QuickLinks - Computer crime
QuickLinks - Computer crime
Issue no. 377 - 5 July 2007
- US - MySpace Database Search Starts Yielding Sex Offender Busts
Texas police have arrested six sex offenders who weren't supposed to be using the internet under the terms of their probation or parole, but who allegedly surfaced in MySpace's database search. A seventh MySpace user was picked up for failing to register as a sex offender.
Issue no. 376 - 10 June 2007
- EU - Defining the Commission's global policy on the fight against cyber crime
The European Commission has adopted the Communication "Towards a general policy on the fight against cyber crime". Specific actions to improve coordination and cooperation between law enforcement authorities and between law enforcement and private sector operators will play an important role in the fight against cyber crime, and complement other actions taken at national, European and international level.
- ITU Announces Plan to Curb Cybercrime
The ITU announces an ambitious two-year plan to curb cybercrime. Cybercrime takes several forms, from breaching network security, financial fraud, invasion of privacy and identity theft to virus attacks, spam or online child pornography. Against this background, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré set out a comprehensive Global Cybersecurity Agenda to tackle the issue within a framework of international cooperation.
Issue no. 375 - 9 May 2007
- UK - Online child abuse complaints up
Reports of websites that contain images of child abuse have continued to climb in the last year, a report has shown. In 2006, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) investigated more than 31,000 reports of sites that contained alleged images, an increase of 34% since 2005. The IWF annual report also revealed the increasing severity of content held on the sites. More than 3,000 web pages contained images depicting the most severe abuse, such as penetrative and sadistic sexual activity, the report said. Most children involved were under the age of 12.
- UK - Plan to tighten child abuse law
Ministers are planning to tighten the law to make it an offence to possess computer-generated or cartoon images depicting child sex abuse. It is currently an offence to possess indecent photographs and pseudo-photographs of children. But there has been a growth in computer-generated images, cartoons, and drawings, which are not illegal.
- UK -Two cautioned over wi-fi 'theft'
Two people have been cautioned for using people's wi-fi broadband internet connections without permission. Neighbours in Redditch, Worcestershire, contacted police after seeing a man inside a car using a laptop while parked outside a house.
- US - White House panel pushes new identity fraud laws
A White House task force urged Congress to enact a variety of new laws designed to punish identity fraud, even though it is already illegal. The new strategy calls for rewriting existing criminal laws to penalize use of malicious spyware and keyloggers, to expand mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain levels of electronic data theft, and to allow identity theft victims to receive monetary compensation.
Issue no. 374 - 1 April 2007
- The effects of a "happy slapping" epidemic
European governments crack down on the recording and distribution of violence online. Several years ago, the United Kingdom noticed a disturbing pastime among a segment of its youths - 'happy slapping'. Individuals or groups found amusing the slapping or striking of strangers while accomplices filmed the assaults using mobile phones. The images were later showcased on the Internet. In recent years, the 'happy slapping' virus has spread into France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, among other European countries. And governments have had enough of this cruel and sometimes lethal form of entertainment.
- US - Sexual exploitation of children over the Internet
(U.S. House of Representatives)
A staff report prepared for the use of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Makes a number of suggestions for combating child pornography in the USA.
- US - TJX consumer data theft largest in history
A data breach originally disclosed by the parent company of retailer T.J. Maxx could be the largest case of consumer information theft to occur to date. TJX Cos. disclosed in a regulatory filing this week that the company believes that data on at least 45.7 million credit and debit cards was stolen by hackers, and has reason to believe that the actual number could be much higher.
Issue no. 372 - 25 February 2007
- AT - Vienna busts huge child porn ring
Austria has uncovered an international child pornography network involving more than 2,360 suspects from 77 countries, the interior minister said. The videos were posted on a Russian website, hosted by an Austrian company.
- Current Responses to Sexual Grooming: Implication for Prevention
(Howard Journal of Criminal Justice)
by Samantha Craven, Sarah Brown, and Liz Gilchrist. This article aims to outline current responses to sexual grooming; specific attention will be given to new legislation introduced in England and Wales under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Issues to be discussed include: poor definition and understanding of sexual grooming, scope of legislation in relation to non-Internet grooming, difficulties in identifying sexual grooming, and a failure of the new legislation to be truly preventative.
- The elusive world of child porn dealers
The alleged international paedophile ring smashed in Austria highlights the ease with which criminal gangs have been able to exploit the internet to make money out of child abuse. According to investigators in Austria, some 2,360 suspects from 77 countries downloaded horrific images of young children being sexually abused and raped. They were believed to have been shot in Eastern Europe and uploaded to the web in Britain, posted on a Russian website hosted by an Austrian company.
