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 Wednesday, June 24, 2009

China will limit the number of messages that a mobile number can send per day to battle rampant spam messages clogging cell phones, state media said on Friday.

Spam messages, largely consisting of real estate offers, ads for English lessons, fake tax receipts and other frauds have grown very quickly in China in recent years. It is not unusual to receive dozens of messages a day, including the odd gun ad.

One mobile number cannot send more than 200 messages per hour or 1,000 per day on weekdays, according to the agreement. On holidays, 500 messages per hour and 2,000 per day may originate from one number.

 

(Source: Reuter)

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Reuter

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 2:04:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The US military announced a new "cyber command" designed to wage digital warfare and to bolster defenses against mounting threats to its computer networks. The move reflects a shift in military strategy with "cyber dominance" now part of US war doctrine and comes amid growing alarm over the perceived threat posed by digital espionage coming from China, Russia and elsewhere.

President Barack Obama has put a top priority on cyber security and announced plans for a national cyber defense coordinator. A recent White House policy review said that "cybersecurity risks pose some of the most serious economic and national security challenges of the 21st century." Obama has promised privacy rights would be carefully safeguarded even as the government moves to step up efforts to protect sensitive civilian and military networks.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 1:45:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 22, 2009

A woman who won a retrial after a $220,000 verdict against her for sharing music files has now been ordered to pay $1.92 million by a jury in Minnesota.

In 2007, when she lost the original suit, Jammie Thomas-Rasset was one of the first people to receive a guilty verdict in a case backed by the Recording Industry Association of America, which has filed more than 20,000 lawsuits against people in a bid to stop online music trading and copyright infringement.

On Thursday, a jury ordered her to pay $80,000 for each of the 24 songs she is accused of illegally trading over the Kazaa Internet service. The jury could have ordered her to pay between $750 and $150,000 per song. In a statement, the RIAA said it was pleased that the jury found the defendant liable and that it continues to be willing to settle the case.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Monday, June 22, 2009 10:45:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The United Nations has appealed to parents, the Internet industry and policy-makers to join hands to eradicate hate speech from cyberspace.

Addressing a day-long seminar titled "Unlearning Intolerance" on the danger of "cyberhate," UN chief Ban Ki-moon lauded the benefits of the Internet but regretted that "there are those who use information technology to reinforce stereotypes, to spread misinformation and propagate hate." "Some of the newest technologies are being used to peddle some of the oldest fears," he warned, decrying what he called "digital demonization... targeting innocents because of their faith, their raace, their ethnicity, their sexual orientation."

 

(Source: UN)

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United Nations

Monday, June 22, 2009 8:55:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 18, 2009

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are exploding in popularity, bringing people from all walks of life together online. At the same time though, overall Internet use keeping family members apart.

Forty-three percent of all online users are involved with a social networking site, and that's up from just 27% a year ago, according to a report released today by The Conference Board, a non-profit research association. The report also notes that more than half of those who use social networks log on at least once a day, and the majority log on several times a day.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Thursday, June 18, 2009 1:32:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An alleged spammer could face jail time in connection with a Facebook lawsuit after a judge referred him to the U.S. Attorney General's Office for criminal proceedings.

Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California referred Sanford Wallace (who has been dubbed a "spam king" for his long and aggressive history in e-mail marketing) l to the U.S. Attorney General's Office for criminal proceedings for allegedly violating an injunction that prohibited him from accessing Facebook.

Facebook filed a lawsuit against Wallace and two other men in February for spamming and phishing schemes through the social-networking site. The following week, Judge Fogel issued a temporary restraining order barring Wallace and two other alleged spammers, Adam Arzoomanian and Scott Shaw, from accessing Facebook's network.

 

(Source: PCWorld)

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PCWorld

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 10:50:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A federal grand jury in New Jersey today indicted three people, and five people were arrested in Italy, all in connection with hacking into the IT systems of thousands of companies around the world to gain free access to telephone services, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark, N.J.

A multinational team of investigators worked jointly to round up the alleged hackers and their financial backers in the scheme to gain access into the systems of many companies -- 2,500 in the U.S. alone -- to steal access codes that the victim companies used to route phone calls through telecom systems, the office said.

