sw-hackerThe websites of two Boulder, CO, synagogues were recently hacked into and defaced with anti-Semitic messages. The hacker responsible for this attack associated the Jewish community with a terrorist organization and claimed that his name was Waja (Adi Noor).

“This is not all that different from painting a swastika on the wall of a building” said Jeff Finkelstein, owner of the the Boulder-based company Customer Paradigm that designed and maintains the websites.

All together, it took about 5 hours to remove the anti-Semitic messages and restore the websites back to their original state. Security is being increased on the websites, while the hosting company sorts  through the server logs hoping to find some type of clue that may lead them to the hacker.

It appears that the hacker did a pretty good job covering his tracks, and even left a URL that was traced to Mexico, somewhere thatFinkelstein does not believe is the origin of the attack.

“Even bad hackers can do a good job of covering their tracks” Finkelstein said.

A complete report will be submitted to the Anti-Defamation League who plans to work with the FBI to investigate the attack, Finkelstein said.

(Via elpasotimes)

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comcast Unlike the iPhone hacker that got offered a job as an App Developer by creating and spreading an iPhone virus, a Tumwater, Washington man is facing 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000 for hacking into Comcast. He did this mostly for the fame and pride as shown by the page that he redirected the Comcast customers to. When customers tried to access their email and voicemail accounts, users were sent to a page that the hacker had created, bragging about his conquest. Sources say the hacker also tried to call Comcast to tell them about it and get some more fame, but the manager hung up on him.

(Via King5)

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computer-hackerA group of hackers were recently arrested for using a new hacking tool that allows anyone to hack into any website, quickly, easily, and without any hacking experience.  Police caught the two creators of this tool, who made more than 2 million yuan (US$293,000) by selling it to other hackers. Another four unnamed suspects were captured for using the software to steal online bank accounts or passwords for online games that they could sell.

“With the software, anyone who can operate a computer can become a hacker… Those amateur hackers could also use affected computers to attack business computer users and blackmail them for money” said Huang Shaokui, vice police chief in Macheng.

The investigation found that the “little rat” program had affected more than 110,000 computers in a month, and all these computers were controlled by hackers without the owners’ knowledge.

(Via: ShanghaiDaily)

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anti-piracysealA secret global treaty, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was leaked on the “total transparency” site Wikileaks. This treaty can have a huge affect on the way the Internet is used, and how people that download copyrighted material will get punished. Under the ACTA, Internet providers (I.S.P.s)  in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Korea, and other signatory markets will be required to monitor their users activity online, or face huge lawsuits themselves. Any material that will be considered copyrighted will have to be removed as soon as found, even without proof of infringement of copyright. Even casual violators will be threatened with losing Internet access and facing criminal charges. The worst part is that service providers, customs agents, and law enforcement officials will have the power to search private accounts and personal devices such as laptops, MP3 players, and even cellphones all without the need of warrants or probable cause.

However, this treaty will not work out well in Asia since no one respects the concept of intellectual property is considered to be free to the public domain.
“It’s almost like there’s an institutional disrespect for copyright in Asia… People feel like, ‘If I can’t touch it, why should I have to pay for it?'” says Seung Bak, co founder of the video streaming startup DramaFever, which brings free, English-subtitled Asian television to U.S. audiences.
iphone-knockoffIn places like China and Korea, the disrespect of copyright laws actually leads to innovation and better products. Even before the official release of new models of technology like the iPhone, BlackBerry, or the Sony Vaio-P laptops, these nations had better running and and improved versions on sale, and all for cheaper prices then they went for officially (links point to the knock-off versions).

With Korea’s extremely fast Internet connection, most of the companies who own copyrighted material actually try to work with the Internet companies and the people who “break” copyright laws. The way they see it is that if more people that use their content, even in some ways that seem to be wrong, (such as streaming them online for free or altering them for different story lines, sometimes pornographic) the more customers and the more sales that will occur. The mentality there is to try to help and work with the customers and see them as allies, even if it means blurring the lines of copyright infringement sometimes, instead of viewing them as potential pirates and criminals.

“They realize these unauthorized spin-offs help to build the fandom, and ultimately drive sales of the original”, says Kai-Ming Cha, manga editor of Publishers Weekly.

