Facebook and Twitter are Popular among Hackers and Thieves

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  IT security firm Sophos revealed Monday in its Security Threat 2010  that Facebook and Tweeter are not only for social networker, it is extensively used by cybercriminals. The survey also said that spamming on social networking sites went up to 70%. 57% of the users said that they have been spammed through social networking …. Source

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US takes the malware lead

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America has overtaken China as the source of most malware.

So says a report from UK security firm Sophos, quoted by IT Pro.

The US hosted 37 per cent of the world’s malware in 2008, ahead of China with 27.7 per cent,” says the story.

“Russia was in the third place with 9.1 per cent, while the UK was down in seventh at 1.7 per cent,” it says, also stating the US relayed the most spam, at 17.5 per cent.

“To emphasise the extent of the US based problem the report highlights how when US hosting company McColo was taken offline, the amount of spam sent reduced by up to 80 per cent – albeit for a short time,” says IT Pro.

“Not only is the USA relaying the most spam because too many of its computers have been compromised and are under the control of hackers, but it’s also carrying the most malicious web pages,” it has Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, saying.

According to the report, “most attacks occur through networks of computers that have been linked together to form an attack platform, having been commandeered by hackers completely unbeknownst by their owners,” it says, adding:

Further revelations are that state sponsored cybercrime is also on the rise, with China, North Korea, Russia and Georgia among those accused of virtual espionage.

Also highlighted was a major rise of malicious email attachments, designed to steal identities and financial details, and also in hackers breaking into peoples accounts on social networking sites such as Facebook in order to send spam and malware.

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US takes the malware lead

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IT Security In The News: DLP, Zombies And Busted Myths

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Zombie Jamboree Are you ‘fraid of zombies? You should be! According to the Shadowserver Foundation, which tracks zombie numbers worldwide, in the last three months a plague has broken out – a thre…

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IT Security In The News: DLP, Zombies And Busted Myths

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In the News: DLP, Zombies and Busted Myths

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Zombie Jamboree Are you ‘fraid of zombies? You should be! According to the Shadowserver Foundation, which tracks zombie numbers worldwide, in the last three months a plague has broken out – a thre…

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In the News: DLP, Zombies and Busted Myths

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Young Canadians targeted by cyber crooks

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Canasda is home to lucrative but low-risk identity theft, say law enforcement agencies.

“As we move more and more to the internet and technology being used, the risks are increasing, and I think that a lot of the public are not very careful about their identity,” the CBC has RCMP Commissioner William Elliott stating.

Collection and trafficking in personal information, “brings in big profits for organized criminal groups, with little possibility of detection and prosecution, warns the 2008 annual report from Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, a network for exchanging information on organized crime that includes about 400 law enforcement agencies,” says the story, going on:

Lower-level criminal groups are typically involved in collection and trafficking of personal information while higher-level groups use the data to commit crimes, the report says.

Middle-aged people between the ages of 35 and 54 have been the most likely victims of crooks dealing in by credit or debit card fraud or theft.

But, “young people look to become a new target group for thieves as they share a ‘vast amount of personal information’ on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace and other online communities,” says the CBC, adding:

“The majority of identity theft and fraud incidents are reported in B.C., Ontario and Quebec, with some criminals specializing in specific aspects such as creating identity profiles or manufacturing fraudulent identification.

“Other identity theft techniques used by criminals include ‘brand spoofing’ through fake business websites, e-mail scams and voice phishing, which prompts people to call a phone number that seems legitimate.”

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Young Canadians targeted by cyber crooks

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In the News: The Feds Want Your Laptop, Free Network-Security Toolkit

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Say What?”We were fine until the LLX ported to the BMT, which frammised the UGH.” Huh? What? Arcane acronyms seem to be multiplying like rabbits, so how is an IT guy supposed to keep up? Try…

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In the News: The Feds Want Your Laptop, Free Network-Security Toolkit

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Managing Access to Facebook: A Good Idea?

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The increased use of social-networking sites by businesses has given IT managers greater cause for concern as a growing number of these sites lure users to share sensitive information. Indeed, many si…

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Managing Access to Facebook: A Good Idea?

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Spammer Jailbreak

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Prolific spammer Eddie Davidson was arrested last year, and, in April was sentenced to twenty-one months at the Federal prison in Florence, Colorado – about 3 hours north of Denver.

He was remanded to the custody of Florence Prison Camp’s minimum security facility. After all, while being a notorious and prolific spammer, he was still just a spammer, as compared to, say, a murderer. So the minimum security section of Florence Prison Camp made sense.

Not any more, because this past Sunday, during visiting hours, Eddie Davidson hopped into his wife’s car and escaped.

Now, when he is caught – and he will be caught – instead of being “just a spammer”, he’ll be “a spammer who made an escape from Federal prison.”

Instead of being in the minimum security facility, you can be sure he’ll be in a higher security area.

And that mere 21 month sentence? Davidson could face as much as another 7 years for his Sunday drive.

Nobody ever said that spammers were smart.

Here, in case you are interested, is the official Federal press release about Davidson’s escape:

FLORENCE PRISON CAMP

DENVER—Edward “Eddie” Davidson, age 35, also known as the “spam king,” walked away from a federal prison camp in Florence on Sunday, July 20, 2008. Davidson, who was sentenced to serve 21 months in federal prison, is now officially in “escape” status. He was last seen in Lakewood . U.S. Marshals are leading the search for Davidson. The FBI, IRS, and the Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force are aiding in the search.

