QuickLinks - Computer crime
QuickLinks - Computer crime
Issue no. 363 - 25 June 2006
- The Role of ISPs in the Investigation of Cybercrime
by Kerr, Ian R. and Gilbert, Daphne. Examines the new role internet service providers (ISPs) will play in the fight against cybercrime. Examining the legislative model that is being considered in various jurisdictions around the world, the authors argue that adopting this approach will lower the threshold of privacy protection. Moreover, it will drastically alter the relationship between ISPs and the individuals who have come to depend on them to properly manage their personal information and private communications.
- UK - Paedophile policy 'not media-led'
The Home Office has rejected claims by a top police officer that policy on paedophiles is being driven by a tabloid newspaper campaign. Dyfed-Powys Chief Constable Terry Grange said he was extremely concerned the Home Office had 'surrendered' power over policy to the News of the World.
- UK - Web paedophile given nine years
A sex offender who was caught through an anti-paedophile website has been given a nine-year jail term for sexual grooming and pornography offences. He was the first to be caught in a police internet operation called the Virtual Global Taskforce.
Issue no. 360 - 14 May 2006
- International action against child sex offender networks
In a joint action against persons suspected of being involved in child pornography offences, police from 12 EU Member States and the United States made several arrests and around 150 house searches. The action, named "Baleno", is the result of a worldwide investigation led by the Dutch National Police Agency and co-ordinated by Europol.
Issue no. 359 - 9 May 2006
- UK - New agency to target net paedophiles
Paedophiles who use the internet to groom their victims will be pursued by police posing as children as part of a new agency. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre, based in central London, brings together police experienced in tackling organised crime, technology experts and specialists from children's charities.
Issue no. 358 - 21 April 2006
- CoE - Cybercrime Convention Committee meets
(Council of Europe)
The Convention on cybercrime is the only binding international instrument dealing with cybercrime. It has received widespread international support and is open to all States. The Convention provides for consultations of the Parties (the Cybercime Convention Committee (T-CY)). The first meeting of the consultation of the parties took place in Strasbourg, France from 21-22 March 2006. see also Examples of how the private sector has blocked child pornographic sites.
- New Study Reveals Child Pornography Not a Crime In Most Countries
A new study of child pornography laws in 184 Interpol member countries around the world has produced alarming results: more than half of these countries (95) have no laws addressing child pornography and in many other countries, the existing laws are inadequate. The study found that in 138 countries, the possession of child pornography is not a crime. In 122 countries, there is no law which specifically addresses the distribution of child pornography via computer and the Internet. 5 of the countries reviewed have laws considered comprehensive enough to make a significant impact on the crime. They are: Australia, Belgium, France, South Africa, and the United States. Only 22 countries reviewed were in substantial compliance with the recommended criteria set by ICMEC.
- US - Attorney-General gives child porn 'wake-up call'
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales issued what he termed a 'wake-up call' to the growing problems of pedophiles prowling the Internet and online images of sexual abuse of children. Gonzales described the depravity and horror of criminal acts against children in unusually graphic detail. see Transcript of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales? Address to the Employees at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
US - Attorney-General calls for mandatory Web labeling law
Issue no. 357 - 26 March 2006
- BR - Google Brasil summoned on chat room complaint
Google's Brazilian unit has been asked to appear before authorities to explain what the company was doing to curb crimes allegedly being committed through its Orkut chat rooms. The summons came after a complaint was filed with the ministry by the nongovernmental organization Safernet, which monitors crime on the Internet [Ed: Safernet is a member of the INHOPE association].
- European phishing gangs targeted
Microsoft is launching legal action against 100 phishing gangs based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
- Interpol: Give us tools to fight cybercrime
Interpol has called on politicians to help law enforcement officers bring cybercriminals to justice by making it easier for evidence to be transferred between countries. The international police organization said that a new global legislative framework was needed to deal with cybercrime, which has evolved dramatically since the current legislation was passed.
- Online child porn ring 'smashed'
An international online child porn ring that used a chat room to transmit live shots of molestation has been cracked, the US federal authorities say. Twenty-seven people - from Australia, Britain, Canada and the US - have been charged with participating in two online chat rooms.
