Saturday, April 28, 2007

This Is What Happens When You Don't Encrypt Your Email.

COMPANIES are being warned they risk losing vital business information to snoopers because they are failing to encrypt e-mails.

A leading expert in computer security says unauthorised interception of e-mails is a simple task for fraudsters searching for confidential details.

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The latest figures indicate that incidents involving snooping and reading private e-mails are on the increase.

Computer users are increasingly wary of IT threats such as spam e-mails, and "phishing" attacks, which involve sending spoof e-mails in an effort to dupe users into handing over bank details.

But few bother to encrypt their data, and instead happily swap confidential details in the belief they cannot be read.

Jim Lee, the director of security firm Campbell Lee Computer Services, said: "We've all become aware of computer security and have anti-virus software and firewalls and don't open rogue e-mails. The worry is we're still sending e-mails containing sensitive information without encrypting it first. So we protect it on our computers but allow it to be read by anyone when it is being sent by e-mail."

He added: "All e-mail addresses are understood by computers as being made up of a series of three-digit numbers, separated by dots.

"A hacker can analyse the numbers and work out which servers were used to send the message.

"From there it is relatively straightforward to hack into servers to read the data or even arrange to have a duplicate copy sent to him.

"You can't rely on hoping your confidential data will be ignored because there's so much e-mail. Computers make it easy to store millions of e-mails and search quickly for the one with useful data in it."

Although figures for the scale of e-mail interception are only rough estimates, a study published last year shows the problem is on the increase.

The analysis, published by the international IT security firm MessageLabs, revealed that in 2004 its own systems detected about 125 targeted attacks designed to sniff out the contents of e-mails, while the number of attacks in the previous year had been "negligible".

The report added: "MessageLabs is seeing a new wave of security threats for businesses, with much more sophisticated and malevolent techniques at their disposal.

"Old-style virus proliferation has been superceded by new targeted e-mail attacks from criminals aimed at defrauding business, stealing intellectual property or extorting money."

One industry insider said: "I was speaking to a guy who managed to reel off all the details of an ongoing divorce case. I looked at him and said: 'You could only have got that from reading the e-mails,' and he said 'Yes'."

Shirley Fairall, communications director for IT security firm Identum, said: "As our machines and technology are getting better and cleverer, we are allowing ourselves to become more stupid.

"Most of us have very good protection from viruses and spyware, but sending out unencrypted e-mail is the equivalent of writing your information on a postcard and just hoping that no one will read it. If you want it in the equivalent of an envelope then encryption is available and is becoming much easier to use and much harder to break into."

A spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry, which regulates online commerce, said that the DTI encouraged firms to encrypt vital data.


Dater d'Internet bl�m� de l'�l�vation des attaques

Friday, April 27, 2007

Cell phones found inside four prisoners

Cellular telephones were found inside four prisoners in El Salvador's maximum-security prison, authorities said Wednesday.

The discovery was made Tuesday at the prison in Zacatecoluca, in central El Salvador, after suspicious officials took X-rays of each of the inmates, federal corrections chief Jaime Villanova said.

The names of the prisoners, all members of the dangerous Mara Salvatrucha gang, were not released in order to avoid jeopardizing an ongoing investigation that began a month ago, he said.

Capt. Juan Ramon Arevalo, director of the prison known as Zacatras, said the gang members had introduced the cell phones, wrapped in plastic bags, into their bodies through their anuses. Authorities also found nine cell phone chips and one charger.

"Each one had a cellular with a number of chips," Arevalo said, adding that one also had hidden a charger in his anal cavity.

The inmates allegedly used cell phones to direct criminal activities on the street from inside the prison, Arevalo said. The smuggled phones were found during an investigation at prisons throughout the country amid complaints from business owners of extortion by gang members.

Prisoners change phone chips frequently to avoid being traced, Arevalo said.

The police have doubled their security levels to combat the criminals.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Finally, China Fines A Spammer

Wow, how's this for weird news? Chinese have fined a first spammer (a whooping $630) for sending out spam. I don' t believe it'll stop the wave of Chinese spam, but at least it's a start.

(REUTERS) A Shenzhen company has been fined for sending bulk junk email in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in China where more than 50 billion spam messages are received a year, state media said on Tuesday.

China has a prospering cyber-world, hosting 111 million Internet users, 700,000 Web sites and fast-growing online business, but officials say 60 percent of the email Chinese people receive is spam, or electronic junk mail.

The company in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen was fined 5,000 yuan ($630) for sending a "vast amount" of junk mail since January, the China Daily said. It did not say what the emails contained.

"The fine will send a warning to spam senders," the newspaper quoted Zhang Aiping, vice-director of the Guangdong Provincial Administration of Communication, as saying.

Companies or individuals making money illegally by sending junk email could be fined up to 30,000 yuan, the China Daily said.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Online viewers shun lengthy videos

You won't find Vanita Butler sitting in front of her computer watching a full-length movie or television show, even though she's an avid viewer of video on the Internet.

The 43-year-old saleswoman from Newark, Ohio, said she sees the Internet as more of a tool — for catching a news story or highlights from a NASCAR race. When she has time for entertainment, she and her husband prefer the television set.

"It's a little bit more of an intimate environment," Butler said of watching television. "We can sit and do it together."

Butler is a typical consumer of video over the Internet, according to a new AP-AOL Video poll, which found that only one in five online video viewers have watched or downloaded a full-length movie or television show.

Overall, more than half of Internet users have watched or downloaded video. News clips were the most popular, seen by 72 percent of online video viewers, followed by short movie and TV clips, music videos, sports highlights and user-generated amateur videos.