- UK - Crackdown on paedophiles' internet aliases
Internet paedophiles could be forced to register all their online nicknames and email addresses with the authorities as part of a new crackdown. The home secretary, John Reid, said he hoped to bring in new laws that would force child sex offenders to disclose the details as part of a widening of the sex offenders register.
- UK - Data thieves face two years in prison
Individuals who sell or deliberately misuse others' personal data in the U.K. could now face a penalty of up to two years in prison. The previous penalty stipulated for the charge in the Data Protection Act 1998 was a fine. Now data thieves risk up to six months in prison for a summary conviction, while for a conviction on indictment, they could get up to two years. The change comes as the British government moves to increase data sharing as a way of offering higher-quality public services to citizens.
- WiFi Turns Internet Into Hideout for Criminals
With nearly 46,000 public access points across the country, hundreds of thousands of computer users are logging on every day to wireless networks at cafes, hotels, airports and even while sitting on park benches. And although the majority of those people are simply checking their e-mail and surfing the Web, authorities said an increasing number of criminals are taking advantage of the anonymity offered by the wireless signals to commit a raft of serious crimes - from identity theft to the sexual solicitation of children.
Issue no. 371 - 28 January 2007
- CA - Cleanfeed Canada - What Would It Accomplish?
Bennett Haselton looks at the implications of a Canadian initiative to protect children online. 'Cybertip.ca, a Canadian clearinghouse for providing information to law enforcement about online child luring and child pornography, has announced that a group of major ISPs will begin blocking access to URLs on Cybertip's list of known child pornography sites. A Cybertip spokesperson says that the list fluctuates between 500 and 800 sites at any given time.'
- Cybercrooks Deliver Trouble
It was the year of computing dangerously, and next year could be worse. That is the assessment of computer security experts, who said 2006 was marked by an unprecedented spike in junk e-mail and more sophisticated Internet attacks by cybercrooks.
- DE - Lawyers' association criticizes scrutiny of credit card transactions
The German Bar Association (DAV) has voiced grave doubts about the scrutiny of credit card data that the prosecuting authorities had initiated in the course of an enforcement operation aimed at the Internet-based child pornography scene; an approach that has allowed the authorities to score a spectacular success in their fight against child pornography.
- Interpol launches task force on child sex abuse
Interpol is launching Project Guardian, a special task force to tackle a growing problem of pedophiles using fake 'modeling' sites on the Internet to gain access to children. The sites do not contain sexually graphic images, but serve as a front, enabling pedophiles to contact the site owners and gain physical access to the so-called child models, or to buy images of the children being abused.
- IT - Italy enacts law to block child porn Web sites
Italy has introduced a new law requiring Internet service providers to block child pornography Web sites within six hours of being told to do so. The decree, which comes into force almost immediately, requires Internet providers to set up a system that blocks child pornography Web sites from being viewed soon after the providers are notified of their existence. Saranno subito oscurati i siti pedofili (Corriere della Sera) Il ministro delle Comunicazioni ha firmato un decreto per contrastare il fenomeno della pedopornografia in rete. I fornitori di connettività, i cosiddetti Internet Provider, dovranno dotarsi di sistemi in grado di oscurare entro 6 ore dalla comunicazione ricevuta da parte del neonato Centro nazionale per il contrasto della pedopornografia o dalla magistratura, dei siti che diffondano, distribuiscano o facciano commercio di immagini pedopornografiche.
- Police maintain uneasy relations with cybervigilantes
The London Metropolitan Police Service has turned to some unlikely allies in the fight against Internet crime: cyberactivists who are taking action against online fraudsters. This includes Artists Against 419, whose activities include consuming the bandwidth of fraudulent banking and lottery sites in an attempt to force them off the Internet.
- UK - Ban urged on child abuse images
Computer-generated child abuse images should be banned and a new 'kite mark' standard introduced for software to protect children from paedophiles. The Home Secretary, John Reid, said the Cabinet was discussing how to ban the images, including cartoons and graphic illustrations of abuse. While distributing such images is illegal, it is legal to possess them. He also said that by spring, approved parental control software would come with a British Standards' Kitemark.
- UK - IWF reforms could pave way for net censorship
By the end of 2007, the Home Office intends that all ISPs 'offering broadband internet connectivity to the UK public' will have implemented systems for content blocking, primarily intended to block access to pornographic images of children, which are illegal to view or possess in the UK.