- Sites selling child porn targeted
Net and finance firms are joining up to stamp out commercial child pornography. The newly formed Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography brings together 18 organisations including Bank of America, American Express, Mastercard, AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft.
Issue no. 356 - 27 February 2006
- Bits and Bytes to Fight Child Pornography
European forensic scientists have developed a state-of-the-art computer program to help track down child victims of sexual exploitation on the Internet.
- UK - Massive rise in child porn sites
The number of websites found to be offering child pornography to UK internet users increased by 75 per cent last year amid fears of an explosion in illegal images generated overseas. The sharp rise will alarm child protection campaigners and raise concerns that there has been a related increase in the number of people accessing child pornography sites.
- UK - More try to access net child porn
Some 35,000 attempts to access child pornography websites are blocked in Britain every day, figures showed. The figures were compiled by BT, which accounts for around a third of the internet market, and it is feared the overall number could be much higher. They show that attempts to access the websites have tripled since the company introduced its screening technology in June 2004.
- US - Combatting crimes against children a top priority for Department of Justice
Fighting cybercrime will be a top priority for the U.S. Department of Justice. U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales announced the Project Safe Childhood Initiative to combat crimes against children facilitated by computers. The new initiative calls for strengthening resources available to law enforcement and a national prevention education campaign.
Issue no. 354 - 31 January 2006
- UK - Denial of Service to be criminalised
Launching a Denial of Service attack in the UK is set to become a new offence. The Government included updates to the country's main cybercrime law, with new offences and stiffer penalties in its Police and Justice Bill. The Computer Misuse Act is now 15 years old and legal experts have long questioned whether it adequately outlaws Denial of Service attacks. This is an attack in which a web or email server is deliberately flooded with information to the point of collapse. A court cleared a teenager last November on charges of sending five million emails to his former employer, because the judge decided that no offence had been committed under the Act.
Issue no. 349 - 27 November 2005
- UK - Spammer jailed for £1.6m net scam
An internet spammer convicted of running a £1.6m e-mail scam from a bedroom in his father's house has been jailed for six years. Peter Francis-Macrae, of St Neots, Cambs, was found guilty of threatening to kill and blackmail. The 23-year-old was also convicted of threatening to destroy or damage property, concealing criminal property and fraudulent trading. He had offered thousands of e-mail and website names when he had no right. And when victims complained, he threatened to destroy their internet systems by sending millions of spam e-mails.
Issue no. 348 - 13 November 2005
- DK - ISP activates child porn filter
Danish telco TDC has activated a nationwide filter to help fight child pornography on the internet. The filter, which covers TDC customers, has been developed in cooperation with the national police and Save the Children. [Ed: the Save the Children Denmark hotline is co-funded by the EU Safer Internet programme].
- ES - Cae otra red internacional de pornografía infantil por Internet
La Guardia Civil ha desmantelado una red internacional dedicada al intercambio de pornografía infantil a través de Internet en una operación desarrollada en Murcia, Asturias, Guadalajara, Madrid, La Coruña y Alicante, informó el viernes el Ministerio del Interior. Los integrantes en la red - 7 personas han sido detenidas y dos imputadas - se conectaban a Internet en diferentes cibercafés para evitar que se detectase la ubicación de sus ordenadores personales.
- HK - Film file-sharer sent to prison
A Hong Kong man has been jailed for three months for film piracy after he shared movie files over the internet. The authorities say he is the first person in the world to be prosecuted for passing on files using a popular file-sharing program called BitTorrent.
- UK - Denial of Service prosecution fails
A London court cleared a British teenager of charges under the Computer Misuse Act, reasoning that the law could not apply to an alleged denial of service attack in which five million emails were sent to a former employer.
- UK - Internet child porn block calls
Internet service providers have been urged to publicly declare whether they block the use of websites containing child pornography. Labour MP Margaret Moran says she has support from MPs of all parties for a law compelling such companies to publish their policies. But the Home Office has said it would prefer the industry to regulate itself.
