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Hacking & Security Posts - Page 16

'Guccifer' hacker sentenced to four years in prison by Romania

Marcel Lazar Lehel, operating under the hacker pseudonym "Guccifer," was convicted by a Romanian court and sentenced to serve four years in prison. Lehel has a day job serving as a cab driver, but his miscellaneous activities are what led him to be arrested in January - and already has a three-year suspended sentence that could force him to spend even more time in prison.

 

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In late May, the hacker admitted to illegally accessing email accounts, targeting Romanian government officials, celebrities, and other well-known personalities. In addition, "Guccifer" targeted former U.S. President George W. Bush, along with several of Bush's family members, in his global hacking operation.

 

"The aggrieved parties Corina Cretu and George Cristian Maior did not turn into civil claimants ... the defendant is obliged to pay $3,400 in legal fees to the state," according to the Romanian government.

UK government wants to sentence major cyberattackers to life sentence

The British government should severely punish cybercriminals responsible for "serious" cyber-based attacks, according to the Queen. Following a recent speech, it seems a recently proposed crime bill will ask for possible life sentences if hacking leads to "loss of life, serious illness or injury or serious damage to national security, or a significant risk thereof."

 

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The Computer Misuse Act of 1990 would also be modified, so criminals conducting industrial espionage operations would receive additional jail time. Instead of a 10-year sentence for attacks that lead to "a significant risk of severe economic or environmental damage or social disruption," the modification would call for a 14-year sentence.

 

"It's good to see government trying to be proactive to put specific law enforcement tools in place before they're needed, but they should be careful to not accidentally criminalize good faith efforts," said Beau Woods, I Am The Cavalry security expert.

Continue reading 'UK government wants to sentence major cyberattackers to life sentence' (full post)

Lawyer claims evidence shows Pirate Bay founder's PC was compromised

New evidence has been presented to a court in defense of Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm, who last year was extradited to Denmark and remains in custody.

 

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Svartholm was accused of illegally accessing the mainframe of CSC. But now new evidence has emerged that, according to TorrentFreak, backs up the theory a third party was using Svartholm's PC.

 

A February investigation of Svartholm's computer apparently reveals hundreds of suspicious files. His lawyer, Luise Høj, told TorrentFreak that threats on the PC could be traced all the way back to 2011, some of which could potentially have permitted backdoor access into the computer.

Continue reading 'Lawyer claims evidence shows Pirate Bay founder's PC was compromised' (full post)

Anti-snooping server sails past $1m crowdfunding target in hours

A German startup that's promising to deliver a secure private server free from government snooping has reached its $1 million crowdfunding target in just under an hour and a half.

 

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Protonet hit over 100,000 euros on the crowdfunding service Seedmatch in minutes, before sailing past the $1 million mark 89 minutes after going live, IBTimes reports. Protonet's product aims to combine the best of server capabilities, according to the company, with the security and control of local hardware.

 

"We offer location independent data access, a though through social collaboration platform and all this with no necessary maintenance and installation," the company says on its website.

Simplelocker ransomware targets Android, encrypts your SD card

A recently discovered Trojan targeting Google Android turns out to be a nasty piece of ransomware, encrypting files on a compromised user's device. The Android/Simplelocker ransomware demands a small payment of about $22 in that must be paid to the Eastern European cybercriminals behind the malicious software.

 

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The Trojan scans for the following file formats on a phone's SD card: jpeg, jpg, png, bmp, gif, pdf, doc, docx, txt, avi, mkv, 3gp, mp4, which will be encrypted and made inaccessible.

 

"File-encrypting malware has proved to be a lucrative criminal enterprise so it is unsurprising that Android has become a new target," said Dr. Steven Murdoch, University of Cambridge security researcher, in a statement. "Smartphone users should be very cautious of installing software from sources other than the operating system-provided application store, and should pressure their phone supplier to promptly provide security updates to defend against known vulnerabilities."

Continue reading 'Simplelocker ransomware targets Android, encrypts your SD card' (full post)

Privacy campaigner creates Google Glass jamming device

A privacy campaigner for "Stop The Cyborgs" has come up with a novel way to prevent being recorded by a Google Glass wearing Glasshole - a simple program that knows when Glass is being used and prevents it from connecting to a network.

