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HTMLfixIT Archive for the ‘Phishing and Criminal Behavior’ Category

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006 by Don

This is a very interesting read about the right of a poster to remain anonymous on the internet. A recent ruling required disclosure of anonymous posters’ identies because their conduct amounted to libel per se.

Am I the only one to see the irony of statements like this:

“But when lawyers for Klehr Harrison demanded to know the identities of the anonymous commentators, lawyers for Pantelidis refused to turn them over, arguing that disclosure of their identities would violate their constitutional right to engage in anonymous speech.”

Wait, they aren’t anonymous if their identies are known to someone. They may be undisclosed authors, but they aren’t anonymous. If they were anonymous, then you couldn’t disclose their identity.

The judge in this case required disclosure of identies of people allegedly defaming a law firm.

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Thursday, January 19th, 2006 by Don

The United States has requested numerous records of searches looking to see what is being requested by users on the search engine. Google, to it’s credit I think, is opposing that move vigorously in an effort to protect the privace of it’s users, and in the interest of protecting Google’s own marketing information. The reason the government wants the information is because it is challenging the rejection of The 1998 Child Online Protection Act that intended to require you to log in before you can see “objectionable material”.

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Wednesday, January 18th, 2006 by Don

In Eastern Michigan, Daniel Lin pled guilty to three felony charges arising from 2004 federal anti-spam law violations. His brother and two other defendants were dismissed from similiar charges as a result of the plea. I sometimes wonder if the change say from erectile dysfunction in my spam box to say mortages is driven by a switch in who is advertising, or who is no longer distributing spam.

Spam continues to waste tremendous resources. The only positive effect is that I now see far less junk mail, and unlike junk mail that I would have to dispose of, this can simply be deleted.

I look forward to a day when my spam filter is 100%, but I get so much mail, that it just cannot be that accurate. In fact, I have had recent difficulties lately with one of my accounts where the ISP is suddenly using a RBL driven spam filter and it is rejecting legitmate mail that I should be receiving. There is certainly much more to be done on that front.

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Wednesday, January 18th, 2006 by Don reports on a thirty-three person sting involving child porn. The arrests apparently involve people who used credit cards to buy some ugly stuff. We have previously written about how to report child pornography. The reality is that there is no way to effectively combat the problem because of the worldwide scope of the issue, limited budgets and understanding by local law enforcement, and the difficulty of tracking down the culprits.

Most mature adults would agree I think that child pornography is discusting business and like to see more enforcement. I hope this is the first of many steps in that direction. For cases involving immediate risk to a child, follow the suggestions on the CyberTipLine page.

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Wednesday, December 21st, 2005 by Don

Phishers are alive and well, and expecting to double their haul this holiday season! Just last week a domain we host was cracked and a phishing site was dropped onto the site. It appearred that as many as a dozen people dropped thier details before we could get the thing shut down. We of course worked backwards, found the hole and plugged it. It was impressive how quickly we were given notice of the issue by Godaddy. If you receive a phishing email, forward a copy to spoof at domain dot com, for example spoof at ebay dot com (obvioiusly reassemble that address). Both Ebay and PayPal for example will agressively pursue the site to shut it down, so the quicker you let them know, the quicker action can be taken to prevent loss to others.

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Monday, December 12th, 2005 by Don

This article at C-Net talks about a move to increase the level of investigation required to obtain a valid secure socket layer certificate. The reason alleged is that people are too easily getting secure certificates, leading to phishing schemes that look authentic.

I suspect the real reason is that it will increase the cost of the certificates, resulting in significant extra profits for the issuing companies. I daily get phishing scam emails. Many look very real in HTML format email, but always (thus far) are clearly bogus in plain text format.

The actual sites, when you visit them are impressive. A domain we sometimes work on was hacked last week (only our second incident of successful hacking) and GoDaddy flagged the domain almost immediately and closed the site until the content was removed. That was pretty impressive. I really doubt that phishers are purchasing secure certificates with great regularity to make their sites look secure. More likely they are hacking onto someones already secure site.

The other item of note is that MicroSoft is still talking about releasing Internet Explorer 7. Until they do — and probably after they do — go get a copy of FireFox 1.5 at

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Saturday, November 26th, 2005 by Don

An article in C-Net confirms something I saw first hand last week, the Sober worm is again in full swing. One of the biggest problems with big time proliferation on emails is that it clogs bandwidth, and can consume alotted disk space rapidly as inboxes and sent mailboxes fill. It will be interesting to see how many commercial users return from the four day Thanksgiving Holiday to email systems needing a serious dose of help due to overload. Even more of concern, perhaps, will be the rush of new emails as people return from the holiday, infect themselves and then share the fun in one big rush about mid-morning Monday when they all get back to work.

Some tips for safe email:
1. turn off html formatted email – read your email in plain text only
2. never open an attachment unless you know exactly what it is – resolve any doubt in follow-up communication with the sender before opening it
3. use Thunderbird or another alternative to Outlook or Outlook Express

1 Comment »

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