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NewsBits for July 8, 2004

DrinkorDie suspect back in Oz jail
The alleged ringleader of a gang of Internet copyright
pirates was back in jail last night after US authorities
won the latest round in their battle to extradite him
from Australia on multi-million dollar software piracy
charges. Hew Raymond Griffiths, 41, of Bateau Bay, New
South Wales, returned to Silverwater jail after judge
Peter Jacobson ruled magistrate Daniel Reiss was wrong
to release him on bail in March. He said that Reiss's
reasoning was incorrect in concluding that no extraditable
offence had been committed. The judgment is a setback
for defence efforts to have Griffiths tried in Australia,
but it does not mark a definitive ruling.
- - - - - - - - - -
Five Guilty of Computer Sales to Terror Nations
A federal jury in Dallas convicted five brothers
of illegally selling computers to countries that
supported terrorism. The men, who ran a computer
company called InfoCom Corp., were convicted of
conspiracy to violate export regulations and
sanctions against Libya and making false statements
on export shipping documents. Defense lawyers said
the brothers — Ghassan, Basman, Bayan, Hazim and
Ihsan Elashi — were unfairly targeted for prosecution
because of their Middle Eastern background.
(LA Times article, free registration required)
- - - - - - - - - -
Police keelhaul world's thickest DVD pirate
An Essex man has secured the title of the world's
thickest DVD pirate after walking into a Chelmsford
Trading Standards office and offering his illicit
wares to the gobsmacked staff. The master criminal
apparently didn't notice the sign above the door
before making his pitch. Trading Standards' officers
very naturally expressed a keen interest in the
bootlegged movies, at which point the man belatedly
realised his error and legged it. He did, however,
leave a memento of his visit - his stash of films
and £210 in cash.
- - - - - - - - - -
Child porn collector gets two-year suspended sentence
An Englishman caught at his home in Cork with thousands
of pornographic images of children was given a two-year
suspended jail sentence today after it was claimed that
he had undergone psychiatric counselling and was no
longer a risk to others in the community. Mr Ashman
admitted last June the offence of knowingly having in
his possession on November 19, 2001, child pornography,
namely a Gateway computer containing naked images of
female children.
- - - - - - - - - -
Ex-treasurer of firefighters group sentenced on child porn charge
A West Covina firefighter was sentenced Tuesday for
stealing money from a firefighters' group to pay for
visits to online child pornography sites. As part of
a negotiated agreement, Michael Brawn was sentenced
to three years of probation and also was ordered by
Superior Court Judge Mark Grant Nelson to register
as a sex offender.
- - - - - - - - - -
NBI cracks down on hi-tech child porn
The National Bureau of Investigation last Saturday
arrested suspected members of a child pornography
ring operating in Laguna, GMA Network's "24 Oras"
newscast reported Monday. The suspects were said
to be pimping dozens of children, aged 5 to 16,
to foreigners by posting nude pictures on several
websites. An operation was set up in Calamba,
Laguna in which members of the NBI posed as
customers. Some of the suspects brought about 22
boys and girls as"samples," the newscast reported.
- - - - - - - - - -
A POLICE chief is being investigated on suspicion of
accessing child pornography on the internet. Officers
raided the home of British Transport Police Chief Supt
David Bruce, 43, and seized his computer. He is the
highest-ranking policeman to be quizzed in the anti-
paedophile Operation Ore. Married Mr Bruce, from Milton
Keynes, Bucks, had been promoted a week before the raid
and was tipped to become a future Chief Constable. Last
night British Transport Police said: "Chief Supt Bruce
was suspended from duty on Tuesday, June 22, pending
an investigation by Thames Valley police."
- - - - - - - - - -
Conway newspaper editor faces child porn charges
A local newspaper editor, arraigned yesterday on charges
relating to child pornography and using a computer to
transmit the images, could face additional charges as
the investigation into the case continues. Guy Priel,
38, of Puddin Pond Drive, is the community editor for
the Conway Daily Sun. He was arrested last Friday,
following an investigation that began in May when Priel
allegedly exchanged e-mails with someone court papers
described as "a teenage male whose sexual preference"
is boys.