Issue no. 347 - 19 October 2005
- KH - UK partners with Cambodian government to tackle child exploitation via the web
The British and Cambodian governments are working in partnership with Microsoft to tackle child exploitation through the internet. A joint training programme has been launched in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh. The training aims to increase the capability and awareness of the local law-enforcement and judicial agencies when dealing with crimes against children. NGOs involved with child rights issues in Cambodia will also participate. The training will be delivered by members of the UK's Serious Sexual Offences Unit (SSOU) who are part of the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) and from the Paedophile on-line Investigation team (POLIT) of the UK's National Crime Squad. IT security experts from Microsoft will deliver the technical component of the training. Legal professionals from the UK, US, Thailand and Indonesia will deliver the legal skills component of the training. see also Net pedophiles on rise in Cambodia (The Age).
- NL - Three men arrested in botnet probe
Dutch police have arrested three individuals suspected of hacking into more than 100,000 computers worldwide and using the hijacked systems in online crimes. The three individuals, whose names were not disclosed, allegedly commandeered the computers using Trojans, Dutch prosecutors said.
- RU - Russia must step up fight against child pornography, prostitution
Russia must take urgent measures to stem a rapid growth in child pornography on the Internet and child sex trafficking that makes the country a major supplier for the global pedophilia market, Russian and international experts warned. Russia's parliament toughened the law in December 2003 by making it a crime for someone to produce, store and distribute child pornography. Until then, the law did not distinguish between pornography that involved adults and minors. The Interior Ministry says around 50 criminal cases have since been launched, resulting in several convictions for distributing pornographic images of children. But a top Russian expert in the field, Yelena Mizulina, criticized what she termed the 'pathetically short jail terms' that threaten offenders.
- UK - Child porn ring run from net cafe
A Glasgow student has admitted running an international child porn ring from the Easyeverything Internet Cafe. Nicholas Dockray, 31, sent images of children being abused to paedophiles in the US, UK and Europe. He had been caught when the police in Croatia found repeated references to a person nicknamed Kinderpix who ran the site. Kinderpix was eventually identified as Dockray. Dockray, a second-year student studying history and philosophy, admitted distributing or showing indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of children and taking or permitting indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of children.
- UK - Computer hackers jailed
Two British computer hackers were jailed for a total of nine months after their attempts to create their own secure internet chatroom prompted a global cyber crime investigation. In an attempt to make their chatroom more secure, Andrew Harvey and Jordan Bradley created a form of virus, known as a worm, which replicated itself and affected thousands of computers around the world.
- UK - First conviction under Computer Misuse Act
A man was convicted in London of hacking into a charity website, set up after the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster, in breach of the Computer Misuse Act. It is the first conviction to result from the Act. Daniel James Cuthbert, a computer consultant formerly with ABN Amro bank, was given a £400 fine and ordered to pay £600 in costs at Horseferry Road Magistrates court.
Issue no. 346 - 2 October 2005
- UK - Capturing essential evidence from computer systems
Organisations and individuals currently have little idea how to collect and preserve evidence from computers and the Internet. As a result criminal prosecutions become difficult, businesses fail to get redress in the civil courts or are unable to make proper insurance claims. That's the message of the Directors and Corporate Advisors' Guide to Digital Investigations and Evidence launched by the Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC). "With the vast proliferation of computer ownership and usage plus the growth of low-cost always-on broadband connectivity, all organisations require a Forensic Readiness Program", says report author Peter Sommer, Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics. See also press handout.
Issue no. 345 - 25 September 2005
- Interpol turns to technology to fight child porn
Interpol will launch a big push to identify child sex victims and prosecute abusers with the help of special software that can minutely analyse pornographic images, many from the internet, and spot vital background clues. Hamish McCulloch, a British investigator at Interpol who specialises in child porn, said police around the world will get access to the technology via a 3.2 million euro (US$3.91 million) image database to be funded by the Group of Eight (G8) leading nations.
- UK - Police and charity join forces to hunt internet paedophiles
Children's charity NSPCC has joined Greater Manchester police internet investigators in an effort to find internet child abuse victims and hunt paedophiles. The NSPCC has worked with police before on specific cases, but the "E-spy" project places them full-time with investigators. The NSPCC's director of service for children and young people, Wes Cuell, said he hoped the initiative would bring child abusers to justice and save exploited children from further victimisation.
