Lavasoft News - September 2007 http://www.lavasoft.com

Security Shorts

Long-Running Russian Phishing Scam Nabs $500,000
During a two-year long scam, two Russian hackers allegedly stole over $500,000 U.S. from Turkish bank customers through more than 260 money transfers. The hackers are said to have used a customized Remote Administration Trojan application to infect bank customers’ PCs in order to gain access to their accounts. According to authorities, one of the men has been arrested on fraud charges, while the other remains at large.

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Australia to Battle Internet Porn
A government program in Australia, with the support of NetAlert, the nation’s Internet safety advisory board, is promising to help parents protect their children from online dangers. Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced in mid August the $160 million U.S. plan to clean up porn on the Internet. The majority of the cost will go towards a filtering program for home computer users and public libraries.

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Germany’s Anti-Hacking Law Creates Debate
Germany’s recent legislative move to crack down on attacks on government and private-sector computer systems is being questioned by security experts. The anti-hacking law makes it a crime in Germany to build, sell, obtain or distribute “hacking tools,” with penalties including sentences of up to 10 years in prison, as well as fines. Some in the security industry believe, however, that the new law may damage the nation’s computer security by curbing legitimate research and analysis.

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Study Finds Spam’s Weakness
A recent report by researchers at a university in the United States claims to have found a weakness in the “spam ecosystem” that may be used to curtail economic gain by spammers. According to the report from University of California, San Diego researchers, the engine that drives rising spam levels is not spam itself, but varying money-making scams; these scams are typically hosted on a single website, which may even be used to host several scams. The researchers claim that spam can be fought by targeting its economic livelihood.

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U.K. MPs Call for Curbing the Web’s Wild West
A group of British Members of Parliament are urging stronger action by government and industry to protect consumers from the dangers of the Internet’s “lawless Wild West.” According to the British lawmakers, as computer crime grows in sophistication, computer users need additional protective measures from the government, software makers, Internet service providers, banks and shops.

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Lavasoft Privacy Toolbox
Stats
The risk associated with using the Internet, like spam, viruses, spyware and phishing, remains high, according to Consumer Reports. In the first half of 2007, spyware infections prompted 850,000 U.S. households to replace their computers, according to a recent survey. One out of every 11 surveyed had a major, often costly problem due to spyware. The economic fallout per incident was averaged at $100 (U.S.), with damage totaling $1.7 billion.

Source: Consumer Reports, State of the Net 2007
herdsman with computers
Term of the Month
A pump and dump scam is a spam technique that uses misleading messages to create hype around targeted stock – usually “penny stocks” that sell for less than $1 U.S. per share. Spammers acquire the stock before sending their spam, and then “dump” their shares after share prices have inflated. The result: investors are fooled into losing money, while the spammers make off with a profit. Read more about recent spam trends in our “Spam Surge” article.

Source: en.wikipedia.org
Tech Tips
Every time you surf the Net, your browser keeps track of all of your online steps. With Ad-Aware 2007, we’ve given you an easy solution to remove all traces of your Internet browsing from your system, keeping spyware from documenting surf patterns and targeting you with adware and spyware. TrackSweep, one of the new privacy features in Ad-Aware 2007, gives you the option to clean your cache, cookies, history, last typed URLs, and browser tabs from Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera, in one clean sweep! To use TrackSweep, from the “Tools & Plug-Ins” tab in Ad-Aware 2007’s user interface, select “TrackSweep” and then choose the items you want cleaned. TrackSweep is a feature in Ad-Aware 2007 Free, Plus and Pro.
Helpful Homepage
The Anti-Phishing Working Group is an organization committed to wiping out online scams by focusing on eliminating fraud and identity theft that results from phishing, pharming, and e-mail spoofing. Visit its website to report phishing attempts, pharming sites, and crimeware, or browse the informative resources section to brush up on the latest threats.
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