links.

(Via The Washington Post)

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msite

The Prime Minister's Government Web Site

Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd’s website was recently hacked. Rudd’s website www.pm.gov.au were both attacked and brought down at around 7:20pm (AEST). Along with the Prime Minister’s site, the Australian Communications and Media Authority site was also hacked and attacked. Fortunately, both websites were up and running just an hour after the attacks took place.

A post was made on the Inquisitor Blog by the group Anonymous, claiming that they were responsible for the hack. The web attack was a direct response to a Federal Government proposal that would make internet filtering mandatory. The group’s post claims that by making internet filtering mandatory, the government would be blocking legal internet content and would be effectively creating censorship levels such as those seen in China.

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eyeimWith the recent release of Mac’s Snow Leopard and the upcoming Windows 7, it’s  only natural that hackers gave their viruses an upgrade as well. According to security company RSA, the Zeus trojan virus now employs the use of instant messaging. After the Zeus trojan has gotten a hold of someone’s account, a hacker will automatically receive an instant message notifying him that that his hack was successful.

Once installed on a PC, the Zeus virus sends the hacker the user’s log-in information and passwords. Then a module, that can be applied to the virus, can search for information specifically concerning financial institutions. A security company called Damballa estimates that the number of PCs that have been infected with the virus are currently at around 3.6 million,  making the Zeus Trojan one of the most aggressive invasive malware viruses around.

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skype4beta_videochatA programmer named Ruben Unteregger has released the source code behind a malware program that he created specifically to record Skype voice conversations on the sly.

Unteregger, who used to work for a company called ERA IT solutions, created MiniPanzer and MegaPanzer. Both of these programs were originally created and sold to Swiss authorities to be used as surveillance tools. The programs were designed to hook into the Window XP’s audio drivers to record victims VoIP calls as MP3s. Afterward, these MP3 records are automatically sent to a remote server for an eavesdropper to collect.

Unteregger stated that he had retained copyright for the programs and has decided to release the source code and two compiled binaries so that signatures to detect the malware could be created. Just days after Unteregger released his code, Symantec and TrendMicro stated that their anti-virus programs had already detected Trojans in the wild similar to that of Unteregger’s.

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alg_cyber-attackAs businesses and individuals become increasingly dependent on digital technology, a series of cities in the Inland Valley and San Bernardino County in California have began to take steps that will provide for more efficient social security and personal privacy as computer technology constantly evolves.

“It requires constant vigilance and making sure that you are prepared,” said Elliott Ellsworth, information technology director for the city of Ontario.

Several government agencies have made steps to tackle threats such as viruses and denials of service attacks by installing services such as anti-virus software, firewalls, and application security. Orleans established a department similar to this over a decade ago and now operates with several network security specialists. Many cities including Ontario, Claremont, Pomona and Fontana have information technology or services departments, which often provide technical support and network security.

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