QuickLinks - Computer crime
QuickLinks - Computer crime
Issue no. 337 - 13 April 2005
- US - Microsoft Hunts Child Pornography
Microsoft launched a software program designed to help police worldwide hunt down child porn traffickers by enabling authorities for the first time to link information such as credit card purchases, internet chat room messages and arrest records. The Child Exploitation Tracking System is the first software designed specifically to capture pornographers who prey on children over the internet. It will allow police departments worldwide to share and track previously unlinked information on investigations and suspects. The program was developed by Microsoft Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Toronto police, with the help of the Department of Homeland Security, Scotland Yard and Interpol. [Ed: The Wired report incorrectly calls the program "open source" - Microsoft will supply the program free to law enforcement authorities]
Issue no. 336 - 3 April 2005
- UK - Centre to tackle net paedophiles
A unit to protect children in the UK from internet paedophiles is being set up by the Home Office. About 100 staff, including police and child welfare experts will join the Centre for Child Protection on the Internet next April. The centre will take on work being done by the National Crime Squad and will target those who distribute child porn images or 'groom' children for abuse. It will be open 24 hours a day so people can report suspicious activity. see also Internet Watch Foundation press release.
Issue no. 335 - 20 March 2005
- ES - Police smash child porn ring with raids across 12 countries
Hundreds of people across two continents have been arrested in a Spanish-led operation to break a child pornography ring operating via the internet. Police mounted raids in France, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands, as well as in seven Latin American countries, taking a total of 500 people into custody. In Spain, 19 people were arrested, accused of exchanging pornographic material. The Guardia Civil, in co-operation with Spain's state prosecution service, enlisted the help of their European and Latin American judicial co-operation organisations, Eurojust and IberRed.
Issue no. 334 - 13 March 2005
- AU - Internet suicide chat could cost you $110,000
People who use the internet to encourage others to commit suicide will attract fines of up to $110,000 under a new law being introduced by the Federal Government. Justice Minister Chris Ellison said the law would make it illegal to counsel or incite suicide or promote methods of suicide. Corporations can be liable for fines up to $550,000 and individuals $110,000.
- JP - Seven die in online suicide pact in Japan
Seven people have killed themselves within hours of each other in Japan in the latest round of suicides committed after pacts made on the internet. All seven had apparently died from carbon monoxide poisoning after sealing themselves in the vehicles and inhaling the fumes from charcoal stoves. Police said suicide notes had been found in both cars. The note in the second vehicle indicated that the victims had arranged to die together in internet chatrooms.
- UK - Police struggling to fight cybercrime
A Home Office report has found that police are struggling to cope with the weight of Internet child porn cases, due to under-resourcing and insufficient training; The report, Keeping Safe, Staying Safe: Thematic Inspection of the Investigation and Prevention of Child Abuse by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, found that police are spending so much time investigating Internet paedophilia they are failing to pursue other child abuse enquires.
- UK - 'Unit needed' to tackle net porn
Police want a new body to be set up to investigate internet child pornography. It comes as new figures show arrests and convictions for downloading such images have quadrupled in two years. Home Office figures, revealed by children's charity NCH, showed 2,234 people were charged or cautioned in 2003, compared with 549 in 2001. The BBC has learned the proposed unit - dubbed the UK Internet Safety Centre - would be staffed by police, charity workers and computer experts.It would operate around the clock to investigate reports of suspicious images found on the internet.
- UN- Illegal Drug Sales Booming on Internet
Illegal drug sales on the Internet are booming as unlicensed online pharmacies selling drugs like morphine evade a patchy global effort to stop them, the United Nations narcotics watchdog said. In its 2004 annual report, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said Internet pharmacies sell several billion doses of medicine illicitly each year and deliver them by post, making them an alternative drug-trafficking route.