Issue no. 370 - 3 December 2006
- Banks, ISPs face challenges fighting child pornography
Financial institutions and internet giants are working with governments and regulators to hit perpetrators of child pornography where it hurts most - the pocketbook. But can they overcome privacy and antitrust issues?
- UK - Missing paedophiles named online
Some of the UK's most wanted child sex offenders have been identified online. It is believed to be the first time that details of convicted paedophiles have been published nationwide by Britain's law enforcement agencies. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre has set up the new website in an effort to track missing child sex offenders. see also Fugitive paedophile website raises vigilantism concerns (Guardian).
- UK - Online banking fraud rises fast
A surge in "phishing" in the first half of 2006 has produced a sharp rise in the amount of money being lost to online banking fraud. The number of recorded incidents rose 16-fold to 5,059. That led to a 55% rise in losses from online fraud against banks, reaching £23m in the first half of 2006.
- UK - 'Web-rage' man gets prison term
A man has been jailed for more than two years after carrying out the UK's first 'web-rage' attack on an internet user. Paul Gibbons assaulted John Jones at his Essex home, after the pair exchanged insults in an internet chatroom, the Old Bailey heard. "This case highlights the dangers of internet chatrooms, particularly with regards to giving personal details that will allow other users to discover home addresses," said the Investigating Officer.
- UK - Website denial-of-service attacks outlawed
A U.K. law has been passed that makes it an offense to launch denial-of-service attacks. Among the provisions of the Police and Justice Bill 2006, is a clause that makes it an offense to impair the operation of any computer system. Other clauses prohibit preventing or hindering access to a program or data held on a computer, or impairing the operation of any program or data held on a computer. see also UK bans denial of service attacks (OUT-LAW News).
Issue no. 369 - 5 November 2006
- FI - Finnish measures against child sexual abuse internet content
In August 2005, representatives of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and the Office of the Prosecutor General decided that Finland should put forward voluntary restriction measures of websites with child sexual abuse content, following the example of other Nordic countries and Great Britain.
- US - Blaming Technology For Exposing Problems That Were Already There
It's always tempting for people to blame technology for certain problems, but sometimes it helps to look a little more thoroughly at the issue. An AFP report quotes the head of the FBI's cyber division talking about the rising caseload concerning pedophile predators targeting children. It's unclear if it's the reporter or the FBI who implies this, but the article focuses on how much easier technology has made life for pedophiles.
- US - MySpace Predator Caught by Code
A police investigation grew from 1,000 lines of computer code I wrote and executed some five months earlier. The automated script searched MySpace's 1 million-plus profiles for registered sex offenders - and soon found one that was back on the prowl for seriously underage boys. MySpace could do more. It should more diligently employ its technical resources to look for the signs of predation, perhaps automatically scanning the contents of private and public messages between adults and children for sexual content, backed up by a manual inspection.
Issue no. 368 - 15 October 2006
- DE - Regierung will 'letzte Lücken' im Computerstrafrecht schließen
Mit einer deutlichen Verschärfung des Strafrechts will die Regierung den 'Schutz vor Hackern, Datenklau und Computersabotage' verbessern. Eine heute vom Bundeskabinett beschlossene Gesetzesänderung stellt klar, dass 'Hacking' strafbar ist. Gemeint ist damit das 'Knacken' von Computersicherheitssystemen, wie es in einer Mitteilung des Bundesministeriums der Justiz heißt.
- World's largest banks join forces to stamp out child internet porn
Large banks in the UK are being asked to join a financial coalition against child pornography, and back its 'light a million candles' awareness campaign, by Standard Chartered, the London-based bank which does most of its business in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and which led the series of meetings at the IMF. Mike DeNoma, Standard Chartered's head of consumer finance, wrote to the British Bankers' Association urging it to join the international campaign.
Issue no. 367 - 23 September 2006
- EU - Green Paper on detection technologies for law enforcement
The Commission has adopted a Green Paper on detection technologies for law enforcement, customs and other security authorities to further enhance the interaction between public and private sectors and help Member States acquire the best tools available at the lowest possible cost. see also Memo.
- US - Plan to fight child smut would close Web sites
(New York Times)
As part of the battle against the spread of child pornography on the Internet, a U.S. initiative has begun allowing for the shutdown or blocking of sites offering illicit images of minors, even in cases where no criminal investigation is being conducted. The initiative is part of an effort among a group of Internet service providers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Issue no. 366 - 3 September 2006
- Net's new porn trend: Nearly nude kids
(New York Times)
In recent months, an array of investigations of the child pornography business have contributed to wholesale shutdowns of some of the most sexually explicit Internet sites trafficking in child images. But they have been rapidly replaced by a growing number of so-called model sites, Internet locations that offer scores of original photographs of scantily clad under-age children.