- - - - - - - - - -
Ex-assistant principal faces child-porn charges
A former Lufkin High School assistant principal has been
charged with possessing child pornography. Charles Dexter
Lewis, 35, was free today on $20,000 bail. He resigned
after being accused of sending nude pictures of himself
to a 16-year-old female student. Lewis was initially
charged with a misdemeanor of displaying harmful material
to a minor. But police told The Lufkin Daily News for
today's editions that a search of Lewis' home computers
found several photos and videos of children engaged
in sexual activity.
- - - - - - - - - -
Former foster parent charged in child porn case
A former foster parent from Blue Hill, Jeffery D. Myers,
has been charged with manufacturing and possessing child
pornography and sexual assault of a child. Attorney
General Jon Bruning announced the charges - all felonies
- Wednesday morning. "He's a child pornographer. He took
these kids and he asked them to make movies," Bruning
said, holding up a computer disk. "There are hundreds of
pictures here that would make you sick to your stomach."
- - - - - - - - - -
Lawsuit challenges Florida ballot-recount rules
Voter rights groups sued Florida election administrators
yesterday to overturn a rule that prohibits the manual
recounting of ballots cast with touch-screen machines,
a lawsuit with echoes of the state's disputed 2000
presidential election voting.
- - - - - - - - - -
LA plans cybercafe teen curfew
Los Angeles is to impose a curfew on kids into
cybercafes because the venues have become a popular
hangout for truants and the focus of serious youth
violence in the city. Cybercafes (or PC baangs)
with more than five machines will need a police
license must install video cameras for security
under regulations put forward in Los Angeles City
Council yesterday. Children under 18 will be banned
from cafes on school days between 08.30am and
13.30pm and after 2200pm Cyber cafe customers will
be required to provide identification on request.
- - - - - - - - - -
Feds drag feet on cybersecurity, officials say
Business and government representatives teamed up
in March to recommend steps to reduce the nation's
vulnerability to cyberattacks. But they say they
have yet to receive a response from the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security, and wonder what
is causing the delay. "There has been a 'pregnant
pause' waiting for a response," says Rick White,
CEO of TechNet, a technology industry trade group
and co-sponsor of a December 2003 summit to develop
an action plan.
- - - - - - - - - -
Security hole found in Mozilla browser
update Developers at the open-source Mozilla
Foundation have confirmed that the latest version
of their Web browsers have a security flaw that
could allows attackers to run existing programs
on the Windows XP operating system. The flaw,
known as the "shell" exploit, was publicized
Wednesday on a security mailing list, along with
a link to a fix for the problem. Updated versions
of the affected software programs, which include
the Mozilla, Firefox and Thunderbird browsers,
have been released.
- - - - - - - - - -
Sexual abuse online
According to Washington ProFile, every fifth under
age user of the Internet runs the risk of online
sexual abuse. These statistics are given in the
report of the National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children. Sexual molestation is a proposal
to enter into sexual activity or provide sexual
information (images, video). The authors of the
survey did not register any case when Internet
molestation led to real sexual contact or violation.
- - - - - - - - - -
Fast backs Whitehall copyright clampdown
Federation Against Software Theft welcomes DTI
intellectual property crime strategy. The Federation
Against Software Theft (Fast) has welcomed government
moves to clamp down on copyright piracy. The Department
of Trade and Industry (DTI) has established the Creative
Industries IPR Forum to provide a national strategy
for dealing with intellectual property (IP) crime.
- - - - - - - - - -
Government keeps mum on IT project monitoring
The government has rejected calls for the Gateway
IT project monitoring reports to be published.
Treasury financial secretary Ruth Kelly told MPs
that the confidentiality of the Gateway process,
run by Whitehall buying agency the Office of
Government Commerce (OGC), is key to its success.
- - - - - - - - - -
Cybsecurity research underfunded, executives say
The National Science Foundation can only fund a
subset of the research proposals it receives on
ways to better IT system security, an NSF official
said at a House technology subcommittee hearing.
"There are good ideas in the cybersecurity area
that we're simply not able to fund," Peter Freeman,
assistant director of NSF's computer and information
science and engineering directorate, said at
yesterday's hearing.
- - - - - - - - - -
Stolen a film? MPAA wants to know
One in four people online has illegally downloaded
a feature film--and it's cutting into box-office and
DVD sales, the Motion Picture Association of America
said in a study released Thursday. A survey of 3,600
Internet users in eight countries showed that as many
as 50 percent had downloaded copyrighted content in
the last year. Of those people who have downloaded
films, 17 percent said they are going to the movies
less often, and 26 percent said they bought fewer
DVDs, according to online researcher OTX, which
conducted the study in partnership with the MPAA.