Issue no. 333 - 2 March 2005
- FR - Pédo-pornographie et Pédophilie sur internet
(Forum des droits sur l'internet)
Consacrée à la prévention et à la lutte contre la pédo-pornographie et la pédophilie sur l'internet, la recommandation publiée par le Forum des droits sur l'internet est le fruit de près d'un an de travaux d'un groupe de travail constitué de représentants des pouvoirs publics, des acteurs économiques et des associations concernés. Points clés de la Recommandation : Pédo-pornographie : un phénomène important et diffus sur internet. Pédophilie sur internet : un sujet de préoccupation, encore mal évalué. Principales mesures proposées : Pouvoirs publics : lancer une étude sur les risques encourus par les jeunes ; renforcer des moyens des services d'enquête ; constituer une base d'informations mutualisée entre services d'enquête ; sécuriser la situation juridique des enquêteurs ; renforcer la coopération internationale ; lancer une vaste campagne de sensibilisation du public. Fournisseurs d'accès à l'internet et de services en ligne : généraliser le lien "protection de l'enfance" et les meilleures pratiques ; encourager la vigilance des jeunes sur les services interactifs ; mettre en place un adulte référent sur les forums de discussion ; permettre le blocage des contacts indésirables sur les chats et la messagerie instantanée. Grand public : mobiliser les associations familiales pour responsabiliser davantage les parents.
- UK - Call for child porn users amnesty
Fewer users of internet child pornography should face court action, a child protection group has said. The Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) wants to encourage otherwise low-risk offenders to confess and hand over their computers. The threat of court action discourages this - instead they could just be cautioned and placed on the sex offenders' register, CCPAS suggests.
Issue no. 332 - 22 February 2005
- JP - Suicide pacts a grim and growing trend for Japan
In a grim new problem for officials tackling the nation's alarmingly high suicide rate, rising numbers of Japanese are dying each year in group suicides after meeting online in Internet chat rooms. According to police, a record 34 427 Japanese took their own lives in 2003, more than a quarter of them because of debt or economic woes.Of the total, only 34 died in Internet-linked group suicides. But the number rose to 54 in 2004 and police say the real number was probably even higher.
- US - Man accused of recruiting women for Valentine suicides
An Oregon man arrested for trying to arrange a mass Valentine's Day suicide had been preying on vulnerable women online for five years, police said. Gerald Krein, 26, was charged with solicitation to commit murder after a Canadian woman who joined a chat room called 'suicide ideology' tipped off police.
Issue no. 331 - 13 February 2005
- CH - Schweizer Polizei-Aktion gegen Kinderpornografie im Internet
In der gesamten Schweiz wurden in den vergangenen Monaten 109 Verdächtige überprüft, die verdächtigt werden, im Internet kinderpornografisches Material beschafft oder in Verkehr gebracht zu haben. Die Verdächtigen sollen für ihre Aktivitäten Tauschbörsen genutzt haben. Die aktuellen Ermittlungen hatten ihren Ursprung in Norwegen und Italien. Die dortigen Behörden waren im Internet auf verdächtige Aktivitäten von mehreren tausend Personen weltweit gestoßen.
- CH - Studie: Organisierte Internetkriminalität nimmt rapide zu
Eine Studie, die der Antiviren-Spezialist McAfee in Auftrag gegeben hat, zeigt eine "deutliche Weiterentwicklung der Internetkriminalität". Dabei vollziehe sich ein Trend weg vom "isolierten Computerhacker" und hin zu einer organisierten "Cybermafia", geht aus dem Virtual Criminology Report hervor, der vom Computerkriminologen Peter Troxler von der Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ) mit Unterstützung von Behörden in Großbritannien, Frankreich und Deutschland sowie den Niederlanden, Spanien und Italien erstellt wurde.
Issue no. 330 - 30 January 2005
- FR - Pédo-pornographie et pédophilie sur internet
Consacrée à la prévention et à la lutte contre la pédo-pornographie et la pédophilie sur l'internet, la recommandation publiée par le Forum des droits sur l'internet est le fruit de près d'un an de travaux d'un groupe de travail constitué de représentants des pouvoirs publics, des acteurs économiques et des associations concernés. Ce rapport établit, pour la première fois en France, une analyse objective et raisonnée des risques d'atteintes sexuelles sur mineurs par le biais de l'internet. Il distingue les deux phénomènes que sont, d'une part, la diffusion de contenus pédo-pornographiques sur l'internet et le risque de contacts pédophiles, d'autre part.