(Via SFGate)

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britney-twiiter-hacked-1Unless Britney Spears converted to being a Satan worshiper and a member of the Illuminati, it’s pretty safe to say that her account got hacked by some prankster yesterday. Halfway through the day, her Twitter background and picture were changed to Illuminati pictures and soon after two new tweets popped up on her page. They read:

“I give myself to Lucifer every day for it to arrive as quickly as possible. Glory to Satan!” and “I hope that the new world order will arrive as soon as possible!”

Britney’s people are not sure what happened or how the hackers got the log-in information, but they think it was either someone that already had access to her account and decided to mess with it for fun, or just some hackers trying to cause some mischief. Either way, this is not the first time her account has been hacked, as hackers usually target celebrities for their huge number of followers and international influence.

(Via Mashable)

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lock-compIn the never-ending war against shadowy Internet criminals, gangs based in Eastern Europe that electronically break into business computers, steal banking passwords, and transfer the money are a particularly dangerous and mysterious group. With their methods, they are hard enough to defeat as is, but they are also being accidentally aided in their actions through an unlikely source.

A lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against this group of hackers by Unspam Technologies, an organization that gathers volunteers to discover information about spammers and other online rogues. In a refreshing bit of honesty, the lawyer for Unspam, Jon L. Praed, admits it is very unlikely the company will ever discover the name of these hackers. He claims instead that the purpose of the suit is to obtain the details of the thefts, the names of victims and other information from the compromised  computers in an attempt to increase security. The banks that have been affected by hackers are usually very reclusive in cases like these, therefore inadvertently aiding the hackers. By forcing the banks to give up information, Praed believes that security can be improved and the hackers can possibly be discovered.

Mr. Praed, who is head of the Internet Law Group in Arlington Virginia, has successfully used these “John Doe” suits (so called because the unnamed defendant is identified only as John Doe), to get information from third parties that can be passed to law enforcement and then used on civil suits to go after the main party. Back in 2007, Praed helped Unspam file a suit for the purpose of gathering info on illegal Internet pharmacies and their supporters, though its results are unknown.

“This lawsuit is intended to provide all those being victimized by this massive criminal enterprise the opportunity to come together to gather the data we need to fix the problem at a systems level,” Mr. Praed said.

While it seems that Praed believes he is fighting the good fight, banks may fight back against his subpoenas, even if they’re getting hurt by these hackers.

Banks do not want to get involved in these lawsuits and cases for a number of reasons. They argue that it’s a poor idea to publicize the techniques used by criminals in fraud cases or those meant to thwart them. Wit more information out in the open, it may only lead to more fraud attempts. Banks also want to keep these cases quiet to preserve the confidence and confidentiality of their customers.

“Banks are not the perpetrators of these crimes, and banks are spending tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of industry dollars trying to prevent those acts from taking place,” said Scott H. Frewing, a partner at the Baker & McKenzie law firm, which represents major banks. “The use of John Doe lawsuits to draw them into a civil litigation fight just raises the cost on the banks in a way that the courts may not sanction.”

Mr. Praed said that he hoped his John Doe lawsuit would encourage banks to improve their electronic defenses. “Unless we want to go back to putting our money in a mattress, more needs to be done.”

(Via New York Times)

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I was almost convinced, at the brink of acceptance, and mid nod when three of my co-workers stopped my chin from falling.

After hours of listening to my bosses explain to me the importance of “Twitter” and other social networking outlets such as “Facebook” and “MySpace” they had almost successfully recruited me for their team. I was enthusiastically signing up for a twitter account thinking of all the benefits and connections I was about to become a part of, when one question brought all of it to a screeching halt: What’s your twitter username? This seemingly harmless question, directed to three of my male co-workers, was the start of the end for me. After discovering that none of them had Twitter accounts I was shocked and the sting of betrayal pulsed through my veins. Why would my bosses lie to me? If they weren’t lying then why didn’t people they worked with every day not partake in what my bosses described as invaluable connection making?? Were they just trying to trick me? I was enraged with nothing but a primordial soup filled with feelings of confusion, pain, and anger and I knew that the only thing that would shed any sort of light on the situation was truth. And so my investigation began.

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The results that stem from Twitter and other social media networking sites include invaluable connections, countless conversations about similar interests, exposure to the public and…crime?

Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media networking websites in the world, recently reaching over 13 million users.  It embodies everything people want: it’s quick, fast, and free. With the efficiency of the site also comes the immediate dangers.  You’d be surprised how much could go wrong with just 140 characters.

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