QuickLinks - Computer crime
QuickLinks - Computer crime
Issue no. 318 - 5 September 2004
- DE - Kampf gegen Kinderpornos wird verstärkt
Polizei und Internetprovider arbeiten künftig bei der Bekämpfung von Kinderpornografie im Internet stärker zusammen. Die neue Initiative will Tipps zum Schutz der Nutzer geben. Laut Bundeskriminalamt hat sich die Zahl der Fälle seit 1996 verfünffacht. Der Vorsitzende der polizeilichen Kriminalprävention von Bund und Ländern, Erwin Hetger, stellte in Stuttgart eine neue Aufklärungskampagne im Netz vor. Hinter der Initiative "Gegen Kinderpornografie" stehen nicht nur die Polizeien der Länder, sondern auch die Provider T-Online, Arcor und AOL sowie Newsseiten wie "Focus Online" und SPIEGEL ONLINE. Die beteiligten Internetprovider verpflichteten sich in einer Erklärung, Kinderpornos im Internet zu ächten und dessen Verbreiter konsequent zu verfolgen.
- Organized Crime Invades Cyberspace
Once the work of vandals, viruses and other malware are now being launched by criminals looking for profits. Antivirus researchers have uncovered a startling increase in organized virus- and worm-writing activity that they say is powering an underground economy specializing in identity theft and spam.
- PL - Polnische Polizei zerschlägt "Piraten-Netzwerk"
Die polnische Polizei hat die bisher größte Gruppe von Computer-Kriminellen im Land zerschlagen, die als "Piraten-Netzwerk" tätig war. Mehr als 100 Mitglieder drangen den Ermittlungen zufolge weltweit in Datennetze ein, berichtet heute die Zeitung Gazeta Wyborcza. Die Gruppe verschaffte sich illegalen Zugang zu Servern von Hochschulen, unter anderem in Deutschland, Nordamerika und Asien. An den Ermittlungen waren auch Beamte aus den USA, Großbritannien und der Slowakei beteiligt, heißt es in Medienberichten.
- U.S. cracks down on cybercrime
(New York Times)
The Justice Department has announced that more than 150 people have been arrested, charged or convicted in the past three months in a crackdown on criminal activity on the Internet. The cases, involving credit card fraud, corporate espionage and other offenses, are part of what the department called Operation Web Snare. The sweep was conducted by 37 offices of the FBI, 13 divisions of the Postal Inspection Service and other federal and local agencies. Investigators have identified more than 150,000 victims of Internet crime with losses totaling more than $215 million. Some cases involved the sending of junk e-mail, known as spam, and a form of online identity theft known as phishing. But many of them involved use of the Internet by companies seeking an advantage over competitors.
- US - Crackdown on illegal network
Federal agents have seized computers and software as part of an investigation targeting an Internet network used to illegally share copyrighted music, movies, software and games. The case marks the first federal criminal copyright action taken against a peer-to-peer, or P2P, network in which users can gain access to files directly from the hard drives of fellow users' computers.
Issue no. 317 - 22 August 2004
- DE - BKA: Kinderpornografie häufigste Straftat im Netz
Internet-Polizisten des BKA sind im vergangenen Jahr beim Surfen im weltweiten Netz auf rund 600 mögliche Straftaten gestoßen. Mehr als 60 Prozent der Delikte waren der Kinderpornografie zuzurechnen. Bundeskriminalamts-Präsident Jörg Ziercke stellte am Donnerstag in Wiesbaden klar, dass das Signal des BKA lauten müsse: Das Internet ist kein rechtsfreier Raum. Seit zwei Jahren unterhält das Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) ein Zentrum mit 60 Mitarbeitern, die sich ausschließlich mit
- IE - Interpol take on child porn database
An Irish database of child pornography, which helped catch scores of paedophiles around the world, has found its perfect home at Interpol. The hefty database was transferred a few months ago from its base in University College Cork to the international police organisation Interpol?s offices in France, where European and international police forces can access the acclaimed library. Interpol has taken over funding the Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe (COPINE) project. COPINE, headed by Professor Max Taylor, has catalogued hundreds of thousands of important images since it was first set-up in 1998 at UCC as an EU funded project.
- The Anti-Phishing Act of 2004: A Useful Tool Against Identity Theft
Phishing is a particularly pernicious type of Internet identity theft scam - one that involves fraudulently copying legitimate businesses' emails and websites in an attempt to extract information from the business's customers on false pretenses. U. Washington law professor Anita Ramasastry explores the current federal laws - and the proposed new federal law - that could be applied to address the phenomenon of "phishing.