- UK - Blogging 'a paedophile's dream'
Online journals and camera phones are a 'paedophiles' dream' which have increased the risk to children, the Scottish Parliament has been warned. The Justice Committee is examining a bill to create the specific offence of 'grooming' and bringing in 10-year jail terms for meeting children for sex. A forensic psychologist spoke about the dangers of online journals, or blogs, and pictures posted directly online. Rachel O'Connell said adults could use weblogs to learn about children. Dr O'Connell said that the emergence of moblogs - mobile weblogs - allowed even faster transfer of pictures to the internet using mobile telephones with cameras.
- UK - US Federal agent raps ISPs over cybercrime
An FBI special agent has hit out at U.K.-based units of large global ISPs and the role they play in allowing the perpetuation of cybercrime through a lack of cooperation with law enforcement. Speaking at the Computer and Internet Crime Conference in London, FBI agent Ed Gibson, who is an assistant legal attache to the U.S. Embassy, expressed concerns that national boundaries are still too much of an obstacle to law enforcement. Gibson said such obstacles can delay law enforcement efforts by months at a time, and he criticized the Internet service providers and their regulations for doing too little to ease the process.
- UK - What's bugging ministers about phone taps?
Phone tapping is a common weapon in the armoury of detectives and government spies, so it may come as a surprise to learn that evidence from telephone taps cannot be used in court in the UK. This long-standing principle was upheld this week by Home Secretary Charles Clarke. The intelligence community is Mr Clarke's biggest backer on this. It fears that allowing phone tap evidence to be heard in court could reveal its secret operational methods. As it stands, tapes from conventional bugs - not attached to phones - can be used in court. Telephone conversations on an internal network can also be used and so can material where one of the people on the line is an undercover officer. But a taped phone conversation between a suspect and a third party, on a landline or a mobile phone, is inadmissible. It can only be used for intelligence purposes.
- Web police to fight paedophiles
Police and major internet companies around the world have launched a website on which children can report their suspicions about the activities of possible paedophiles. Police may pilot a 24-hour online paedophile monitoring scheme. Microsoft and AOL will put a link on their websites to the Virtual Global Task Force (VGTF), which is run by international law enforcement agencies and where police officers will be able to gather evidence.
Issue no. 329 - 23 January 2005
- IJCLP Special Issue on Cybercrime
The International Journal of Communications Law and Policy and the Yale Journal of Law and Technology present Issue 9 on Cybercrime which will be published in two parts.
Issue no. 328 - 4 January 2005
- UK - Man arrested in tsunami death e-mail hoax
British police have arrested a man after a hoaxer posing as a government official e-mailed relatives of people missing since the Asian tsunami, saying their loved ones had been confirmed dead. The hoaxer, claiming to be from the 'Foreign Office Bureau' in Thailand, targeted people who had placed appeals for information about relatives and friends on the Web site of TV station Sky News.
Issue no. 327 - 16 December 2004
- UK - Paedophiles Pose Greatest Threat Facing Internet
Online paedophiles are the greatest threat facing the internet, government research said. A variety of internet child porn issues dominated a top 10 of criminal threats posed by new technology, a Home Office report The Future of Netcrime revealed. The survey of 53 internet and technology experts saw seven different child porn concerns ranked in the 10 most serious netcrime threats, with grooming and possible stalking of children ranked as the top fear. In second place was the growing use of the internet for espionage by corporate spies. see also vol 2 of Report.
- US - P2P group launches site to combat child porn
A peer-to-peer industry trade group is launching a Web site aimed at educating consumers about the dangers of child pornography online and helping them report it to law enforcement. The Distributed Computing Industry Association's P2P Patrol site is part of a larger approach to the issue. Previously, the group has worked with law enforcement to help find online child pornographers and has helped create a tool that pops up a warning to computer users if they are searching for a term frequently associated with the illicit material.