The value of all the stolen services was unclear, though the U.S. Attorney's Office said the thieves routed more than $55 million worth of telephone calls over telecommunications networks in the U.S. "This was an extensive and well-organized criminal network that worked across continents," said New Jersey's acting U.S. attorney, Ralph J. Marra Jr., in a statement.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 10:15:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 15, 2009

After a two weeks meeting in Bonn Germany, it appears that an ambitious and effective global pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is in sight.

A big achievement of this meeting is that governments have made it clearer what they want to see in the Copenhagen agreed outcome,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.The Copenhagen outcome is to follow on the first phase of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012. The negotiating text under consideration covers issues of a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, enhanced action on adaptation, mitigation and finance, as well as technology and capacity-building.

The gathering in Germany, which brought together more than 4,600 participants from government, business and industry, environmental groups and research institutions, was the second in a series of five major UN negotiating sessions slated for this year ahead of Copenhagen. The next meeting is scheduled to be held from 10 to 14 August in Bonn, followed by sessions in Bangkok from 28 September to 9 October and Barcelona from 2 to 6 November.

Source: UN

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Press Release

 

Monday, June 15, 2009 4:31:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Every time you swipe your credit card and wait for the transaction to be approved, sensitive data including your name and account number are ferried from store to bank through computer networks, each step a potential opening for hackers.

And while you may take steps to protect yourself against identity theft, an Associated Press investigation has found the banks and other companies that handle your information are not being nearly as cautious as they could. The government leaves it to card companies to design security rules that protect the nation's 50 billion annual transactions.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Monday, June 15, 2009 2:26:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

While most viruses target PC users, there has been rise in the number of attacks on Mac systems. Graham Cluley, a security expert with anti-virus firm Sophos, told the BBC that the small number of Mac viruses had made some users complacent.

Security experts have discovered two novel forms of Mac OS X malware. OSX/Tored-A - an updated version of the Mac OS Tored worm - and a Trojan called OSX/Jahlav-C were both found on popular pornographic websites. Users logging on to these sites are asked to download a "missing Video ActiveX Object" but are sent a virus payload instead.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Monday, June 15, 2009 10:27:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 11, 2009

The continuing fallout from a hacking incident at U.K.-based Web hosting company VAserv should serve as a powerful reminder that companies need proper data backup and disaster recovery procedures.

The incident, which could result in a fire sale of VAserv to another hosting provider, is also an especially stark example of the kind of havoc that a malicious attacker can wreak on businesses.

Late Sunday, an unknown hacker or hackers attacked VAserve's virtual server infrastructure and deleted about 100,000 sites, or about half of those being hosted by the company, according to The Register.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Thursday, June 11, 2009 2:54:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In Beijing, a lawyer has demanded a public hearing to reconsider a government demand that all new personal computers carry Internet filtering software, adding to uproar over a plan critics say is ineffective and intrusive.

(Source Reuters)

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Thursday, June 11, 2009 9:23:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The takedown last week of a rogue ISP by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) slashed spam volumes by about 15% and reduced the spam spewed by a pair of big-name botnets by as much as to just 64%, a security firm said today.

"Spam dropped 15% across the board," said Bradley Anstis, director of technology strategy at Marshal8e6. "We especially noticed [the drop] over the weekend," he said, adding that the decline picked up steam slowly.

Last Tuesday, a federal court ordered the plug pulled on 3FN, an ISP operated by Belize-based Pricewert, after the FTC complained that the company hosts spam botnet command-and-control servers, as well as sites operated by child pornographers, identity thieves and other criminals.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:42:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A mobile phone-based health project is helping the Peruvian military to keep disease at bay. The initiative, dubbed Alerta DISAMAR, has allowed doctors in the navy to report disease outbreaks and ask for help with treatment. The scheme was set up following the deaths of two Peruvian sailors in 2001 from malaria and is part of a wider mHealth project by the United Nations-Vodafone Foundation. Since it was set up in 2003 it has provided invaluable information for epidemiologists and enabled them to track the spread of diseases. It is also a useful way of gathering statistics on disease for health planning. To date, over 80,000 cases have been reported - everything from snakebites to yellow fever.

