Virtual Heist Nets 500,000+ Bank, Credit Accounts
Friday, October 31 2008 @ 06:11 AM EDT Contributed by: PrivacyNews
A single cyber crime group has stolen more than a half million bank, credit and debit card accounts over the past two-and-a-half years using one of the most advanced strains of computer spyware in existence, according to research to be published today. The discovery is among the largest stolen data caches ever recovered.
Researchers at RSA's FraudAction Research Lab unearthed the massive trove of purloined data while tracking the activities of a family of spyware known as the "Sinowal" Trojan, designed to steal data from Microsoft Windows PCs.
Source - Security Fix
[From the article:
It's not clear exactly who's behind these attacks, but evidence points to Russian malware gangs.
Another “accessing the data we want is no big deal” Identity Theft case.
State Warns Passport Applicants Of Danger of Credit Card Fraud
Friday, October 31 2008 @ 06:04 AM EDT Contributed by: PrivacyNews
The State Department has notified approximately 400 passport applicants in the D.C. area of a breach in its database security that allowed a ring of thieves to obtain confidential information so they could fraudulently use credit cards stolen from the mail, officials said.
The scheme, involving two major government agencies, came to light months ago through a fluke.
Source - Washington Post
Some allusions to the long history of surveillance in France, but (if I understand) the notebooks were leaked by “magistrates” who obtained them during an official investigation.
Fr: Snoop and scoop
Thursday, October 30 2008 @ 11:25 AM EDT Contributed by: PrivacyNews
FOR nearly 12 years as France’s domestic spy chief, Yves Bertrand filled spiral-bound notebooks with every rumour that came his way about the goings-on of the political elite. They were supposed to be a private aide-mémoire, he says. But this month they became public when extracts were published by Le Point magazine, prompting an outburst of denials, red faces and legal action which has gripped the Paris establishment.
The disclosures so far are relatively coy, yet reveal the deeply pervasive culture of snooping in the country founded on the principle of liberté.
Source - The Economist
This is huge. And absolutely mandatory if Cloud Computing is to succeed.
Google introduces service-level guarantee for its Apps suite
Google's move may calm enterprises spooked by a long Gmail outage and a buggy Apps portal earlier this month
By Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service October 31, 2008
... The Premier Edition of the Google Apps online productivity and collaboration suite will come with a 99.9 percent per-month uptime guarantee for the Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sites and Google Talk services.
Related Why is it huge?
Study: Google runs more than 10 million Web sites
Posted by Stephen Shankland October 30, 2008 4:46 PM PDT
Related? Now you need to do all those serches over again!
Scanned documents found--by Google!
Posted by Eric Franklin October 30, 2008 6:06 PM PDT
If you've ever had trouble finding scanned documents on Google, it's probably because it was not indexing them. On Thursday, this all changed. Google has announced that it is now indexing scanned documents.
Think of it as the “Ronco Price-O-Matic” as seen on Saturday Night Live...
October 31, 2008
UPC Switching Scam
It's not a new scam to switch bar codes and buy merchandise for a lower value, but how do you get away with over $1M worth of merchandise with this scam?
In a statement of facts filed with Tidwell's plea, he admitted that, during one year, he and others conspired to steal more than $1 million in merchandise from large retailers and sell the items through eBay. The targeted merchandise included high-end vacuum cleaners, electric welders, power winches, personal computers, and electric generators.
Tidwell created fraudulent UPC labels on his home personal computer. Conspirators entered various stores in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Texas and placed the fraudulent labels on merchandise they targeted, and then bought the items from the store. The fraudulent UPC labels attached to the merchandise would cause the item to be rung up for a price far below its actual retail value.
That requires a lot of really clueless checkout clerks.
How the world views privacy?
30th International Data Protection Commissioners Conference follow-up
Friday, October 31 2008 @ 05:37 AM EDT Contributed by: PrivacyNews
The 30th International Data Protection Commissioners Conference was held in Strasbourg, France on October 15 to 17, 2008. A numb er of resolutions were passed; those can be found here. Video of some of the panel discussions can be found here.
If I read this correctly, transfers were banned but happened anyway. So they decided to allow it under circumstances they couldn't stop so they could remain in apparent control.
EU privacy chiefs update rules for overseas data transfers
Friday, October 31 2008 @ 05:45 AM EDT Contributed by: PrivacyNews
The European Union's data protection authorities have published amended guidance on how companies can legally share customer and staff personal data with parts of the firm located outside the European Union.
The Article 29 Working Party, which consists of the data protection watchdogs of the EU member countries, has created a mechanism for transferring data within organisations but to countries to which it would usually be illegal to send personal information.