Issue no. 316 - 1 August 2004
- China launches 'people's war' against porn on the Internet
China has launched a 'people's war' against pornography on the Internet, giving websites a deadline until September to rid themselves of indecent content. Officials have so far identified 500 websites across China that carry pornographic pictures and film clips. Zhou Yongkang, the minister of public security, has vowed to crack down on the activities and severely punish those found guilty of violating the law. President Hu Jintao has gone one step further, saying a 'people's war' must be waged against pornography on the Internet. It appears the Chinese have answered their president's call, filing a total of 22,000 complaints on a dedicated government website set up to make it easier for the public to report online wrongdoing.
- EU - Cross-border paedophile case boosts cooperation on criminal records
France, Spain and Germany have announced they will be linking up their criminal records' systems electronically from 2005 on. A joint statement issued by the three Member States called for this model to be used in setting up an EU-wide register "as soon as possible". The trio's initiative emerged as EU justice ministers were discussing ways to share information on criminals convicted of serious crimes, in response to judicial shortcomings underlined by a Franco-Belgian serial murder investigation.
- UK - AOL casts doubts on BT's child-porn protection
Around 230,000 attempts to reach paedophilic Web content have been blocked by BT's Cleanfeed, but AOL says this content blocker may not be the answer.
- UK - cybercops catch suspected Russian blackmailers
Britain's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) has helped to smash a Russian gang involved in online extortion. Three men were arrested in a series of raids that targeted an online protection racket that threatened to crash online sport bookies' Web sites unless the gang was paid off. More arrests are expected to follow. Three men were arrested in a series of raids that targeted an online protection racket that threatened to crash Web sites unless the gang was paid off. More arrests are expected to follow.
- UK - Extent of child net porn revealed
BT says it is blocking more than 10,000 attempts each day to access child porn. Its figures provide the first firm evidence of the extent of web paedophilia and BT is targeting the porn with its Clean Feed system. The Internet Watch Foundation called the figures 'staggering' and said children were being abused in order to supply the hardcore images. Police officials said the extent of the online porn problem was 'extremely disturbing'.
- UK - Fake websites entice paedophiles
Police have set up fake websites to catch people accessing child porn, the National Crime Squad (NCS) has said. A web sting has been set up by the NCS, who worked with the FBI, Interpol, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Australian HI-Tech Crime Centre. The online operation, known as Operation Pin, targets offenders by setting up fake websites that collect details of people wanting to look at child porn. Law enforcement agencies have worked with search engine operators to ensure that the fake sites appear when a person looks for certain keywords. The aim is to prevent people joining the more clandestine community of experienced paedophiles. As yet it is unclear how many offenders have been caught as a result of this approach.
- UK - Talks Aim to Tackle Internet Child Porn
Tony Blair announced a Government-backed summit into ways to stop paedophiles accessing child porn on the internet. The Prime Minister invited internet firms to the talks in September in a new bid to block online viewing of youngsters being abused. He also welcomed a BT initiative which used new technology to block access to child porn, but revealed the scale of the problem with 200,000 attempts to view hardcore websites in just three weeks. Mr Blair urged other firms to follow BT's lead.
- Ukraine - Police Shut Model Agency in Porn Crackdown
Ukrainian police shut a modeling agency which photographed underage girls and sold images over the Internet in North America as part of their biggest crackdown on child pornography. Police are questioning about 15 people about the agency, which operated for three years across the country.
Issue no. 315 - 18 July 2004
- UK - Community sentence for former judge who downloaded child porn
A former crown court judge, found to have 75 pornographic images of boys on his laptop computer, was yesterday sentenced to a 12-month community rehabilitation order.
- UK - Oxford hackers face punishment
Two students from Oxford University are facing disciplinary action after hacking into the university's computer. They could be fined £500 or be suspended after infiltrating the system and publishing their story in a student newspaper.
- UK - Tories urge action on net paedos
Constant vigilance is needed to tackle paedophiles who ruin young lives with their activities on the internet, Tory leader Michael Howard said. The Tory leader invited police and experts on the internet to his party's London HQ to discuss ways of tackling the web's 'darker' side.
Issue no. 314 - 24 June 2004
- UK - High-tech cops probe premium-rate Internet fraud
Are Trojans behind a surge in complaints from Web users billed for accessing premium-rate sites that they say they never visited. The number of Internet users claiming to have fallen victim to premium-rate phone charge fraud has risen sharply, according to industry regulator ICSTIS. ICSTIS has been forced to call in the National Hi-tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) after being hit with a surge in complaints. According to ICSTIS, some of these complaints may be due to software programs called diallers that have been secretly downloaded onto their machines.
