Archive for May 2012

Most sophisticated computer worm ever!

A cyber-attack that targeted Iran’s oil ministry and main export terminal was caused by the most sophisticated computer worm yet developed, experts have warned.

The virus appears to have been directed primarily at a small number of organisations and individuals in Iran, the West Bank, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. This will inevitably raise suspicions that Israel or the US were involved in some way.

Analysts who have been decoding the computer worm, which is called W32.Flamer, have been unable to identify the source. But they say only a professional team working for several months could have been behind it.

The CrySys Laboratory, in Hungary, said: “The results of our technical analysis supports the hypothesis that [the worm] was developed by a government agency of a nation state with significant budget and effort, and it may be related to cyberwarfare activities.”It is certainly the most sophisticated malware we [have] encountered. Arguably, it is the most complex malware ever found.”

Orla Cox, a senior analyst at Symantec, the international computer security firm, said: “I would say that this is the most sophisticated threat we have ever seen.”

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CISPA legislation creates ‘a Cyber Industrial Complex’

Speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Monday evening, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) highlighted the “understandable fear” driving legislation like the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), but cautioned that the “gross negligence” of network operators is no reason to create “a Cyber Industrial Complex” that profits on Americans’ private data.

“It is a fundamental principle of cyber-security that any network whose failure could result in loss of life or significant property should be physically isolated from the Internet,” he said. “Unfortunately many of our critical network operators have violated this principle in order to save money or streamline operations. This sort of gross negligence should be the first target in any cyber-security program – not the privacy of individual Americans.”

CISPA, which passed the House in April thanks to party-line support by Republicans, would overwrite existing privacy laws to allow the National Security Agency (NSA) to act as an information sharing hub for corporate networks, placing a military agency in charge of Americans’ private data, ostensibly for the monitoring of potential cyber-threats.

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Online scams cost $485 million in U.S. in 2011

WASHINGTON — Online scams including identity theft schemes, “advance fee” and “romance fraud” cost Americans some $485 million in 2011, a report prepared for the FBI said Thursday.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center annual report said the number of complaints about online fraud rose 3.4 percent to 314,246.

The most common complaints included FBI-related scams, in which criminals impersonate the FBI to gain sensitive data, identity theft and advance fee fraud — schemes in which emails pledge to release funds for a transaction fee.

One of the newer schemes involves fraudulent auto sales — in which a criminal posts a car for sale at an attractive price, pretending to be desperate to sell before moving or deploying overseas, and then seeking a deposit to hold the vehicle.

Other fraud schemes include the “non delivery” of merchandise bought online or through an auction, and “overpayment fraud” in which someone receives an check with instructions to deposit it in a bank account and send excess funds or a percentage of the deposited money back to the sender.

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