- - - - - - - - - -
Postini: Half of all e-mail requests rejected
Antispam company Postini Inc. is now rejecting
more than half of all attempts to send e-mail
to its customers, in part because of increased
activity from compromised home computers that
have been turned into "zombies" for sending
unsolicited commercial e-mail. The company
is dropping 53% of all e-mail connections that
use the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
without reading the content of the e-mail
- - - - - - - - - -
Web app vulnerabilities on the rise
Nine out of 10 web applications remain vulnerable
to attack even after developers think they have
been 'fixed', security experts have claimed.
A study by security firm Imperva on the vulnerability
of public and private web applications found that,
despite periodic penetration testing and subsequent
fixes, flaws reappeared over time.
- - - - - - - - - -
Analyst: UN Needs Warriors in Spam Battle
An international effort can wipe out spam by 2006,
says an agency of the United Nations, the International
Telecommunications Union. The group is sponsoring
an ongoing anti-spam conference in Geneva that has
drawn representatives of more than 60 countries
and global organizations.
- - - - - - - - - -
Intel to add NX security to Pentium 4 in Q4
Intel will add support for Microsoft's No Execute (NX)
security technology to its P4 CPUs in Q4, reports suggest.
Taiwanese motherboard maker sources cited by DigiTimes
claim the chip giant will introduce support for NX from
the end of Q3. A BIOS update will be all that's required
to enable support at the mobo level, they add.
- - - - - - - - - -
Fujitsu technique hides data in images
Fujitsu has developed a method of embedding data
invisibly within printed pictures. The procedure,
commonly known as steganography, will allow
numerical information to be hidden within a color
image and accessed via a camera. Steganograghy
involves altering an image in a way that cannot
be perceived by the human eye, but which can
be detected electronically. Fujitsu's technique
can apparently hide a 12-digit number in a
1-centimeter square.
- - - - - - - - - -
Investigating digital images
What's real and what's phony? "Seeing is no longer
believing. Actually, what you see is largely irrelevant,"
says Dartmouth Professor Hany Farid. He is referring
to the digital images that appear everywhere: in
newspapers, on Web sites, in advertising, and in
business materials, for example. Farid and Dartmouth
graduate student Alin Popescu have developed a
mathematical technique to tell the difference between
a "real" image and one that's been fiddled with.
- - - - - - - - - -
Spam can hurt in more ways than one
Small businesses that depend heavily on the Web and
e-mail to market products are increasingly caught in
a spam squeeze. Hackers and spammers hijack their PCs
­ and then Internet providers wrongly shut down the
victims' e-mail.
- - - - - - - - - -
E-voting security: getting it right
As we noted in our previous story - E-voting security:
looking good on paper? - the much-celebrated voter
verifiable paper trail is useless as a security measure
for Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) election systems,
and actually introduces far more problems than it solves.

Wash. state announces safeguards for electronic voting
- - - - - - - - - -
Security spending rises, as do risks
IT security spending across the world is rising, but
so are virus and malicious code attacks. The findings
from the Global Information Security Survey, conducted
by vnunet.com's sister magazine Computing and its
international sister publications, shows businesses
are not following best practice security advice,
but are increasing security budgets to cope with
growing threats.
- - - - - - - - - -
Service Pack Deux?
Microsoft should make SP2 available to all users
and backport the changes to older operating systems,
or they risk putting profits ahead of security yet
again. As some of you may have guessed by now, one
of my side interests when I'm not sitting in front
of a computer is the study of history.
- - - - - - - - - -
Reducing the risk from P2P downloads
Each week vnunet.com asks a different expert
to give their views on recent virus and security
issues, with advice, warnings and information on
the latest threats. This week Frank Coggrave, UK
regional director of Websense, examines the legal
implications for businesses and IT directors of
employee use of P2P networks.
- - - - - - - - - -
Terrorists rely on tech tools, researcher finds
The Internet has become the new Afghanistan for
terrorist training, recruitment, and fundraising,
an academic said. Terrorist groups are exploiting
the accessibility, vast audience, and anonymity
of the Internet to raise money and recruit new
members, said Gabriel Weimann, chairman of the
communications department at the University of
Haifa in Israel. The number of terrorists' Web
sites has increased by 571% in the past seven
years, Weimann says.
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