- US - AOL worker held over e-mail scam
An America Online employee has been arrested after he allegedly sold 90m customer e-mail addresses to providers of unsolicited adverts. Prosecutors say the list was later used to send massive amounts of spam.
Issue no. 313 - 13 June 2004
- Can we really police online chat?
Keeping track of potentially dangerous paedophiles who lurk in online chatrooms from the relative 'safety' of their own home is an onerous task. But enforcement agencies across the globe are keen to get their act together. This week the Virtual Global Task Force (VGTF) proposed building on the covert work already being done to track down sexual predators intent on grooming youngsters via chat rooms. While the specifics have yet to be ironed out, the crux of the scheme is that police around the world will manually 'listen in' to online conversations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. see also Police to patrol net chat rooms and Virtual Global Summit hailed a success (Internet Watch Foundation).
- Online crime engenders a new hero: Cybersleuth
(New York Times)
A lot of perfectly respectable small businesses are raking in money from Internet fraud. From identity theft to bogus stock sales to counterfeit prescription drugs, crime is rife on the Web. But what has become the Wild West for savvy cybercriminals has also developed into a major business opportunity for cybersleuths.
- UK - Withdraw credit cards from net paedophiles, MP demands
People who finance the sexual exploitation of children via the internet should have their credit cards withdrawn, according to a backbench Labour MP. Judy Mallaber, MP for Amber Valley, Derbyshire, has called for people who use a credit card to support internet-based child prostitution or to pay for child abuse images online to have their card cancelled.
Issue no. 312 - 6 June 2004
- UK - Ban paedophiles from the internet, says BT
The courts should bar everyone convicted of sexual offences against children which involve the internet from using the technology, said Nick Truman, head of security at the online arm of British Telecom, BT Openworld. Mr Truman, a member of the Home Office internet taskforce for child protection, also called on the police to inform ISPs of convictions so that the offender's internet account could be cancelled.
Issue no. 311 - 31 May 2004
- Nordic police stage child porn crackdown
Nordic police have staged their biggest regional crackdown on suspected child pornography, rounding up scores of suspects in co-ordinated raids across four nations. Swedish police said they questioned more than 100 suspects while Danish police made 43 raids on Tuesday. The numbers of raids or suspects held in Norway and Finland were not immediately available.
- UK - Cyber-sleuthing the latest in high-tech crime fighting
Police are heading back to the classroom as a new breed of criminals turns to the Internet to prey on unsuspecting victims.
- UK - Skills not money needed to fight cybercrime
Law enforcement agencies require a bigger pool of skilled investigators and digital forensic experts, not more money or legislation, according to a study. A large number of criminals connect to the Internet, which has led to the transfer of traditional crimes to the online world. Although cybercrimes are becoming more common, members of the police force and specialist computer crime units lack many of the basic skills required to trace and analyse computer-based crimes. Although there are 140,000 police officers in the UK, only around 1,000 of them have received any specialist cybercrime training and only 250 are in specialist computer-crime units.
Issue no. 310 - 16 May 2004
- US - Dozens arrested over Internet child porn distribution
Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with an ongoing federal crackdown on the distribution of child pornography sent over the Internet using peer-to-peer file sharing applications. Attorney General John Ashcroft and officials from the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the results of the latest enforcement actions which have taken place throughout the United States in recent days. Cybercrime task forces have been targeting distributors of pornographic images on the file sharing networks which have been used by young, potentially vulnerable audiences, who primarily have used the peer to peer applications to share music. In some cases predators have used the technology to try to lure victims for sex. The attorney general will highlight the ongoing problem in part to help alert parents of the continuing danger of pornography targeted at minors on the Internet.
Issue no. 308 - 2 May 2004
- UK - MPs investigate computer crime law
MPs will meet to lay the groundwork for an overhaul of the 'ineffective and inadequate' Computer Misuse Act 1990 (CMA). The Home Office has already committed itself to review the CMA, which fails to specifically outlaw malicious behaviour such as denial-of-service attacks (DoS). Very few prosecutions have been brought under the legislation. The All Party Internet Group (Apig) will hold a public inquiry to gather advice from industry, users and government officials about how to improve the Act. See written evidence.