Issue no. 344 - 18 September 2005
- CH - Campaign targets online child pornography
The Swiss authorities have launched a campaign to stop the illegal downloading of child pornography from the internet. This comes as figures show that over half of the 1,550 Swiss investigated over the past three years for receiving and passing on child pornography have been convicted. The 'Stop child pornography on the internet' campaign was launched by the federal police and the Swiss Crime Prevention Centre. See German and French pages.
- GK - Greek cellular phone dealer arrested for selling sex videos stored on customer phones
An Athens mobile phone dealer has been arrested for allegedly selling thousands of amateur sex videos downloaded from cellular phones brought to his shop for repairs. The arrest followed a sting operation in which the suspect allegedly transferred 183 pornographic videos to the cellular phones of undercover electronic crime squad officers for a total fee of 15 (US$18), police said in a statement.
- Gumshoe chases Internet villains in Eastern Europe
(Wall Street Journal)
As Internet crime proliferates, law enforcement is relying more on the private sector to help counter it. That's because tracking cyber criminals requires a different set of skills than police have traditionally used. Compounding the challenge is the speed at which new online threats are morphing. Microsoft brings huge resources and technical expertise to the table, ranging from decrypting files to analyzing computer code. Through its security team the company collaborates with police world-wide.
- US - Unraveled Web fraud reveals inner workings of Internet theft
The illicit haul arrived each day by e-mail, the personal details of computer users tricked by an Internet thief: a victim's name, credit card number, date of birth, Social Security number, mother's maiden name. One more Internet 'phishing' scam was operating. But this time, private sleuths soon were hot on the electronic trail of a thief whose online alias indicated an affinity for the dark side. The case moved ahead in part because of an underground tipster and the thief's penchant for repeatedly using the same two passwords - 'syerwerz' and 'r00tm3.'
Issue no. 343 - 4 September 2005
- Child porn rising on Web
(Christian Science Monitor)
Despite highly publicized arrests, law-enforcement officials say that the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet is growing dramatically. Law-enforcement officials are particularly disturbed by the increased number of commercial sites that offer photos of exploited children in return for a credit-card number. Those fighting child porn say it has become a global multibillion-dollar industry. see Press Release (NCMEC).
- UK - Banning possession of extreme porn: consultation
The Home Office and Scottish Executive are seeking views on plans to make it an offence to possess images that depict scenes of serious sexual violence and other obscene material. At present such content is generally illegal to publish but legal to view. Proposed law The suggested ban would take the form of a new, free standing offence restricted to explicit pornography containing actual scenes or realistic depictions of: intercourse or oral sex with an animal; sexual interference with a human corpse; serious violence in a sexual context; or serious sexual violence. According to the consultation paper, "serious violence" will involve or will appear to involve serious bodily harm in a context or setting which is sexual - for example, images of suffocation or hanging with sexual references in the way the scenes are presented. "Serious sexual violence" will involve or will appear to involve serious bodily harm where the violence is sexual. The maximum sentence suggested is three years' imprisonment for possession, although other options are presented in the consultation paper. The current maximum penalty for publication may be increased from three to five years to maintain a distinction. Consultation. Closing date 2 December 2005. see also Ban on violent net porn planned (BBC);
Issue no. 341 - 9 July 2005
- Australia to outlaw suicide Web sites
Using the Internet to promote the idea or practical details of committing suicide is about to become illegal in Australia. Although the legislation is broad enough to cover any transmission medium, its introductory memorandum highlights the Internet as the primary target.
- CoE - Cybercrime-Konvention vorerst noch Papiertiger
von Monika Ermert. Bei der Verabschiedung der Cybercrime Konvention des Europarates 2001 schlugen die Wogen der Kritik hoch. Inzwischen ist es still geworden um den kontrovers diskutierten Völkerrechtsvertrag. Bislang haben erst 10 der 42 Unterzeichnerstaaten die Konvention auch tatsächlich ratifiziert. Große Länder wie die USA, Frankreich oder Deutschland lassen sich Zeit.