The US navy helped establish the product and a firm called Voxiva developed the technical aspects, under advice from Ernesto Gozzer, a doctor who specialises in public health.

Source: BBC

Read full Report: here

 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:18:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A Chinese developer of pornography filtering software protested reports linking the program to China's broader Internet censorship on Wednesday, after the government ordered that his software be distributed with all PCs sold in the country.

The government edict requiring PC makers to distribute the program touched off concerns that it could be used to block access to politically sensitive material online in addition to pornography.

China says the initiative is meant to protect children from "harmful" online content. The software blocks only illegal materials such as pornography and some content related to gambling and drugs, said Bryan Zhang, the general manager of Jinhui.

 

(Source: PCWorld)

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PCWorld

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 2:54:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A woman has been arrested by police in the UK following investigation into the distribution of child abuse images. The  police raided the home of the 39 yr old nursery worker and closed the 60 place nursery during enquiries. Plymouth Commanding officer Ch Supt Jim Webster stated that the the allegations made against the nursery worker raised "serious concerns"  and in response all the parents of children at the nursery are being contacted.

Ch Supt Jim Webster added, "... our work today is to find out what's happened, where the images have come from, where they've been sent to and any risk to anybody in Plymouth..."

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC website

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 1:24:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A Hampton, New Hampshire, man has pleaded guilty to fraud charges for his role in a scheme to empty brokerage accounts by installing malicious Trojan horse software on victims' computers.

According to court documents, Alexey Mineev set up several "drop accounts" that were then wired funds stolen from banking and brokerage accounts between July and December 2007. He pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering on Wednesday, according to Mike Ruocco, deputy to Judge Paul Gardephe of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, who is presiding in the case.

The criminals would infect PCs with malicious Trojan software that would steal account numbers and passwords whenever victims logged into their accounts online.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 8:02:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 08, 2009

Movie directors, composers, authors, legal experts, policy-makers and others are meeting in Washinton this week to discuss the "threats and opportunities" the Internet poses to copyright in the digital age.

Some 500 delegates from more than 55 countries are scheduled to attend the 2nd World Copyright Summit being held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Convention Center. Web and software giants Google and Microsoft and representatives of movie, music and book rights societies are also among those attending the summit organized by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), whose president is Bee Gees brother Robin Gibb.

Organizer CISAC, listing the "key issues" for the summit, cited "How the digital media environment is providing common threats and opportunities to all creative repertoires."

French Culture Minister Christine Albanel, Hollywood director Milos Forman and US Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, are among the nearly 100 speakers slated to address the gathering. Looming over the summit is the threat posed to artists by digital piracy.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Monday, June 08, 2009 9:12:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 05, 2009

"In the week we used the system we found it very useful to pupils, teachers, therapists and parents alike. It allows children to take control of the conversation without having to rely on help from us.", Sue Williams, head teacher at Capability Scotland's Corseford School in Kilbarchan, said.

'How was school today?' is software to help children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy communicate faster. The system is the result of a project between computing scientists from the Universities of Aberdeen and Dundee, and Capability Scotland. Pupils from Corseford School in Renfrewshire were first to trial it.

Scientists claim to have developed the first technology of its kind to allow children with communication problems to converse better.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Friday, June 05, 2009 5:09:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

British YouTube users are amongst the most sensitive in the world, executives at the site have claimed. Amid demands for an independent regulator to police its content they said Britons are amongst the most likely to object to footage hosted on the site.

The company has reacted by introducing special “Britain-only” policies following a raft of complaints from users over gang-related videos. Victoria Grand, head of policy at YouTube, told The Times: “The UK is a big flagging country. We get a lot of videos flagged up in the UK because of issues that British people are concerned about which maybe aren’t an issue in the US, such as the brandishing of guns.”

 

(Source: TimesOnline)

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TimesOnline

Friday, June 05, 2009 3:48:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 04, 2009

The government of Bahrain has introduced an e-government services that can be accessed through mobile phones. The mobile portal will allow anyone with a mobile phone to communicate with all government entities and avail of their services. The services are accessible through a mobile version of the national portal to WAP-equipped phones, in addition to other services available via text message. The initial phase of the mobile portal will include 11 basic government services, with 39 more to be rolled out by year’s end, taking the total to 50. The key services include enquiries regarding electricity bills and traffic contraventions, daily price index, flight information, school examination results and registration of complaints to government bodies.