Issue no. 307 - 25 April 2004
- UK - Doctor acquitted of porn charges
A hospital consultant has been cleared of child porn charges, in what police say is the first failed prosecution under Operation Ore. Dr Paul Grout, 46, was cleared of four charges when a judge ordered the jury to find him not guilty. He was arrested at Hull Royal Infirmary in October 2002 after his credit card details came up during the inquiry into child pornography on the internet. He denied two charges of attempting to incite the distribution of indecent photographs of children and two charges of incitement to distribute indecent photographs of children. The Judge at Hull Crown Court ordered the jury to find the defendant not guilty. He said that, based on the evidence, it was not possible to exclude the possibility that someone else had used Dr Grout's credit card details by hacking into his computer. The court had already heard that no images of child pornography were ever found on any computers used by Dr Grout, or at his home.
- US - New Fight to Protect Exploited Children Online
The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children launched a new campaign against online child pornography backed with a $1 million contribution from philanthropist Sheila C. Johnson and Microsoft. Through Johnson's $500,000 donation and Microsoft's equal match, the money is earmarked for law enforcement technology training throughout the world. The first of these four-day sessions in fighting computer-facilitated crimes against children took place in France in December and a second was held in Brazil two months ago. The International Centre plans as many as 10 more sessions this year.
Issue no. 305 - 28 March 2004
- UK - 55% of child abuse content traced to US
More than half (55%) of the child abuse images on the internet reported in Britain last year originated from the United States, the UK internet industry regulator said. This was a 3% rise in the amount of child abuse material traced to the US from the previous year, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). The IWF's annual report also highlighted the rapid growth in the amount of child abuse images traced to Russia, which rose from 5% in 1997 to 23% last year. John Carr, the internet safety adviser at the children's charity NCH, said that the apparent failure of the US authorities to crack down on child abuse websites was undermining international efforts to combat online paedophilia.
- UK - Distressing trip into the heart of human darkness
Article about a TV commentary, Police Protecting Children, in which a film team followed police operations to arrest consumers of child pornography.
- UK success in battle with illegal on-line content
The UK hosted only 1% of the potentially illegal on-line content that was the subject of 20,000 reports to the Internet Watch Foundation in 2003, according to its annual report, published yesterday. The figure is down from 18% being hosted by UK ISPs in 1997."
- US - Vigilantes Troll for Pedophiles
Volunteers from a group called Perverted Justice pose as kids in chat rooms, and when an adult engages them in sexual banter, they publish the person's personal data on the site so the group's supporters can harass the adult by phone and e-mail. see also They Wanted to Teach Him a Lesson.
Issue no. 304 - 21 March 2004
- AU - New laws planned against internet predators
(Sydney Morning Herald)
Pedophiles who use the internet to procure children for sex could face 15 years in jail under proposed new Australian federal laws. Under the package of laws released for public comment, accessing, transmitting or making child pornography available on the internet would also be punishable by 10 years in jail.
- CoE - Entry into force of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime
The Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime will enter into force following its ratification today by Lithuania as the 5th country. The convention, which is the first international treaty on crimes committed via the internet and other computer networks, is the result of four years' work by experts from the 45-member Council of Europe and from non-member countries including the USA, Canada and Japan. The main aim of the convention - which focusses in particular on child pornography, computer-related fraud and violations of network security - is to develop a common criminal policy on cybercrime by promoting international co-operation and the adoption of appropriate legislation.
- UK and US to act on web sex sites
Britain and the US are to set up a group to investigate ways of stopping violent internet sex sites. Initial steps were agreed by David Blunkett and US Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey during a meeting at the US Department of Justice in Washington DC. The Jane Longhurst case had 'horrified' US officials. Websites featuring extreme sexual acts were implicated in the trial of the man who murdered the Brighton teacher. Musician Graham Coutts, 35, from Hove, was convicted of strangling the 31-year-old teacher and jailed for life on 4 February. During the trial, the jury heard Coutts had strangled Miss Longhurst hours after he viewed sites which featured necrophilia and other extreme sexual acts.
Issue no. 303 - 29 February 2004
- UK - E-Crime Study - Protecting the Vulnerable
Computer assisted crime is no longer "special". It is part of the mainstream of criminal activity. Like other forms of crime it can be split into that which is opportunistic (and can be readily deterred or deflected) and that which is planned and organised (and much harder to handle). The EURIM-IPPR E-Crime Study is a comprehensive exercise to look at the actions needed to reduce the consequent cost to UK-based residents and business. Tthe first discussion paper was Partnership Policing for the Information Society - Separating myth from reality and snake-oil from practicality. This second paper is focussed on the needs of small firms and those with "always on" connections.
- Worldwide porn networks 'smashed'
Police say they have cracked a number of worldwide networks offering child pornography. Operation Odysseus saw simultaneous raids in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Spain, Sweden and the UK. It focused on people using internet boards to exchange child porn and followed a long intelligence operation. Europol say several people have been arrested and several computers and videos have been seized.
