Hi-tech criminals have found novel ways to carry out web-based attacks that are much harder to spot and stop, warn security experts. Some cyber criminals have exploited file-sharing networks and popular webpages to attack targets. The malicious hackers have turned to these methods instead of going to the trouble of hijacking home PCs. Using these methods the hi-tech criminals have staged some of the biggest attacks security experts have ever seen.
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More important, the government is setting up a new organization, the “Cyber Command,” to prepare the country for similar cyber attacks and is also changing the focus of a scheduled three-week exercise in September—designed to test the financial sector’s ability to respond to pandemics—to include simulating the response to cyberterrorism.
Read this item from Ars Technica as well as Cyber Attacks Engulf Kremlin’s Critics from WIRED. Previously from WNM: All things “Cyberwar’
Despite their nation’s small size, Estonia’s 1.4 million people represent one of the most wired populations in the world. The country’s parliament actually declared Internet access to be a basic human right. Unlike the United States, which seems congenitally unable to resolve the mystery of e-voting, Estonia has been using the Internet to elect representatives since 2005….”It’s taken cyberprotest to the next level,” Denning said. “It can happen here or to any country where people are unhappy. These were serious attacks which lasted a long time. And it proves you need defenses.” She’s absolutely right, but so far, cybersecurity remains honored more in the breach than in the observance by the federal government. For all its exhortations to beef up homeland security, the Bush administration still considers this a side show compared with more pressing geopolitical issues. Maybe so, but they’re kidding themselves if they don’t think that this chicken is one day going to come home to roost.
Read Coming attractions for history’s first cyberwar from C|Net’s Charles Cooper. Previously from WNM: The first state sponsored Cyberwar. Maybe.
What followed was what some here describe as the first war in cyberspace, a monthlong campaign that has forced Estonian authorities to defend their pint-size Baltic nation from a data flood that they say was set off by orders from Russia or ethnic Russian sources in retaliation for the removal of the statue.
Read this article from the New York Times. Coverage from the BBC, commentary from C|Net and doubt from Alternet.
It’s like something out of The Sopranos. Antivirus researchers at Moscow-based Kaspersky Labs have identified criminal gangs engaged in a turf battle online. The primary groups are responsible for the Warezov and Zhelatin worms; these worms then download Trojans that are in turn responsible for a majority of the spam and malware circulating on the Web. Basically, new spam and new phishing attacks are designed to switch your remotely controlled PC from belonging to the Warezov gang or the Zhelatin gang. The resulting botnets–collections of remotely controlled PCs–have proved profitable, luring unsuspecting Internet users to purchase porn or other services attributed to organized crime activity.
Read this item from C|Net. Previously from WNM: Gang-Tube, MyGang and “Web bangin’,” the online gang presence.
There is no question that forced online sexual activity — whether through text, animation, malicious scripts or other means — is real; and is a traumatic experience that can have a profound and unpleasant aftermath, shaking your faith in yourself, in the community, in the platform, even in sex itself…But I have a hard time calling it “rape,” or believing it’s a matter for the police. No matter how disturbed you are by a brutal sexual attack online, you cannot equate it to shivering in a hospital with an assailant’s sweat or other excretions still damp on your body. That’s not to say I dismiss the trauma a person suffers after being raped online. Virtual rape is not just a prank, one the target needs to get over or expect as part of a role-playing world. (And if you are inclined to pooh-pooh this, first read author Julian Dibble’s chapter about a rape that occurred in a text-only MOO in the early ’90s.)
Read Virtual Rape Is Traumatic, but Is It a Crime? from WIRED’s Sex Drive (Regina Lynn). Previously from WNM: Virtual Cons, but “real” consequences?
Contribute to the Whats New Media Wiki article on Julian Dibbell and her article, A Rape in Cyberspace.
The number of new pieces of malicious software has doubled in the last year with the web being used increasingly to distribute the code, a report says…”With computer users becoming increasingly aware of how to protect against email-aware viruses and malware, hackers have turned to the web as their preferred vector of attack,” said the report.
Read this item from the BBC