- DE - Sasser author gets suspended term
A German court has convicted the teenager who created the Sasser worm that snarled tens of thousands of computers last year and sentenced him to 21 months' probation. Sven Jaschan, 19, could have faced five years in prison as an adult but was tried as a minor because the court determined he created the virus when he was 17.
Issue no. 340 - 23 June 2005
- ES - Spain arrests 186 in child porn crackdown
Spanish police have arrested 186 people throughout the country in a crackdown on the distribution of child pornography. In two parallel operations, 650 officers searched 188 homes and found evidence of child pornography distribution across the Internet using peer-to-peer software and a system of passwords. The operations were part of a high-priority police crackdown on child pornography and were the most extensive ever undertaken in Spain.
- Europe - Child porn raids in 13 countries
European police have raided 150 addresses in 13 countries in a coordinated operation against a major child pornography ring, Europol said. The European joint police force said the operation, code-named Icebreaker, netted computers, videos and evidence of the sexual abuse of children. It was "the largest international police operation ever coordinated and supported by Europol within this area of crime," said a statement from the agency. The raids were carried out in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
- G8 to launch international paedophile database
The world's wealthiest nations are to set up an international database to help police track down paedophiles and rescue their victims. The UK Home Office confirmed that home affairs and justice ministers from G8 countries have endorsed the creation of the international child sexual exploitation database, which will allow police in their countries to share and compare paedophile images found on the internet. The system should make it possible to identify offenders and victims more quickly.
- Phishers going after small fry
While most of the fraud schemes still focus on big businesses such as major banks, smaller financial companies are increasingly being hit, said a report by the Anti-Phishing Working Group.
- UK - Scotland - MSPs pass internet 'grooming' law
A bill to clamp down on paedophiles grooming children on the internet has been passed by MSPs at Holyrood. The Protection of Children Bill will make it an offence to set up meetings with under-16s via internet chatrooms and carry a maximum 10-year sentence. The law will allow courts to impose a new risk of sexual harm order (RSHO) to curb the activities of those suspected of being a danger to children.
Issue no. 338 - 7 May 2005
- FR - Deux ministres à l'assaut de la cybercriminalité
Thierry Breton a remis au ministre de l'Intérieur, Dominique de Villepin, une série de propositions destinées à améliorer la lutte contre la cybercriminalité. Chargé de travailler sur le sujet en tant que PDG de France Télécom, en juin 2004, Thierry Breton a présenté son rapport en tant que ministre de l'Economie, des Finances et de l'Industrie. Première proposition, disposer de meilleures statistiques. Le doublement des effectifs de policiers et gendarmes spécialisés dans le cybercrime est confirmé. Le contrôle des contenus illicites devrait bénéficier de la création d'un organisme de centralisation des données. Pour ce qui est de la prévention, entreprises et mineurs sont encouragés, par les deux ministres, à faire état des actes dont ils auraient été victimes. Enfin, le ministre avance l'idée d'un « certificat citoyen » à délivrer aux FAI. Deux ajouts au code pénal sont proposés. L'un pour permettre aux enquêteurs de s'infiltrer sur un support de communication électronique afin de participer à des discussions, de stocker des contenus illicites et d'entrer en contact avec des auteurs d'infractions. L'autre pour punir explicitement les sollicitations sexuelles faites à un mineur par le biais d'un moyen de communication électronique, Internet ou SMS. voir Communiqué de presse et Rapport de M. Thierry Breton (Ministère de l'Intérieur).
- U.N. urges companies to crack down on child porn
Credit card companies and technology firms should do more to combat child pornography on the Internet, a United Nations expert said. Credit card companies may unwittingly process illegal Web transactions. see Report submitted by Mr. Juan Miguel Petit, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
- UK - Software pirates go to jail
A City banker at the heart of the DrinkOrDie software piracy ring has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison at the Old Bailey in London. Alex Bell, 29, was one of four criminals involved in the DrinkOrDie group which cracked encryption and digital rights management code on software. Two of the others were handed lesser sentences while a third was released on a suspended sentence. The maximum penalty would have been 10 years. Although they billed themselves as latter day Robin Hood's the judge at the centre of the case said their motives were not benevolent but owed more to self-promotion and the kudos in tech circles linked to such criminal activity.
Index page see also Internet content, Security and encryption
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