Issue no. 326 - 5 December 2004
- UK - New papers on e-crime
The organisations EURIM and IPPR have today published two new studies as part of their E-Crime Study programme. The paper on Reducing Opportunities for E-Crime focuses on the need for industry and law enforcement to work together to produce practical, plain English guidance for users on what to do to protect themselves and what to do when they suspect they have been victimised. The paper on The Reporting of Cybercrime (non-geographic e-crime where the agency responsible for action is not obvious) addresses the need to rationalise the current jungle of largely ad hoc reporting structures,
Issue no. 325 - 28 November 2004
- Automated phishing on the rise
Fraudsters are achieving higher levels of automation for phishing scams, using software tools and botnets to increase the reach of their work, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group. Security experts from the APWG have witnessed massive increases in the number of phishing Web sites, which they say suggests scammers are improving their techniques.
- ES - Spain child porn: Dozens arrested
Spanish police say they have arrested 90 people, including 21 juveniles, in the country's largest operation against child pornography distribution. The suspects did not financially profit from the pornography that showed children engaged in sexual acts, including with adults. Instead, they received the pornographic material from abroad, stored it and distributed it among themselves on the Internet, the police said. [Ed: According to El País, the police acted following a report received from PROTEGELES, the Spanish hotline funded by the EU Safer Internet programme].
- EU - Change of name for Justice DG
Directorate General Justice and Home Affairs (DG JAI) has changed its name into Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security (DG JLS). Its mandate and structure remain unchanged. Its role is to strengthen the EU as a single area of freedom, security and justice.
- UK - Court photos man gets six months
A man has been given a six month custodial sentence for taking photos in court with his mobile phone. Shaun Nash, 19, also used the phone to take video footage while sitting in the public gallery during a robbery trial at Bristol Crown Court.
- UK - Mobile phone database reunites phones and owners
A national mobile database, designed to keep a record of mobile phones and their owners, has been set up to help in the recovery of lost or stolen phones. The Mobile Equipment National Database (MEND) has the support of the police's National Mobile Phone Crime Unit.
Issue no. 324 - 21 November 2004
- Asia warned on internet child porn
The rapid commercialisation of the internet has led to an explosion of child pornography, according to a UN conference being held in Bangkok. Delegates were warned that child pornography on the net also led to more traditional forms of child abuse like prostitution and child trafficking. John Carr, head of British Charity the National Children's Home, said 70% of convicted paedophiles were inspired to offend by viewing child porn on the internet. As a specialist on how to tackle the problem, he was in Bangkok to warn nations in South East Asia that the internet threatens to increase their traditional problems of sex tourism and child trafficking. Japan and South Korea have joined the US and Russia as the hosts of large numbers of child porn websites. With an increase in commercial opportunities from child abuse, criminal gangs have now become involved.
- UK - Child porn fight 'lacks funding'
More money and technology are needed to catch and prosecute net paedophiles and protect child victims of cybercrimes, say children's charities. They have joined forces with senior police officers to call for a review of net policing. See Digital manifesto - Internet safety for children: government should do (NCH).
- UK - Oxford pair suspended for hacking
Two students from Oxford University have been suspended after hacking into the university's computer. Patrick Foster and Roger Waite are to appeal against the decision by Oxford's Court of Summary Jurisdiction. They wrote about their actions for the newspaper Oxford Student, saying they wanted to expose weakness in the university's IT system.
Issue no. 323 - 24 October 2004
- CH - Download von Kinderpornos in der Schweiz strafbar
Das Herunterladen und Abspeichern von pornografischen Bildern aus dem Internet, die Handlungen mit Tieren oder Kindern darstellen, muss in der Schweiz als Herstellen von harter Pornografie bestraft werden. Das Bundesgericht in Lausanne hat ein anders lautendes Urteil des Solothurner Obergerichts aufgehoben. Dieses hatte einen Mann freigesprochen, der solche Bilder zum "Eigengebrauch" auf seine Festplatte geladen und auf Disketten und CDs gespeichert hatte. Das sei keine "Herstellung" von Pornografie, hatten die Richter in Solothurn befunden. Der Fall geht nun dorthin zurück. Das Gericht muss den Mann wegen Herstellens harter Pornografie bestrafen.
