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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hacker hits millions of South Korean social website users

South Korea has blamed Chinese hackers for stealing information from 35 million accounts from a South Korean social networking site. The sites that were hit include the Cyworld website as well as the Nate web portal run by SK Communications. The Nate portal gives people access to web services such as email while the Cyworld social site lets people share images and updates with friends similar to Facebook.

The hackers are thought to have stolen phone numbers, email addresses, names and other information about the sites millions of users. SK Communications did not retain financial information of its users in most cases. Investigators say that the hackers likely came from China based on their IP addresses. The Korean Communications Commission claims to have traced the attack back to a number of IP addresses in China.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Scams dealing with Oslo attack and Amy Winehouse death appearing on Facebook

Fake links related to the terrorist attack in Oslo, Norway, and musician Amy Winehouse have been reported on Facebook. The scams are what are known as "survey scams" which use interest in breaking news stories to trick people into clicking links ect. Internet threat research firm Websense Security Labs reported that as many as one user per second was clicking on links claiming to be videos of the Oslo bombing attack.

Also, just days after singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her home, a new video scam targeting Facebook users has surfaced on the social networking site. It shows links offering video footage taken hours before Winehouse passed away but these links do not actually contain videos of the Winehouse's final hours, but rather lead to online surveys from which the scammers earn a commission. The survey with promises to show the video after completion, but instead, the user will usually be prompted to enter a phone number or other information that the scammer can use to charge them or extract money from an account. There are also reports of there being a pop-up message that tricks victims into exposing their friends to the scam.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

16 Arrested as F.B.I. goes after Anonymous hacking group

On Tuesday the F.B.I. announced the arrests of 16 people across the country in connection with attacks carried out by the hacking group Anonymous. 14 people were charged in connection with an attack on PayPal last December because PayPal suspended accounts set up for donating money to WikiLeaks. The suspects from 10 different states are accused of conspiring to intentionally damage protected computers. The charge of intentional damage to a protected computer is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A 21 year old man was also arrested for breaking into the InfraGard website and then tweeted about it while providing instructions so that others could break in. Another 21 year old man was arrested for stealing confidential information from AT&T's systems while working as a contractor.

Recently police in Britain and the Netherlands have arrested other people suspected of participating in the hacking attacks. The Department of Justice said more than 35 search warrants were executed in the United States and that 5 arrests were made in Europe as part of a global investigation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hacking group Anonymous starting its own social network after being blocked by Google+

The online group Anonymous which has gained attention in the last year with hacker attacks on PayPal, Visa, Amazon, Bank of America, and various world governments is now stating its own social network after being kicked off the new Google+ social site. Their account was suspended for violating Google's community standards with its posts. Their Gmail account has also been shut down.

Their new social networking site will be called AnonPlus and is described as "a social network where there is no fear of censorship, of blackout, nor of holding back." Anonymous said AnonPlus is intended as a platform "simply to dispense info". Anonymous says the site will be open to everyone when it goes live and is currently being worked on by 18 developers. Anonymous also has an active Twitter presence with its @YourAnonNews account, which has more than 19,000 followers.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Number of Chinese websites almost half of what they used to be

According to a report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), there has been a drop of 1.3 million websites by the end of 2010 which accounts for a 41% decrease in the total amount of Chinese sites. Experts say this has been caused by recent campaigns to control the internet. This has especially affected interactive websites such as online forums.

However, CASS said the number of websites had shrunk because of the slowing of the economy and because of campaigns to end pornography and spam. The Chinese government has tightened regulations on websites and the content they post. Even though China’s constitution guarantees freedom of speech, the government can shut down websites under a “subversion of state power” clause if they choose to do so.

Even though almost half of Chinese websites were shut down compared to last year, the remaining sites have cranked out new content at a fast pace. The total number of Chinese web pages available has jumped by 79%.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Google renaming its online services

Google will be re-branding two of its most popular web services, Picasa and Blogger. The new names will be Google Photos and Google Blogs. The services themselves will not change and will remain key components of Google's product family. The idea behind the rename is to not confuse users with services with too many different names. Users of these services may be unaware that they are using a Google product because of the current names used with these products.

The re-branding is because Google wants to unify its services under one name with the upcoming public launch of Google+ coming in about 6 weeks. Google’s various web applications will most likely get the unified treatment, especially the more social friendly elements that will tie into Google+. Currently Google+ integrates photos from Picasa, email from Gmail, and video hosting from YouTube. YouTube should remain untouched because Google Video was already killed off a few months ago.