Issue no. 302 - 15 February 2004
- DE - Internet-Ring zum Kinderporno-Tausch aufgeflogen
Die Polizei hat einen international organisierten Kinderporno-Ring auffliegen lassen. Rund 100 Beschuldigte aus dem In- und Ausland sollen kinderpornografische Bilder im Internet ausgetauscht haben. Am frühen Mittwochmorgen seien zeitgleich die Wohnungen der Verdächtigen in elf Bundesländern sowie einigen europäischen Ländern durchsucht worden, teilte das Landeskriminalamt in Hannover mit. Dabei stellten die Ermittler unter anderem Computer und Dateien sicher.
- UK - MP calls for violent porn ban
An MP is to call for greater control on violent internet porn sites, following the murder of Brighton teacher Jane Longhurst. Graham Coutts killed the teacher to 'satisfy a bizarre and macabre fantasy' after spending hours viewing images of women being strangled and raped, Lewes Crown Court decided. After he was jailed for life, Jane's mother Liz, from Reading, called for the sites to be banned. Now her MP, Martin Salter, is to table a Parliamentary Early Day Motion on the subject, and hopes to get at least 100 MP's to support a ban. See also Net closes on 'sick' website porn;
- UK - Scotland - Executive deaf to call for internet porn study
After the conviction of an internet-obsessed Scot for murder, the Scottish Executive said it had no intention of re-assessing the issue of lurid websites and their links to violent crime.
- US - False Domain Info May Mean Jail
Congress may crack down on businesses and people who provide false information when they register a website, proposing huge fines and extra jail time for those who violate copyright and trademark law. Backers say the bill, known as the Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act, targets only those who lie when submitting data to domain-registration databases and then go on to break federal laws. Co-sponsors Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Howard Berman (D-California) hope the law will help copyright holders track down those who sell counterfeit merchandise on the Web, set up "phisher" sites to con unsuspecting Internet users into turning over credit card and PIN numbers, or illegally offer copyright works for download. They also hope the bill will curb malicious spammers and prevent the registration of domain names that are knockoffs or misspellings (such as www.wirred.com) of legitimate companies.
Issue no. 301 - 8 February 2004
- NL- Dutch police arrest 52 in e-mail scam raids
Amsterdam police have arrested 52 people in connection with an e-mail scam designed to defraud people in several countries with get-rich-quick schemes. Police said the group was suspected of sending about 100,000 e-mail messages to addresses in Japan and the United States.
- UK - Footprints on the disk
Computer-derived evidence has become a feature of court proceedings. Ed Halliwell spoke to an expert whose job it is to interpret the findings for a jury. Provisions for computer-derived evidence have been part of English law since 1968, but it was not until last year that the potential impact of information technology on court proceedings became widely apparent.
- UK - Teen hacker avoids jail sentence
A UK teenager who hacked into a US Government laboratory's computer network has been ordered to serve 200 hours community service. Joseph McElroy used the lab's computers for films and music taken from the net. Southwark Crown Court waived a demand for £21,000 in damages as it ruled that McElroy could not pay the fine.
Issue no. 300 - 1 February 2004
- P2P gives mobile operators a growing headache
Peer-to-peer networking could be as sticky a problem for mobile network operators as it has been for fixed telecoms operators. Operators at the TOTAL TELECOM conference on Delivering Mobile Adult Content Responsibly say the main source of pornographic material appearing on their networks is not private commercial content providers but the operators' own subscribers. This week police in Ireland are investigating how a pornographic image of a schoolgirl came to be circulated amongst hundreds of secondary school children with camera phones.
UK - Phone firms wrestle with porn dilemma
Issue no. 299 - 24 January 2004
- CY - We know who's downloading child porn and we can't do anything about it
Interpol has handed to Cyprus police a list of Cypriots that were identified as downloading child pornography from the internet. Police hands are tied on the matter because possession of child pornography is not a criminal offence in Cyprus, unlike other European countries. Even if it were an offence to download and possess indecent material from the internet, the current rules on evidence would make it impossible to prove in court. [Ed. Cypr
Index page see also Internet content, Security and encryption
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
QuickLinks consists of
QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham firstname.lastname@example.org
- a free newsletter appearing approximately once a week. The newsletter is distributed by electronic mail through an "announcement only" mailing list. To be included on the mailing list, send a blank email to email@example.com (HTML) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Text)
- a Web site with frequent updates, an events page, news items organised by category as well as chronologically by issue and full text search.