Friday, 31 August 2007

German spyware plans trigger row

Reported by BBC, 31.08.2007
German government plans to spy on terror suspects by distributing malicious e-mails have drawn sharp criticism.
The e-mails would contain Trojans - software that secretly installs itself on suspects' computers, allowing agents to search the hard drives.
German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is quoted as saying the spyware would be used only in a few cases and for a limited time.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Sensor rise powers life recorders

By Liz Seward Science reporter - BBC
A person's entire life from birth to death could one day be recorded by a network of intelligent sensors, according to a senior scientist.
By 2057, Martin Sadler of PC firm Hewlett Packard, said there could be at least 1m devices for every UK resident.
Predicted advances in storage and cameras coupled with decreasing costs would allow this explosion, he said.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Virgil hands the power of the Wiki over to the CIA

When I heard on the grapevine what Virgil Griffith had achieved with the Wiki Scanner my first thought was - what a cool idea. I even went to the trouble of telling him so.
But then i got to thinking. Was it really a great feat of engineering? Did he really expose organisational intent, or was it just some over zealous corporate ladder climbing types - or even a bunch of hackers who broke into a network and edited some carefully selected Wiki pages?In fact i began to realise that the whole revelation was as bad as alerting the world about other kinds of threat, like blowing up planes using toothpaste. There are two real outcomes of what Virgil did. Firstly, he created the conditions where every unethical computer hacker and its cat can now get back at the big brother monster by digging up dirt, which may or may not be true - yet hard to refute. Secondly and more importantly. Virgil has single-handedly alerted unethical organisations that they can be traced, making the likelihood of covert Wiki edits much more likely in the future. What he did is to say to organisations - here is a much better and safer route for you to edit Wiki pages (or any other site pages). Do it, but do it from outside your network.
Shame on you Virgil. Sometimes things are better left unsaid.

See Who's Editing Wikipedia Now - Diebold Polling

Wired Aug 07
On November 17th, 2005, an anonymous Wikipedia user deleted 15 paragraphs from an article on e-voting machine-vendor Diebold, excising an entire section critical of the company's machines. While anonymous, such changes typically leave behind digital fingerprints offering hints about the contributor, such as the location of the computer used to make the edits.
In this case, the changes came from an IP address reserved for the corporate offices of Diebold itself. And it is far from an isolated case. A new data-mining service launched Monday traces millions of Wikipedia entries to their corporate sources, and for the first time puts comprehensive data behind longstanding suspicions of manipulation, which until now have surfaced only piecemeal in investigations of specific allegations.

Check out the IP2location scanner

For more on this scanner:

Howard row over Wikipedia edits

BBC - 24th Aug 07
Staff in the Australian prime minister's department have been accused of editing potentially damaging entries in online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, workers made 126 edits on subjects which included government immigration policy and Treasurer Peter Costello.
The details came from a new website which can track those who make edits.
Wikipedia Scanner has shown that staff at the CIA, the Vatican and the BBC among others have also made changes.
For more:

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Monster attack steals user data

BBC.CO.UK 21st Aug 07
US job website has suffered an online attack with the personal data of hundreds of thousands of users stolen, says a security firm.
A computer program was used to access the employers' section of the website using stolen log-in credentials.

Monday, 20 August 2007

What You Need to Know About Botnets!

Published by Aug07
A bot, short for robot, is an automated software program that can execute certain commands. A botnet, short for robot network, is an aggregation of computers compromised by bots that are connected to a central "controller." These botnet controllers are often controlled from chat rooms. Botnet controllers can be linked together to form even larger botnets and to replace another controller that is taken off line. Botnets controlling tens of thousands of compromised hosts are not uncommon. Botnets are becoming a significant problem across the Internet.
A white paper from US-CERT is available here

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Wikipedia 'shows CIA page edits'

By Jonathan Fildes Science and technology reporter, BBC News
An online tool that claims to reveal the identity of organisations that edit Wikipedia pages has revealed that the CIA was involved in editing entries.
Wikipedia Scanner allegedly shows that workers on the agency's computers made edits to the page of Iran's president.
It also purportedly shows that the Vatican has edited entries about Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. The tool, developed by US researchers, trawls a list of 5.3m edits and matches them to the net address of the editor. Meet the designer at