Friday, January 07, 2011

Once upon a time, it was common for crooks to steal pantyhose to use as a mask. Now it appears worthwhile to purchase a retail business if it gives you access to lots of credit cards... I can only assume the economics still make sense.

(update) EVG Quality Gas breach, Sierra Madre

January 6, 2011 by admin

A small update to the story by Adolfo Flores of the Pasadena Star News:

The Secret Service has been called in. As significantly, the police are still looking for the owner of the gas station who closed the business and left town during Christmas week – right before all of the fraud reports starting coming in.

“In this case we are looking for three individuals, one of them is the former owner (Evgeny) Yakimenko,” Police Chief Marilyn Diaz

At a 7 a.m. press conference authorities provided a photograph of a man withdrawing funds from a victim’s account in Montebello. They are also investigating a Valero gas station up the street from EVG for fraudulent transactions.

Diaz confirmed that a skimming device was used to gather victims’ information when they used their cards in an ATM or in-store transaction.

Another “bargain” that's too good to be true.

Thousands of stolen iTunes accounts for sale in China

January 6, 2011 by admin

Tens of thousands of fraudulent iTunes accounts are for sale on a major Chinese website, it has been revealed.

Around 50,000 accounts linked to stolen credit cards are listed on auction site TaoBao, the country’s equivalent of eBay.

Buyers are promised temporary access to unlimited downloads from the service for as little as 1 yuan (10p) a time.

Apple, which recently stepped up iTunes’ security after a series of break-ins, declined to comment.

Read more on BBC.

Zou Le, of Global Times, who broke the story, reports, in part:

For merely 200 yuan ($30) a pop, an Internet user in China can purchase up to $200 worth of digital products at Apple Inc’s vast music, movie and applications vault.

Far from being a benevolent offer by the fruit-favoring giant, this offer is the result of the theft of iTunes user account details stollen by hackers who then auctioned them online.

The Global Times discovered Wednesday that about 50,000 illegal accounts are being sold at, China’s largest online store, at prices ranging from 1 yuan to 200 yuan.

Potential buyers are promised access to music and movies through iTunes amounting to seven times more than the amount paid.

The only restriction is that all downloads should be made within 24 hours of the transaction being completed at Taobao.

The websites show that thousands of such accounts have been sold over the past several months.

Another swing of the pendulum?

EPIC Files Brief in Airport Body Scanner Case

January 6, 2011 by Dissent


EPIC has filed its reply brief in the suit to suspend the Department of Homeland Security’s controversial airport body scanner program. The brief argues that “the TSA has acted outside of its regulatory authority and with profound disregard for the statutory and constitutional rights of air travelers, the agency’s rule should be set aside and further deployment of the body scanners should be suspended.” EPIC filed its opening brief on November 1, 2010, arguing that the body scanners are “unlawful, invasive, and ineffective.” On January 6, EPIC held a one-day public conference “The Stripping of Freedom: A Careful Scan of TSA Security Procedures” in Washington, DC. Oral argument will be heard in the case on March 10.

Privacy risks: What records would you need to disprove these allegations?

Nurse claims she was fired for complaining about HIPAA violations

By Dissent, January 6, 2011

Michelle Massey reports:

A former nurse is seeking more than $15 million from a Tyler hospital alleging she was fired after complaining about employees taking pictures of sedated patients and posting the pictures on Facebook.

Debbie Blevins filed suit against Tyler Cardiovascular Consultants on Dec. 22 in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division.

She accuses the defendant of allowing staff, including doctors, to post pictures of sedated patients on social networking websites, such as Facebook, in violation of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy laws, ethical standards and basic morals.

Read more in the Southeast Texas Record.


Nursing student wins Facebook placenta photo case against JCCC

By Dissent, January 7, 2011

Matt Campbell reports:

Doyle Byrnes has every intention of resuming her nursing studies after a federal judge overturned her dismissal from the program for posting a photo of a human placenta on Facebook.