 

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The program will no doubt be to the chagrin of the Valley's Glass-wearing enthusiasts, as it prevents it from connecting to the cloud completely. But Stop The Cyborg's Julian Oliver claims it's a hassle-free approach to gaining some privacy in public places.

 

"To say 'I don't want to be filmed' at a restaurant or playing with your kids is perfectly OK," he said, speaking with Wired. "But how do you do that when you don't even know if a device is recording? This steps up the game. It's taking a jammer-like approach."

Continue reading 'Privacy campaigner creates Google Glass jamming device' (full post)

Bitdefender helps Community Emergency Response Team fight cybercrimes

Security software company Bitdefender plans to become more proactive in helping Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and police authorities fight cybercrimes. The company hopes its botnet mapping and malware reverse-engineering will provide a method to identify - and disrupt - cyberattacks before they victimize users. Bitdefender has experience working with law enforcement, so disabling command and control servers, with the help of forensic analysis, also is possible.

 

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Here is what Catalin Cosoi, Bitdefender Chief Security Strategist, in a press statement: " Bitdefender has been in the fight against cyber crime since the beginning, so we find ourselves with more knowledge and capabilities than we can use in our regular business. We want to use that capacity and expertise to contribute to bolster the work of other well-meaning groups who are seeking to make the internet a cleaner, safer place to work, play and socialize."

 

There is an ongoing fight against cyberattacks, though many companies are simply overwhelmed due to increasingly sophisticated attacks. The U.S. federal government is targeting organized cybercriminal groups, but tend to only operate in damage control after a breach occurs.

Microsoft faces new difficulties in China over Windows 8

The Chinese government decided to ban Microsoft Windows 8 from government PCs last month, expressing fears of cyberespionage by the U.S. government. As Microsoft tries to build support for its software, the company quickly opened up discussions with the Chinese government - and the headaches still haven't gone away. The state-run China Central Television criticized Microsoft during a noon news broadcast, opening questioning Windows 8 security.

 

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"Whoever controls the operating system can control all the data on the computers using it," the broadcast claimed.

 

Ironically, Microsoft and security specialists have recommended upgrading to Windows 8 because increased security. This is just another step for the Chinese government to torment the U.S. government - and major tech companies - which have been accused of providing the NSA access to Chinese technologies.

Continue reading 'Microsoft faces new difficulties in China over Windows 8' (full post)

German government opens investigation into Angela Merkel hacking

German federal prosecutor Harald Range confirmed he has opened an investigation into spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) that targeted Chancellor Angela Merkel. The NSA reportedly accessed Merkel's smartphone, which was unveiled by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and it appeared the case would be dropped. However, members of Parliament and German media immediately criticized the decision, so the investigation will move forward.

 

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"I informed parliament's legal affairs committee that I have started a preliminary investigation over tapping of a mobile phone of the chancellor," Range recently said.

 

Last month, German authorities said they were interested in interviewing Snowden to discuss NSA spying allegations against Merkel. The NSA first snooped on Gerhard Schröder, Merkel's predecessor in office, due to his resistance to George W. Bush's war in Iraq - and close ties with the Russian government.

Chinese media want government to punish Google, Apple, others

Google, Apple and other U.S. tech companies are under fire by Chinese state media, accusing the companies of conducting surveillance on behalf of the U.S. government. It's a fairly common tactic for the Chinese government to use its media resources to criticize political opponents. Some Chinese companies are abandoning U.S. technology suppliers in favor of national software and hardware solutions, helping spur their economy.

 

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"U.S. companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. are all coordinating with the PRISM program to monitor China," according to the People's Daily. "To resist the naked Internet hegemony, we will draw up international regulations, and strengthen technology safeguards, but we will also severely punish the pawns of the villain. The priority is strengthening penalties and punishments, and for anyone who steals our information, even though they are far away, we shall punish them!"

 

There is an intensifying political game between Beijing and Washington, with both sides continually blaming one another of cyberattacks. Following the U.S. government charging several Chinese Army officers of cyberespionage, Beijing said cyberattack claims were fabricated.

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