We don't need no stinking patents! Except those that are truly new and innovative like: Initiation and discontinuation of electrical and electronic processes by manipulation of appropriately labeled buttons. (ON/OFF)
Federal Circuit Appeals Court Limits Business-Method Patents
Posted by timothy on Thursday October 30, @05:05PM from the sounds-smart-so-far dept. Patents The Courts United States
"The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has just issued its much-anticipated opinion in In Re Bilski [PDF]. This was a re-visit of the State Street issue of what constitutes patentable subject matter (including whether software and business methods are patentable). In summary, the court has affirmed and strengthened the 'machine-or-transformation' test, upholding the patent office's rejection of claims on a method to hedging risk in the field of commodities trading. Although the court refused to categorically exclude software patents, it is likely that the reasoning of this decision will be used to reject many software patents (note that some of the dissenting judges would have completely overturned State Street and tossed out all software and business method patents). Although not as sweeping as some had hoped for, it is certain that this decision, along with the Supreme Court's KSR decision last year, will lay a difficult mine field for those who want to patent software and business methods."
Would this apply to “searches” of files transferred over the Internet?
Court rules hash analysis is a Fourth Amendment "search"
By Julian Sanchez | Published: October 29, 2008 - 01:46PM CT
... Legal scholars, however, have spent a decade puzzling over whether the use of hash value analysis in a criminal investigation counts as a Fourth Amendment "search." A federal court in Pennsylvania last week became the first to rule that it does—but one legal expert says an appeal is very likely.
Chief Judge Yvette Kane of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania penned the opinion in United States v. Crist, granting Robert Crist's request for the suppression of child pornography police found on his computer.
... The question was first broached in a 1996 Yale Law Journal article titled "Cyberspace, general searches, and digital contraband." The author noted an interesting quirk of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence: Courts have held that a "search" occurs when someone's "expectation of privacy" is violated, provided that expectation is one that society is prepared to regard as "reasonable." But they've also held that there is no such "reasonable expectation" as regards the possession of illegal materials, like narcotics or child porn. In 2004, the Supreme Court would rely on this logic in the case of Illinois v. Caballes to hold that a trained drug dog's sniff, which only reveals the presence or absence of illegal drugs, does not count as a search. In the digital realm, this raised the possibility of what we might call, with a nod to novelist Erica Jong, a "zipless search"—a more or less perfect means of detecting only contraband, circumventing the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement.
A glimpse into the political mind: “We have concluded that electronic voting machines are unreliable, prone to errors and easily hacked. But we're going to use them in this election anyway.”
Paper Ballots Will Return In MD and VA
Posted by timothy on Thursday October 30, @04:21PM from the but-this-baby-is-soaked-in-bathwater dept. Government Security United States Politics
"According to a story in the Washington Post, 'Maryland and Virginia are going old school after Tuesday's election. Maryland will scrap its $65 million electronic system and go back to paper ballots in time for the 2010 midterm elections. In Virginia, localities are moving to paper after the General Assembly voted last year to phase out electronic voting machines as they wear out. "The battle for the hearts and minds of voters on whether electronic systems are good or bad has been lost," Brace said. The academics and computer scientists who said they were unreliable "have won that battle."'"
Can your TV do this?
Download full seasons of popular TV shows for $5
Posted by Rick Broida October 31, 2008 4:00 AM PDT
In an effort to push its new-ish Video On Demand service, Amazon is offering cheap deals on full seasons of popular TV shows. For example, you can get the first three seasons of Battlestar Galactica for just 5 bucks each. Also in the bargain bin: House (four seasons' worth), Heroes (seasons 1 and 2), The Office, and, if you're really hard up for entertainment, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Saved By the Bell.
In case you're not familiar with it, Amazon Video on Demand lets you stream shows and movies right in your browser (Mac or PC), no download required. However, you do have the option of downloading videos to your PC, notebook, TiVo, or compatible portable player for later (offline) viewing.
Interesting. Sort of an online Cliff Notes
Shmoop.com - Literature & History Resources
Are you struggling to keep up with your literature or history classes? If the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes”, a visit to this site is mandatory. Basically, Shmoop gives you immediate access to materials and study guides that will make an A student out of you. Moreover, the featured materials will appeal to literature adepts in general, as the provided analyses are very rich and profound. [Not the one's I saw Bob]
The main page includes an alphabetical index of books, whereas the featured titles are also highlighted one by one. Some authors which are featured include William Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad and James Joyce, along with classic Greek writers such as Sophocles and Homer. Upon choosing a specific tome, a comprehensive study guide is produced. This touches upon aspects like “Summary”, “Characters”, “Plot Analysis” and “Themes & Quotes”. Moreover, you can take part of ongoing discussions about that title by following the provided link. Finally, a tag cloud that highlights terms of note as regards that book is also included for browsing convenience.
Global Warming! Global Warming! Interesting choice of words. Is it only warmer at the poles because of humans? Equatorial warming (cooling?) is due to something else?
Polar warming 'caused by humans'
By Pallab Ghosh Science correspondent, BBC News
Related (Think of it as “Earth farts”)
MIT scientists baffled by global warming theory, contradicts scientific data
Trendwatch By Rick C. Hodgin Thursday, October 30, 2008 09:55
Boston (MA) - Scientists at MIT have recorded a nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels. This is the first increase in ten years, and what baffles science is that this data contradicts theories stating man is the primary source of increase for this greenhouse gas. It takes about one full year for gases generated in the highly industrial northern hemisphere to cycle through and reach the southern hemisphere. However, since all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, it is now believed this may be part of a natural cycle in mother nature - and not the direct result of man's contributions.