Cheryl Landers, 50, a retail manager in Dedham, Mass., said she finds amateur clips funny and entertaining, but with two foster kids, she can never spare more than five minutes at a time, let alone a whole hour to watch an entire television episode. She said she usually has the TV on as background noise.

The poll's findings come as major Hollywood studios and television networks are increasingly making their old and current programs available online — free with commercials, or for $1.99 an episode through services like Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store and Google Inc.'s video store. AOL announced deals with four studios last month to offer programs through its new video portal.

"Rome wasn't built in a day," said Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which is selling programs and giving away ad-supported shows through AOL. "A lot of progress has been made in terms of the quality of video and audio on the Web. It's not the same as broadcast or DVD, but it's improving."

Kevin Conroy, executive vice president for AOL, said its users have been watching longer and longer clips as more programs become available — starting with music videos, moving to television and now adding movies. Viewership should improve, he said, as more portable gadgets and other devices support Internet video.

For now, full-length programs are good for frequent travelers who like to watch movies on laptops and for television fans who might have missed an episode of a serial drama like "Lost," said Rob Enderle, an industry analyst with the Enderle Group. Few PCs these days are hooked up to television sets, he said, making longer programs less of a draw.

Enderle and other analysts consider online video key to AOL's ability to increase traffic to ad-supported sites and offset declines in revenues expected as the company drops subscription fees for millions of high-speed customers. Last month, AOL launched a video portal it envisions as a television guide for video clips from around the Internet, including those at rival sites.

The Associated Press also has its sights on video. In March, the news cooperative launched a service with Microsoft Corp. allowing AP member Web sites to offer free video news clips and share in ad revenue. The AP Online Video Network uses Microsoft's MSN Video technology.

The major networks have free and premium subscription offerings on their sites, while ABC and NBC are also selling news clips through iTunes.

The new survey found that relatively few — 7 percent of video users — have paid to watch any video online. Nearly three-quarters of online video users prefer free videos with ads.

"I'm pretty much against paying for stuff on the Internet," said P.J. Park, 25, of Mount Rainier, Md.

Men and younger people were more likely to have watched online video, although one in five Internet users 65 and older and nearly half of all online women have. Joyce Wade, 66, of Dover, Del., said she likes the fact that she can watch news clips from the British Broadcasting Corp. and avoid watching "the same thing over and over again" on TV.

Troy Richards, a businessman from Scottsdale, Ariz., likes the control the Internet offers.

"I don't like to watch the news because it's depressing, so I just go on the computer and pick the stories I want to see," Richards said.

He also likes to watch Arizona Diamondbacks games online when he is at his summer home in San Diego.

"The quality is not nearly as good, but it gets the job done," he said.

Among other findings:

• Users of online video are drawn to its convenience and accessibility, but the bulk of them say their television viewing habits remain unchanged.

• One-third of video viewers — higher among high-speed Internet users — say they watch more video on the Internet now than a year ago.

• Urbanites and suburbanites — who have high-speed connections at home in greater numbers than rural residents — are more likely to have watched video online.

• Forty-six percent of video watchers with high-speed service view video at least once a week, compared with 22 percent of dial-up users. Dial-up users also were more likely to complain about download times.

The AP-AOL Video poll of 3,003 adults, including 1,347 online video watchers, was taken by telephone July 27-Aug. 9. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points for all adults and of 3 percentage points for online video watchers.

Associated Press Writer Will Lester, AP Manager of News Surveys Trevor Tompson and News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius in Washington contributed to this report.

Lieu de travail roman

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Man Faces Child Porn Charges After Altering Adult Pictures

A COMPUTER expert could make legal history when he challenges child pornography charges in court.

Lawyers acting for Sven Tudor-Miles will try next month to have the allegations of making indecent images of children thrown out - because the pictures are of adults.

Mr Tudor-Miles accepts that he created the images by scanning pornographic photographs into his computer and digitally manipulating them.

The 38-year-old, from Teesside, used his technical know-how to reduce the breast sizes and alter the genitalia of the women.

He covered the modesty of some by adding school uniforms.

His barrister David Lamb describes the case as "strange" and will argue at Teesside Crown Court next month that Mr Tudor-Miles has not committed a criminal offence.

Details of the case emerged on Friday when a date was set for legal arguments between Mr Lamb and the Crown Prosecution Service in front of a senior judge. The judge must decide whether Mr TudorMiles, of Bankfields Road, Eston, near Middlesbrough, has broken the law and if the prosecution can continue.

On Friday, the judge, Recorder Jeremy Richardson, said the issue should be considered by a more senior judge, but indicated that he thought the images would be classed as illegal.

He said: "My instinct is that it is a criminal offence but that's without having the benefit of the argument on the point.

"I think this is exactly the sort of mischief Parliament intended when they brought in legislation for pseudoimages."

At an earlier hearing, a different judge cast doubt on whether Mr Tudor-Miles had committed an offence and used the analogy of a "Tarts and Vicars" party.

He said a photograph of women dressed as schoolgirls at such an event could not be considered child pornography.

Mr Recorder Richardson said: "He has - by his skill on a computer - made more mature women look to be under the age of 18."

But Mr Lamb said: "At no stage does the image become that of a child - the face remains the same.

"He scanned the images of the females into his computer and then reduced the size of their breasts and altered their genitalia, and on some hand-drew a white blouse and stripey tie, and on another one, a short grey school skirt."

It is believed the Crown Prosecution Service will take the case - thought to be the only recorded one of its kind - to the Court of Appeal if Mr Tudor-Miles is successful in his bid to have the charges dismissed.

(c) 2006 Northern Echo. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

Tests For Drugs