Issue no. 322 - 17 October 2004
- UK - FBI returns seized news servers
Servers seized by the FBI from the alternative media network known as Indymedia have been returned. The servers in the outskirts of London were taken last week by the FBI which said it was acting on behalf of Italian and Swiss authorities. Indymedia hosts sites, news and radio feeds for anti-globalisation groups and other campaigners for social justice. The media group is now taking legal advice about what action it can take over the seizure of its hardware. see FBI seizes servers from UK offices (vnunet.com)
Issue no. 321 - 10 October 2004
- AU - Australia makes child porn sweep
More than 150 people have been charged with child pornography offences in the biggest crackdown in Australia. Mike Phelan, head of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, said hundreds more will eventually face charges. Teachers, police officers, a child care centre owner and employees of former and present members of state parliament were among them.
- AU - Four suicides in child porn case
The Australian authorities say four men investigated during the country's biggest police operation against child pornography have committed suicide. One of them was a police officer who had been charged with possessing child abuse computer games. Operation Auxin has seen more than 200 arrests in raids on more than 400 premises. It follows an investigation in the US that uncovered international paedophile networks trading images online.
- CA - Centre now coordinating child porn cases
In an effort to battle child porn in Canada, the National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre has been created by the RCMP to handle the tips, coordinate files, and try and identify some of the victims. See Factsheet.
- ES - El nuevo Código Penal crea incertidumbre en la Red
El nuevo código penal, que entra en vigor el uno de octubre, está generando interpretaciones alarmistas en Internet. Se ha dicho que prohíbe la copia privada o que intercambiar canciones en redes P2P será ahora causa de prisión, todo ello inexactitudes provocadas por la imprecisión del texto, según abogados consultados por Ciberpaís. Entre las novedades, destaca el aumento de penas de prisión, el castigo no sólo del delito sinó también de la creación, puesta en circulación y tenencia de herramientas para llevarlo a cabo y una especial atención a la propiedad intelectual, ampliando la protección de que gozan los programas de ordenador a libros, música y vídeos. Además, en estos casos, la policía actuará sin denuncia previa.
- ES - La posesión de pornografía infantil se convierte en delito
La Ley Orgánica del 25 de noviembre de 2003 introdujo algunas modificaciones al Código Penal con respecto a los delitos de explotación sexual comercial de menores. Por primera vez en España, se contempla el delito de posesión de material pornográfico penalizando con hasta un año de prisión a quien posee material pornográfico en cuya elaboración haya sido utilizado a un menor de 18 años (fotografías, videos, imágenes reales digitalizadas, archivos electrónicos, etc). Se introduce el delito de producción, venta y difusión de pseudo-pornografía, es decir del material pornográfico donde no se haya utilizado directamente a un menor pero que emplee su imagen o voz alterada o modificada. Finalmente, se endurecen las penas hasta cuatro años de prisión para la producción, venta o difusión de pornografía (real) en cuya elaboración haya sido utilizado a un menor de 18 años, y hasta ocho años de prisión si el menor tiene menos de 13 años. Sin embargo, la reforma no penaliza la posesión de pseudo pornografía, no considera la pornografía virtual ni tan siquiera los delitos de apología de la pornografía y la prostitución infantil.
- NL - Dutch police in massive crackdown on child porn
Police raided 173 addresses and arrested two people in a large-scale operation against the spread of child pornography in the Netherlands. Police also seized 280 computers and thousands of CDs, videotapes, DVDs and discs during the nationwide raids. Officers had raided 33 addresses in recent weeks.
- UK - Banks sound alarm on online fraud
The banking industry has warned customers with online accounts to guard against a new wave of cyber fraud. Industry body Apacs said some 2,000 British online account holders had been taken in by scams in the past year, losing £4.5m between them. Many were duped into revealing their account passwords by phoney e-mails purporting to come from their bank. Others had their computers infected with programmes which allow fraudsters to record their log-in details. Apacs is launching a website, banksafeonline.org.uk, which tells online account holders how to protect themselves.
- UK - How do child porn laws affect UK businesses?
Eighty-seven percent of IT professionals are not aware of recent changes to the law that controls the viewing of child pornography on the internet, according to research published by the Internet Watch Foundation.