Davidson was housed in a minimum security facility. Minimum security institutions, also known as Federal Prison Camps (FPCs), have dormitory housing, a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio, and are work and program-oriented. FPCs are generally located adjacent to larger institutions, where inmates help serve the labor needs of the larger institution.

On April 28, 2008, Davidson was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger to serve 21 months (just under 2 years) in federal prison. Judge Krieger also ordered him to pay $714,139 in restitution to the IRS. As part of the restitution, Davis has agreed to forfeit property he purchased, including gold coins (which the IRS is selling today), with the ill gotten proceeds of his offense. At the time of sentencing Judge Krieger ordered Davidson to report to a facility designated by the Bureau of Prisons on May 27, 2008. He pled guilty before Judge Krieger on December 3, 2007. Davidson was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 5, 2007.

According to the stipulated facts contained in a plea agreement, on July 5, 2002 through April 15, 2007, Davidson conducted a business in Colorado using the name Power Promoters. The primary nature of Davidson’s business consisted of providing promotional services for companies by sending large volumes of unsolicited commercial electronic messages (“spamming”). The spamming was designed to promote the visibility and sale of products offered by various companies. Davidson utilized the services and assistance of other individuals who he hired as “sub-contractors” to provide spamming at his direction on behalf of his client companies.

During 2002 through the middle of 2005, Davidson’s spamming activities were provided on behalf of companies to promote watches, perfume, and other items. Beginning in the middle of 2005 through 2006, Davidson sent spam on behalf of a Texas company for purposes of promoting the sale of the company’s stock. The company generated its income through selling stock (commonly referred to as “penny stock”) on behalf of small companies on the public market. Davidson aided by several sub-spammers sent hundreds of thousands of unsolicited e-mail messages to potential purchasers throughout the United States and the world, which messages touted the penny stock as an excellent investment. Davidson possessed hundreds of thousands of e-mail addresses, which he and his sub-spammers would use to send e-mail messages. Such e-mail messages contained false header information, which concealed the actual sender from the recipient of the e-mail. Davidson provided spammed messages for approximately 19 companies. Davidson operated his spamming activities from his personal residence in Bennett , Colorado , where he had a large network of computers and servers, which facilitated his business.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver field office, and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Neff prosecuted the case.

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Spammer Jailbreak

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Vonage Caught Red-Handed Comment Spamming

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Imagine our shock to discover that VoIP provider Vonage has turned to comment spamming.

Oh, they will probably deny it, but what else can you call it when their Online Marketing Manager, Costas Kariolis, shows up at an article about Skype on the Internet Patrol, and posts a comment about the Vonage offerings, with an SEO-formatted link back to the Vonage site – and also posts the exact same comment to articles about Skype on other sites?

Shame on you, Vonage – don’t you know that comment spamming is the scourge of the Internet? This alone is enough to ensure that the Internet Patrol will recommend that people not use Vonage – we don’t support spammers.

Here is the comment spam that Costas Kariolis posted today (link disabled, of course) – the original article about Skype to which he posted his comment spam is here.


The introduction of these new call plans from Skype should prove beneficial for the internet telephony / VoIP sector generally. Anything that helps to bring internet telephone calling further into the mainstream is very welcome.

May we mention that there are other options in the market that allow you to make unlimited calls for a flat rate such as Vonage. There are some significant differences between the services that Vonage and Skype provide that should be taken into consideration by anyone looking to make internet calls.

Firstly, call quality is a major advantage of using Vonage, our call quality is comparable with a regular landline service. Secondly, with Skype you have traditionally needed 1) your PC to be switched on to be able to make and receive calls, with Vonage you have never been reliant on your PC being switched on and 2) a headset or USB phone to be able to make internet phone calls, with Vonage you just plug in your existing home phone. Using your existing touch tone phone gives users the freedom to make unlimited calls in the way you want while you walk around your home or office.

You can find out more about Vonage at
.

It is interesting to note that Mr. Kariolis didn’t single out the Internet Patrol – he posted the exact same comment spam here today as well.

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Vonage Caught Red-Handed Comment Spamming

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Priest Mistakes Legitimate Invitation to Meet with Pope as Spam – Oops!

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It seems like the clergy are subject to the same earthly problems as the rest of us after all. In this case, spam. A Roman Catholic priest, Reverend James Shea of Killdeer, ND, received an email from the White House, containing an invitation to meet Pope Benedict XVI during the Pope’s recent visit to the United States. Pope spam indeed!

Rather than make plans to travel to Washington, Revered Shea deleted the email, believing it to be spam. Perhaps he was, quite understandably, guided in his decision to do so by the date on which the email was delivered – April Fool’s Day. Perhaps again he was suffering under the deluge of spam that floods the mailboxes of so many people today. “I put it in the same place I put all the e-mails with special offers for Viagra,” Shea said.

However, it turned out that the email invitation had been legit!

Luckily, Reverend Shea was contacted a little time later to follow-up on the invitation. There’s no news on whether he did renew his relationship with the Pope, whom, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Reverend Shea had known when he studied for the priesthood in Rome.

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