Launching the mobile portal and CSCs are two of the basic components of e-government vision. By offering government e-services through multiple easy-to-access delivery channels, everyone is included, regardless of education, income, gender, age or nationality, with the aim to achieve quality and integration with a focus on customer satisfaction.”  said H.E. Sheikh Ahmed bin Ateyatalla Al Khalifa, the government of Bahrain’s Cabinet Affairs Minister and Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology member.

Source: Future Gov

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Bahrain e-Government Portal

Thursday, June 04, 2009 10:34:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 03, 2009

As many as 40,000 Web sites have been hacked to redirect unwitting victims to another Web site that tries to infect PCs with malicious software, according to security vendor Websense.

The affected sites have been hacked to host JavaScript code that directs people to a fake Google Analytics Web site, which provides data for Web site owners on a site's usage, then to another bad site, said Carl Leonard, threat research manager for Websense.

Those Web sites have likely been hacked via a SQL injection attack, in which improperly configured Web applications accept malicious data and get hacked, Leonard said.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld website

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 3:29:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Spending more time on social networks and blogs? With the latest figures showing the number of minutes spent on social networking sites in the United States has almost doubled over the past year.

Nielsen Online, which measures web traffic, said the number of minutes on social networks in the United States rose 83 percent in April from the same month a year ago, but found users were quick to move on and sites could quickly fall from favor.

The total number of minutes spent on Facebook surged 700 percent year-on-year to 13.9 billion in April this year from 1.7 billion a year ago, making it the No. 1 social networking site for the fourth consecutive month. News Corp's MySpace was second most popular but the number of minutes spent on this site fell 31 percent to 4.97 billion from 7.3 billion a year ago, although it remained the top social networking site when ranked by video streams.

 

(Source: Reuters)

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Reuters website

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:36:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 01, 2009

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced a landmark agreement reached by over 30 African ministers to mainstream climate change adaptation measures into national and regional development plans, policies and strategies.

The Nairobi Declaration adopted at the Special Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) called on the international community to support the continent in implementing climate change programmes while at the same time achieving sustainable development, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable, such as women and children, who bear the brunt of the impact of global warming.

“Africa’s environment ministers have today signalled their resolve to be part of the solution to the climate change challenge by forging a unified position, within their diversity of economies, in advance of the crucial UN climate change convention meeting in Copenhagen in just 192 days time,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

The Declaration highlights the need for a coherent financial mechanism to battle climate change, with equitable governance and simplified access procedures. In this regard, African ministers are advocating for the improvement and modification of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in order to ensure equitable geographical distribution of projects that contribute to sustainable development efforts on the continent. They are also calling for the expansion of eligible categories to benefit from carbon credits and other international incentives to include sustainable land use, agriculture and forest management, in order to promote agricultural productivity in a way that improves resilience and adaptation to climate change.

Source:United Nations

Full Report

Nairobi Declaration

Monday, June 01, 2009 4:50:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An Australian woman who cyber-stalked an American Idol contestant was jailed for 26 months. Tanya Maree Quattrocchi pleaded guilty to stalking 2004 American Idol runner-up Diana DeGarmo by hacking into her My Space account and hijacking email accounts belonging to the singer, national news agency AAP reported.

Victorian County Court judge Lisa Hannan described Quattrocchi's offences as serious and said she had no option but to send her to jail. "It is important that you understand the fact you perpetrated your offending using cyberspace does not diminish its significance," Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper quoted Hannan as saying. She said the victims of such crimes had no doors to lock or alarms to activate, adding: "They are constantly vulnerable."

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP website

Monday, June 01, 2009 3:26:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Accessing your bank account using your mobile phone might seem safe, but security experts say would-be hackers can access confidential information via a simple text message seemingly from your service provider.

People in the industry aware of the risk see it as extremely small, as only a few people use handsets to access their bank accounts, but it is growing as mobile Internet usage rises.

 

(Source: Reuters)

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Reuters website

Monday, June 01, 2009 2:51:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |