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QuickLinks - Computer crime
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Issue no. 409 - 6 June 2010
EU - Workshop on Fight against Cybercrime, Cairo
Cairo, Egypt, 30 - 31 March 2010. Agenda and presentations online.
RIPE: Strafverfolger werben für Zusammenarbeit mit Providern
Europäische Strafverfolgungsbehörden haben auf dem 60. Meeting des Réseaux IP Européens (RIPE) in Prag für eine "vertrauensvolle Zusammenarbeit" (Powerpoint-Datei) mit den Providern geworben. Dabei geht es ihnen insbesondere um den Widerruf von IP-Adresszuteilungen und möglichen Änderungen in der RIPE-Vertragspolitik, die solche Rückrufe erleichtern. "Es gibt so viel Anonymität im Internet, und sie macht Kriminellen das Leben leicht", sagte Wout de Natris, Vertreter der niederländischen Regulierungsbehörde OPTA, der den RIPE-Mitgliedern die freundlichen Wünsche des London Action Plan übermittelte. Vorangegangen war ein Treffen von 80 Strafverfolgungsexperten und den Vertretern "fast aller" regionalen Internet Registries.
Issue no. 404 - 21 December 2009
The dark side of the internet
In the 'deep web', Freenet software allows users complete anonymity as they share viruses, criminal contacts and child pornography.
UK - Fake websites shut down by police
More than 1,200 websites that claim to sell cut-price designer goods have been shut down in the biggest police operation of its kind in the UK. The 1,219 sites, which advertise brands including Ugg boots, Tiffany jewellery and Links of London, were removed by the Metropolitan Police. Customers who buy from the sites either receive nothing, counterfeit goods, or have their credit card details stolen.
Issue no. 403 - 24 November 2009
DE - Hacker arrested for blackmailing StudiVZ social networks
Berlin police have arrested a man who tried to blackmail VZ-Netzwerke, the holding company for the successful Facebook clone StudiVZ and other German social networks. The man had used crawler software to harvest detailed user information not only only from the group's networks for adult people, StudiVZ and MeinVZ, but also from Germany's biggest social network for pupils, SchülerVZ. The 20 year old man asked for €80,000.
UK police smooth over rift with Internet registry
(IDG News Service)
U.K. police have apologized over a recent public presentation that linked a nonprofit Internet registry with money laundering by a notorious group of Russian cybercriminal gangsters. The brouhaha started during a presentation by the U.K.'s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cyber Division, at the RSA security conference on Oct. 21. The cybercriminal investigators were describing the Russian Business Network (RBN), a well-known group linked to malicious software, hacking, child pornography and spam. In 2006, RIPE allocated a block of IP addresses to a fake company registered in the U.K. that was a front for the RBN. RIPE contends it was duped and that at the time, it was impossible to tell that the front company wasn't legitimate. After repeated contact with law enforcement, RIPE eventually pulled RBN's IP allocation in May 2008.
Issue no. 402 - 18 October 2009
Gadget Makers Can Find Thief, but Don't Ask
(New York Times)
Gadget makers often know exactly who has a missing or stolen device, because in many instances it has been registered to a new user. But many tech companies will not disclose information about the new owners of missing devices unless a police officer calls with a search warrant. Even a request to simply shut down service - which would deter thieves by rendering their pilfered gadget useless - is typically refused.
Issue no. 400 - 5 July 2009
EU - Commission outlines vision for freedom, security and justice
The European Commission has adopted two communications analysing the EU's work on justice and internal affairs in recent years and setting out its priorities for the future. Ordinary citizens should be at the heart of the future Stockholm Programme, to be debated by the European Parliament and adopted by the European Council before the end of the year, which will provide a framework for EU action on the questions of citizenship, justice, security, asylum and immigration for the next five years.
Issue no. 399 - 7 June 2009
ITU - Toolkit for Cybercrime Legislation
ITU Toolkit for Cybercrime Legislation
aims to provide countries with sample legislative language and reference material that can assist in the establishment of harmonized cybercrime laws and procedural rules. The Toolkit is a practical instrument that countries can use for the elaboration of a cybersecurity legal framework and related laws. The development of the ITU Toolkit for Cybercrime Legislation was undertaken by a multidisciplinary international group of experts.
ITU - Understanding Cybercrime: A Guide for Developing Countries
The ITU Understanding Cybercrime Guide aims to help developing countries better understand the national and international implications of growing cyber-threats, assess the requirements of existing national regional and international instruments, and assist countries in establishing a sound legal foundation. The Guide provides a comprehensive overview of the most relevant topics linked to the legal aspects of cybercrime.
US - Federal Trade Commission shuts down rogue ISP
The Federal Trade Commission
that it had Pricewert shut down by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division. Pricewert is a San Jose, Calif.-based Internet service provider that allegedly recruits, intentionally and actively participates in the distribution of spam, child pornography, and other harmful electronic content.
Issue no. 398 - 13 April 2009
CoE - Countries Move Forward on Cybercrime Treaty
(IDG News Service)
Countries are ratifying the only global cybercrime treaty slower than expected, but many are closer to implementing it, a senior Council of Europe official said. The Convention on Cybercrime, adopted in 2001, defines legal guidelines for countries seeking to establish effective laws against computer crime. The Council of Europe (COE), an organization composed of 47 European countries, has spearheaded a drive to help countries either create computer crime laws or bring existing ones in line with the treaty. So far 24 countries have ratified it, with Germany being the latest one. Twenty-three others have signed it but not ratified it. The COE was hoping that as many as 40 countries would have ratified it by the year, but the pace has been slower than expected, said Alexander Seger, head of the COE's economic crime division.
German police searches homes of wikileaks.de domain owner
The German Police searched the homes of Theodor Reppe, the owner of the domain name wikileaks.de, alleging he was under investigation for "distribution of pornographic material" and "discovery of evidence". The police officers claimed the raid was initiated due to Mr. Reppe';s position as the Wikileaks.de domain owner. The search is considered to be related with the publication of Wikileaks of the censorship lists for Australia, Thailand, Denmark and other countries. The lists include names of sites alleged to contain pornography, including child pornography. However, Wikileaks has not published any images from the sites.
UK - BBC programme broke law with botnets, says lawyer
A BBC programme has broken the Computer Misuse Act by acquiring and using software to control 22,000 computers, creating a botnet capable of bringing down websites. A technology law specialist has said that the activity is illegal. Click used the software to demonstrate how easy it is to gain control of the tools used to hold website owners to ransom. It used software acquired through internet chatrooms. The software controlled 22,000 computers which it had infected. The programme has said that the activity would only be illegal if those behind it had 'criminal intent', but Struan Robertson, a technology lawyer with Pinsent Masons and editor of OUT-LAW.COM, said that this is not true.
Issue no. 397 - 8 March 2009
FR - « Cyberdouane » pour lutter contre la cyberdélinquance
Éric Woerth s´est rendu au siège de la Direction nationale du renseignement et des enquêtes douanières (DNRED) pour inaugurer « Cyberdouane ». Ce nouveau service a pour mission de recueillir, enrichir et exploiter les renseignements permettant de lutter efficacement contre les fraudes sur Internet (importations de produits stupéfiants, médicaments, contrefaçons, armes et munitions, uvres d´art et toute autre marchandise objet de trafics ou de transactions illicites).
Issue no. 394 - 7 December 2008
EU - Fight against cyber crime: cyber patrols and Internet investigation teams
The Council of Ministers of the European Union has adopted the European Commission's strategy to reinforce the fight against cyber crime. The strategy proposes a series of operational measures, such as cyber patrols, joint investigation teams and remote searches to become part of the fight against cybercrime in the next five years. The strategy also introduces concrete steps for closer cooperation and information exchange between law enforcement authorities and the private sector. See Draft
Council Conclusions on a Concerted Work Strategy and Practical Measures Against Cybercrime
Issue no. 393 - 9 November 2008
Fraudsters' website shut in swoop
A website used by criminals to buy and sell credit card details and bank log-ins has been shut down after a police operation. International forum Darkmarket ran for three years and led to fraud totalling millions of pounds. Nearly 60 people connected with the site have been arrested in cities including London and Manchester as well as in Germany, Turkey and the US. The FBI spent two years gathering evidence after infiltrating the site. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which has been leading the UK investigation, said it was "a one-stop shop" for criminals.
Issue no. 392 - 5 October 2008
EU - European Commission promotes public-private cooperation against cybercrime
The European Commission organised an EU expert meeting on the fight against cybercrime in Brussels on 25-26 September 2008. This meeting represented another step in the implementation of the Commission Communication of 22 May 2007 "Towards a general policy on the fight against cyber crime". The aim was to engage key law enforcement and private sector to identify concrete actions which can be undertaken at EU and national levels. The highlight of the conference was a presentation by the Commission of a series of recommendations guiding public-private cooperation against cybercrime.
UK - Government to ban suicide-promoting websites
The Government will change the law to make it clear that promoting suicide on the internet is illegal. The Ministry of Justice said that it will rewrite the Suicide Act of 1961 which will make it easier for website hosts to remove offending material. The Government has conducted a review of the Suicide Act and said that it wants to make it clear that activity which is illegal offline is also illegal online. The Act currently says that it is an offence to "aid, abet, counsel or procure" a suicide, though courts have ruled in the past that the simple provision of information about committing suicide would not open a publisher to prosecution. Concerns have been widely expressed about the use of the internet to disseminate information on how to commit suicide and even to encourage people to do it.
Issue no. 391 - 31 August 2008
EU - Cybercriminalité
(Communiqué de presse)
2887ème session du Conseil Justice et affaires intérieures Bruxelles, les 24 et 25 juillet 2008. Le Conseil a accueilli favorablement un projet de la Présidence pour l'élaboration d'un plan contre la cybercriminalité au sein de l'UE. A titre d'outils opérationnels la Présidence propose notamment : 1) la création d'une plateforme européenne pour le signalement des infractions relevées sur l'internet. La France a organisé un séminaire Pl@nets.eur à Reims du 3 au 6 juin 2008 à ce sujet qui a permis de tracer les contours de ce dispositif. Europol pourrait jouer un rôle central dans la mise en oeuvre d'un tel projet ; et 2) le renforcement du projet "Check the web" pour la lutte contre la propagande et le recrutement terroriste sur l'internet et la recherche d'une solution au problème posé par l'itinérance dans les réseaux électroniques ("roaming").
Issue no. 389 - 22 June 2008
UK - Flirty texting could land Scots in jail for 10 years
Scots face up to 10 years in jail for sending text messages or emails with sexual content. Scotland's just-published Sexual Offences Bill contains stiff penalties for any sexual messages whose intent is to humiliate the recipient. The Bill creates a new offence of communicating indecently. The offence will be committed if someone sends an unsolicited text message to someone else which a court finds was designed to give the sender sexual gratification or to humiliate, distress or alarm the receiver.
Issue no. 387 - 12 May 2008
UK - Possession of sexually violent images made a criminal offence
Possession of sexually violent images will now be punishable by up to three years in jail. The ban is part of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. The bill had its final reading on Thursday where it received Royal Assent.
Issue no. 386 - 20 April 2008
CoE - Tackling cybercrime: guidance on sharing Internet data
The Council of Europe settled on voluntary guidelines to strengthen cooperation between the police and Internet service companies. The guidelines - adopted at a special conference in Strasbourg of more than 200 people representing law enforcement agencies, trade groups for Internet service providers and companies ranging from Microsoft to eBay - are also a practical attempt to smooth uneasy confrontations that service providers complain are common when investigators seek information. See
Octopus Interface 2008
Cooperation against Cybercrime, Tuesday 1 - Wednesday 2 April 2008, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France. The conference adopted a set of
guidelines for service provider - law-enforcement cooperation
Issue no. 385 - 21 March 2008
FR - French Police extends the Internet blacklist
French Internal Affairs Minister,Michèle Alliot-Marie, announced new measures to fight against cybercrime, including extending the websites blacklist and pushing for computer online investigations, without the permission of the country of the hosting company. The Minister visited the Cybercrime Brigade and announced a new "best practices chart" with the operators in order to block websites. According to the statements, the Norwegian model was taken into consideration, meaning the creation of a list with websites not only with child pornography information, but also the ones with information on making explosives or chemical weapons, terrorist propaganda and racial hate speech.
Issue no. 384 - 24 February 2008
US - Study Debunks 'Internet Predator' Stereotypes
Contrary to popular belief, Internet sex predators target teenagers and not young kids, cites a new study. Also, a majority of Internet sex predators are not adults who pose as another youth to victimize children by enticing them to meet then abducting or forcibly raping them. Only 5 percent of online offenders pretended to be teenagers. The study, which was based on three surveys, revealed that Internet sex offenders rarely use force but instead gain the trust and confidence of their victims before seducing them into sexual relationships. The victims of these predators are mostly teenagers who mistake the attention for love. According to the researchers, young people who were most vulnerable to online sex offenders had histories of sexual or physical abuse, family problems, and are adventurous on the Internet or have most likely talked online about sex. The study, 'Online Predators and Their Victims: Myths, Realities, and Implications for Prevention and Treatment' was conducted by Janis Wolak, JD, David Finkelhor, PhD, Kimberly Mitchell, PhD and Michele Ybarra, PhD, at the Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire and published in the American Psychologist.
Issue no. 382 - 6 January 2008
Boom times for hi-tech criminals
Starting a career as a cyber criminal got much easier in 2007. So say security experts looking back on 12 months in which hi-tech gangs took control of the net's underground. The economy supporting these groups has matured so much that now everything from virus-writing kits to spam-spewing zombies are available for rent or hire.
Issue no. 381 - 8 December 2007
EU - Member States implement EU legislation to combat the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography
The European Commission has approved the report on the implementation by Member States of the Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA of 22 December 2003 on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. This report finds that most Member States have criminalised sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and child pornography on the Internet, But Member States can still do more. See also
REPORT from the Commission on the implementation of the COUNCIL FRAMEWORK DECISION on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography
Hackers hijack web search results
A huge campaign to poison web searches and trick people into visiting malicious websites has been thwarted. The booby-trapped websites came up in search results for search terms such as "Christmas gifts" and "hospice". Windows users falling for the trick risked having their machine hijacked and personal information plundered. The criminals poisoned search results using thousands of domains set up to convince search index software they were serious sources of information.
Interpol in rare sex abuse appeal
Interpol has launched an unprecedented global public appeal to help identify a man shown sexually abusing children in photographs posted on the internet. The man appears in about 200 images depicting the abuse of 12 boys, which police said were taken in Vietnam and Cambodia, possibly in 2002 and 2003. The pictures had been digitally altered but police computer specialists have produced identifiable images. Interpol says the man is a danger to children while he remains at large. See also
Thai police name suspected web paedophile
(Guardian ) and
Thais arrest paedophile suspect
Latin America: New 'Cyber Paradise' for Paedophiles and Racists?
The crackdown in eastern Europe and the United States on websites posting racist content or child pornography could expose Latin America to the risk of becoming a new "cyber paradise" for on-line paedophilia and racism, experts say. The warning was sounded at the United Nations-sponsored Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro, which has been discussing issues like security, access and diversity on the net. Many of the websites bearing illegal and harmful content were hosted by the Czech Republic. But after the clampdown they migrated to countries like Panama, according to Thiago Tavares, head of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) SaferNet Brasil.
NZ - Arrests made in botnet crackdown
Police in New Zealand have questioned a teenager believed to be the ringleader of an international cyber-crime group. The group is alleged to have infiltrated more than one million computers and skimmed millions of dollars from people's bank accounts. The teenager, who is 18, cannot be named for legal reasons but was known by an alias as "Akill". He was detained as part of an FBI crackdown on hi-tech criminals who run botnets - networks of hijacked PCs.
Issue no. 380 - 30 September 2007
CZ - Czech Bill On Child Porn Faces Resistance
When Austrian authorities announced that they had uncovered an online child pornography ring, pedophiles around the world suddenly became potential targets of criminal investigations - but not the ring's 63 customers in the Czech Republic, where downloading and possessing such images is not a crime. Creating and selling child pornography is illegal in the Czech Republic. But the law does not extend to people who obtain it. Despite repeated calls for legislation in the nearly 20 years since communism's demise, this country of 10.2 million people remains the most prominent haven for consumers of child pornography in the 27-member European Union. Slovenia, a tiny Balkan nation of 2 million people, is the only other E.U. country not to have outlawed possession of the material, according to an
Interpol Web site
that summarizes national laws.
UK - Police break into peer-to-peer paedophile chat-room
Timothy Cox was a quiet, clean-cut 27-year-old who worked for his small family brewery in rural Suffolk. He was also 'the son of god' - the mastermind of a global paedophile ring.
US - Defense Lawyers Cringe at MediaDefender's Child-Porn Patrol Plans
New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is raising the eyebrows of defense attorneys over his recently exposed plans to pay the controversial anti-piracy firm MediaDefender to gather evidence for child-porn prosecutions.
US / UK - IWF intelligence leads to rescue and arrest
IWF intelligence lead to rescue of three prepubescent children being sexually abused and their abuser being sentenced to 60 years in prison. The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) provided intelligence to Cybertipline, its sister Hotline in the US, regarding a website which appeared to be hosted in the US and contained images of children being sexually abused.
Issue no. 379 - 2 September 2007
G-8 - Ministers' Declaration: Reinforcing the International Fight Against Child Pornography
(G-8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministers)
May 24th, 2007 Child pornography grievously harms all children: it harms the child who is sexually assaulted in the making of the image; the same child is re-victimized every time that image is viewed; and it harms all children because it portrays them as a class of objects for sexual exploitation. We categorically denounce those who sexually exploit children by producing images of their sexual abuse and by distributing or collecting such images. Because no child should be victimized in this horrific way, today we pledge to redouble our efforts to enforce the international fight against child pornography.
UK - Briton held over wireless broadband 'theft'
A 39-year-old Briton has been arrested on suspicion of using someone else's wireless Internet connection without permission, police said on Wednesday. Officers spotted the man using a laptop as he sat on a wall outside a house in Chiswick, West London. He told officers he had browsed the Internet via an unsecured broadband link from a nearby house, Scotland Yard said. He was arrested and later released on police bail to November 11 pending further inquiries. See also
Police: Wi-Fi arrest not part of a crackdown
UK - Government 'must act on e-crime'
The government must do more to protect internet users from the threat of e-crime, says a House of Lords report. The House of Lords
Science and Technology Committee
said the internet was now "the playground of criminals". The report criticised the government's current "Wild West" approach of leaving internet security up to the individual as "inefficient and unrealistic". See
Personal Internet Security
. Witnesses from the European Commission, including Commissioner Viviane Reding, gave evidence: see
Vol II - Evidence
Issue no. 378 - 5 August 2007
CoE- A new Council of Europe Convention to protect children against sexual exploitation and abuse
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, which represents a major advance in this field. This new Convention is the first instrument to establish the various forms of sexual abuse of children as criminal offences, including such abuse committed in the home or family, with the use of force, coercion or threats. In addition to the offences traditionally committed in this field - sexual abuse, child prostitution, child pornography, children's forced participation in pornographic performances - the text also addresses the issue of "grooming" of children for sexual purposes and "sex tourism". The Convention will be opened for signature at the Conference of European Ministers of Justice in Lanzarote on 25 and 26 October this year. See The full
text of the Convention
MySpace deletes 29,000 sex offenders
Popular Internet social network MySpace has detected and deleted 29,000 convicted sex offenders on its service, more than four times the figure it had initially reported. The company, owned by media conglomerate News Corp., said in May it had deleted about 7,000 user profiles that belonged to convicted offenders. MySpace attracts about 60 million unique visitors monthly in the United States.
US - Democrats to push new Net sex-predator laws
Expect a new push in Congress this fall for laws aimed at keeping sexual predators off the likes of MySpace.com and elevating fines on Internet service providers that don't report child pornography.
US - New Scrutiny for Facebook Over Predators
(New York Times)
Facebook, the online social network, has stolen some of MySpace's momentum with users and the news media. Now, it is being subjected to the same accusations that it does not do enough to keep sexual predators off its site. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut's attorney general, said that investigators in his state were looking into "three or more" cases of convicted sex offenders who had registered on Facebook and had "also found inappropriate images and content" on the service. The inquiry continues, he said, and state officials have contacted Facebook and asked it to remove the profiles.
Issue no. 377 - 5 July 2007
UK - New law will criminalise possession of extreme porn
The Government has published a new law which will criminalise extreme pornography. The possession of extreme pornography will be punishable by up to three years in jail. Material covered will include necrophilia, bestiality and violence that is life threatening or likely to result in serious injury to the anus, breasts or genitals. Such material has been illegal to publish until now under the Obscene Publications Act. The material has not been illegal to view or possess, though; the new law will make possession a crime. Images of child pornography are already illegal to view or to possess.
UK - The shambles over cybercrime
The National High Tech Crime Unit, set up in April 2001 in response to a perception that e-crime was on the rise, was absorbed a year ago into the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca). Soca took over this role because it was felt that financial e-crime was increasingly the preserve of organised crime, its principal area of responsibility. But the result, say people in both the banking and computer security industries, is a shambles.
Security and encryption