The judge on Thursday shot down every argument, legal and otherwise, that Johnson County Community College had used to justify its ousting of Byrnes last fall, preventing her from graduating on schedule in May.

Read more in the Kansas City Star

While I think I actually appreciate the school’s concern about image or how the public might be fearful of how privacy is treated, I think this is a good decision. It was – and should have remained – a teachable moment. How many lives would have been forever altered if one student had not had the determination and resources to actually take the college to court?

[From the article:

Clifford Cohen, Byrnes’ attorney, argued his client was deprived of due process and a disciplinary hearing.

In Melgren’s ruling, he found:

•Photos are taken to be viewed, and if the students were given permission to photograph the placenta, it became irrelevant what they did with the pictures.

•There was no violation of any patient’s privacy because there was nothing in the photos to identify whose placenta it was.

•Byrnes was not allowed a fair hearing on her dismissal.

Melgren acknowledged that the Facebook element of the case mystified him, but he said: “Today’s generation of students is today’s generation of students and I don’t know that what they did was disruptive. I think the college’s reaction was disruptive.”

Would the casinos be required to show their software in court and explain how it was “hacked? ”

Man Arrested For Exploiting Error In Slot Machines

"A man awaiting trial in Pennsylvania was arrested by Federal agents on Jan. 4, and accused of exploiting a software 'glitch' within slot machines in order to win payouts. The exploit may have allowed the man to obtain more than a million dollars from casinos in Pennsylvania and Nevada, and officials say they are investigating to see if he used the method elsewhere. The accused stated that 'I'm being arrested federally for winning on a slot machine. Let everybody see the surveillance tapes. I pressed buttons on the machine on the casino. That's all I did.' Apparently, slot machine software errors are fairly common. The lesson here seems to be that casinos can deny you a slot machine win any time they wish by claiming software errors, and if you find an error that you can exploit, you may find yourself facing Federal charges for doing so."

[From the article:

When the correct sequence of buttons was pushed, the machine displayed false double jackpots. No casino officials noticed because the bogus jackpots weren't being recorded in the machine's internal system. [The casinos didn't have records to support cash payouts? I doubt that! Bob]

When I read this I thought they were asking for a tax on their sales. In fact, they apparently can't figure out how to sell anything online, so they are competing with tax-free internet stores. Still can't figure why they want taxes added to their competitors' sales rather than dropping the taxes on their sales...

Aussie Retailers Lobby For Tax On Online Purchases

"Major Australian retailers are running a print advertising campaign to get the government to decrease the amount where the Goods and Services tax (Australian sales tax) comes into effect for all online purchases. Currently, the tax free amount is at $1000 AUD for online purchases. The retailers, such as Target, Harvey Norman, David Jones, Myer and others, are lobbying through newspapers and are considering launching a television commercial. The print adverts are claiming that if the amount remains the same, Australian jobs will be lost and the economy will be harmed. This is facing a massive backlash from consumers, and the government's assistant treasurer said it was an action by stores to fix the issues affecting them."

[From the ABC article:

"If you've got a challenge which has been a long time in the making - which is the rise of the internet - then just thinking that you can slap a tax and solve all your problems and make the problems go away isn't right," he said.

Is this why my Ethical Hackers drive a different car every day?

New Cars Vulnerable To Wireless Theft

"In a story published by Technology Review, researchers have demonstrated multiple times that they can bypass the security of wireless entry and ignition systems to take a car without the owner's permission. As researchers in the article point out, car security systems will begin have a real impact to every day use if a thief can simply walk up to your car and drive it away. Although this article is light on technical details, a companion article shows how the researchers accomplished the security bypass. An interesting read, and certainly something that will no doubt be the subject of a new movie any day now."

Interesting. Will it inspire my Small Business Management students?

10 Business Models That Rocked 2010

Amazing how Dilbert can summarize everything we know about Cloud Computing!

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