- Pedophiles' alternate realities
(New York Times)
On the Net, they don't just swap pictures, they participate in "support groups," promote their interests, seek jobs near kids, and chat about their experiences, the New York Times reports following a four-month investigation. Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald wasn't investigating specific cases so much as the group itself, and how it uses the Net to extend its reach.
- UK - Possession of violent porn to be criminal offence
People who download violent pornography could face three years in jail under new legislation. The UK government unveiled proposals to create a new offence of possessing pornographic images of extreme sexual or life-threatening violence, with a new maximum sentence of three years for possession, or five for distribution of such material.
- US - T-Mobile network hacker sentenced
A man arrested in 2005 for hacking into the computers of the US arm of mobile company T-mobile has been sentenced. Nicholas Lee Jacobsen was given one year home detention and ordered to pay $10,000 to the mobile firm. In 2004 he accessed personal records of hundreds of T-Mobile customers, including a Secret Service agent.
Issue no. 365 - 15 August 2006
- UK - Internet fraud slips through police fingers, says Attorney General
Internet fraud accounts for eight percent of all fraud in the UK, according to the Attorney General's office, which says that fraud costs the UK billions of pounds every year. The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has published the final report of his fraud review and has found that internet fraud can sometimes slip through current policing procedures and cost users and businesses dearly.
- UK - Texting study to catch criminals
The individual styles of hundreds of people's text messages will be analysed in a study that aims to help police with criminal investigations. Researchers will scrutinise volunteers' SMS messages to tease out patterns in the language and style of texts. The University of Leicester team hopes the work will yield tools that allow identification of a text author.
- UK bank account details sold in Nigeria
Bank account details belonging to thousands of Britons are being sold in West Africa for less than £20 each. Fraudsters in Nigeria were able to find internet banking data stored on recycled PCs sent from the UK.
- US - Senate ratifies Cybercrime treaty
The US Senate has ratified the Convention on Cybercrime, the first international treaty on computer-related crime and the gathering of electronic evidence. The Convention was signed in November 2001 and came into force in July 2004. The UK has signed the Convention but has yet to formally ratify it [Ed: as is the case for most EU Member States. see status].
- US 'worst' for online child abuse
More than 50% of online images of child abuse reported to an internet watchdog can be traced to the US. Investigations by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) found nearly 2,500 US sites containing illegal images. The IWF study also said that some sites that contain the illegal content remain accessible for up to five years despite being reported to relevant authorities. US still the worst place for child abuse images.
Issue no. 364 - 7 July 2006
- FR Publication de la Convention sur la cybercriminalité au Journal Officiel
La Convention sur la cybercriminalité, signée par la France le 23 novembre 2001, est entrée en vigueur avec l'adoption du décret du 23 mai 2006. Conséquence directe de cette publication au Journal Officiel, la Convention internationale est désormais opposable et invocable par les justiciables français.
- RU - Internet child porn crime rate low
The incidence of crimes related to the dissemination of child pornography on the Internet in Russia is not high, the Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass. 'An analysis of the criminal situation shows that the crimes related to the dissemination on the Internet of pornographic materials involving minors are not of mass character. The Russian segment of the Internet is actively used by owners of foreign porn sites for redirection of users'.
- UK - Child porn convictions will be reported to banks
Police will be able to pass details of child pornography offenders on to banks so that offenders' credit cards can be revoked. The Home Secretary has issued an order for the amendment of the Data Protection Act which will be read in both houses of Parliament. The order was requested by credit card issuers and is the result of three years of negotiation between the industry and the Home Office according to a spokeswoman for issuers' organisation APACS, the UK payments association. see also Home Office child porn control goes too far, says privacy chief.
- US - Net companies pledge child porn crackdown
In an attempt to forestall potentially intrusive new federal laws, a coalition of Internet companies has launched a campaign against child pornography that they say will tip off police to illegal images. The Internet companies - AOL, EarthLink, Microsoft, United Online and Yahoo - are pledging $1 million in cash and technical assistance to develop technology that can 'detect and disrupt the distribution of known images of child exploitation' on the Internet. The coalition's effort will take place under the auspices of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Issue no. 363 - 25 June 2006
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