- US - 'Phishing' scams net $500 million
The online cons known as 'phishing' have cost U.S. consumers $500 million, according to a study sponsored by Truste, a nonprofit privacy group, and NACHA, an electronic payments association. In addition, the study found that three-quarters of wired Americans have noticed an increase in phishing incidents during the past few months, with one-third saying they've receiving e-mails sent under fraudulent pretenses at least once a week. Phishing scams use e-mails that appears to come from trusted companies to lure people to bogus Web sites, where they're asked to divulge sensitive personal information, such as credit card data. Attacks frequently target bank customers, but recent scams have sought out users of Gmail and Amazon.com.
- US / CA - Microsoft and Amazon join forces against scammers
Amazon and Microsoft have joined forces to launch a legal crackdown on alleged phishers and spammers. The companies have filed a joint federal lawsuit against a Canadian company, Gold Disk Canada, located in Kitchener, Ontario. The companies claim that Gold Disk Canada has been sending millions of deceptive email messages, including ones falsely purporting to have come from Amazon.com, Hotmail.com and other legitimate domains.
- ZA - Tough new measures to fight child porn
In South Africa, large corporate companies could be prosecuted if any of their staff were caught with child pornography in their emails or attachment folders thought to have been deleted. The Film and Publications Act, which will soon be amended, will see perpetrators face up to 30 years in prison. The amendments are: - That the maximum jail term for producing, distributing and possessing child pornography has been raised from five to 30 years; - That Internet service providers will face criminal prosecution if they fail to block access to child porn sites after members of the public or the police have informed them of their existence; and - That people who repair computers will be held criminally liable if they do not report clients whose computer hard drives contain child porn. The same applies to photography on films sent in for developing and printing.
Issue no. 320 - 25 September 2004
- CoE - Sign the Cybercrime Convention, urge secureocrats
Politicians, police and representatives from business are gathering in Strasburg to push forward international efforts to combat cybercime. A key aim of the three-day conference is to encourage more countries to sign up to the Council of Europe's Cybercrime Convention, the first international treaty to address electronic crimes. Eight countries have ratified and 30 have signed the convention (list here), which came into force in July 2004. The Council of Europe wants more states (including countries outside Europe) to back the treaty."
- UK - Police arrest suspect in Cisco code theft
British authorities have arrested a man suspected of stealing source code from Cisco Systems in May. The 20-year-old man, who has not been identified, was arrested Sept. 3, after the Metropolitan Police Computer Crime Unit searched two residences in Manchester and Darbyshire. The man is suspected of committing 'hacking offenses' under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. The suspect, who has not been charged with a crime yet, was released on bail and is scheduled to appear before authorities in a London police station in early November. Computer equipment seized in the searches is being forensically examined.
Issue no. 319 - 14 September 2004
- AU - $30m to fight child porn
Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced the Government would spend $30 million over five years to tackle child pornography and abuse. Under the plan, the Australian Federal Police would be beefed up with three specialist teams to probe and prosecute pedophile networks and online child sex abuse.
- AU - A typology of online child pornography offending
(Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice)
by Tony Krone . The Internet has increased the range, volume and accessibility of sexually abusive imagery, including child pornography. Child pornography depicts the sexual or sexualised physical abuse of children under 16 years of age. Australia has joined many other nations in an international effort to combat this multi-faceted global menace that combines both heavily networked and highly individualised criminal behaviour. This paper examines the typology of online child pornography offending, as well as law enforcement responses to the problem.
- FR - Doublement du nombre des policiers et gendarmes liés à la cybercriminalité
Dominique de Villepin a annoncé le doublement, d´ici 2007, du nombre des policiers et des gendarmes spécialisés dans la cybercriminalité, lors d´une visite à l´Office central de lutte contre la criminalité liée aux TIC et au pôle « cybercriminalité » de la gendarmerie nationale. Les effectifs devraient passer de 300, actuellement, à 600, tant au niveau national que dans les directions interrégionales de la police judiciaire ou les sections de recherche de la gendarmerie.
Index page see also Internet content, Security and encryption
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