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Police E-Crime Unit Suspend 2000+ Counterfeit and Fraudulent E-Commerce Websites

It is unclear as to the origins of the suspended e-commerce sites, presumably they were all/mostly based in the UK, unfortunatley this information is not given for analysis.

The press release states that the Metropolitan Police E-Crime Unit suspended more than 2,000 e-commerce website deemded to be selling fake or non-existent goods. The e-commerce websites were offering low price goods from manufacturers such as GHD, Ugg, Tiffany and Nike. The goods were either counterfeit or never arrived, some sites also harvested credit card, bank details and personal information given by customers.

It is also unclear as to if the sites were suspended, siezed (pending further investgation and prosecution) or shut down.

If many gangs registered sites in bulk, how many actual gangs or criminals are under investigation, facing possible prosecution ? Would more information be beneficial to help the consumer/potential victim be better prepared, other than advising the usual update AV.. dedicated credit card for e-shopping.. etc ? Would releasing more details hinder further or current investigation or help consumers to avoid similar ilegal sites ?

“.. Police officers worked with domain registrars to identify the rogue traders and then used Nominet’s powers to seize and shut down the offending domains .. the E-Crime Unit said many gangs registered sites in bulk solely to dupe customers. He said the campaign to close the criminal sites would continue in the run-up to Christmas .. consumers should check a website’s credentials to ensure it was approved and reputable .. also consider using a credit card for payments over £100 and perhaps reserve one card for online shopping ..”

“The E-Crime Unit took similar action in 2010 when it shut down about 1,800 sites.”

So happy shopping with the usual rules, ie. you don’t get something for nothing, and if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

Police crackdown on fake shopping sites
BBC News, created 21 November 2011.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15820758 – (Full Article) – last access 23 November 2011

E-Crime Unit take down fraudulent websites
Metropolitan Police, created 18 November 2011.
http://content.met.police.uk/News/ECrime-Unit-take-down-fraudulent-websites/1400004634037/1257246745756 – (Full Article) – last access 23 November 2011

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Zetas gang beheads 4th internet blogger, anonymous outcry or Anonymous stepping in ?

Mexico gangsters have beheaded a 4th internet blogger by the name of Rascatripas (or Belly Scratcher) who was involved in moderating a blog called En Vivo, which posted news of criminal activities of the Zetas, a Mexican narcotics and extortion gang.

Recently a person said to be a member of Anonymous, has posted a video on YouTube claiming that the Zetas had kidnapped another Anonymous member.. threatening Zetas to return the victim unharmed or Anonymous will publish identities of Zetas and details of their protectors, in government and business.

Rumours of it being a possible hoax, have paralleled Anonymous publicising to drop the threat, due to the danger it posed to innocent lives.. although with comments like “wait and see” and more recently “expect us”, the jury is out.

Also, Police arrested two people in southern Veracruz state in September for posting rumors on Twitter about impending gangster attacks on schools. Following this Veracruz’s governor introduced a bill that would have outlawed such postings for “disturbing the public tranquility.” The bill was later dropped and the Twitter users released.

Gang sends message with blogger beheading
By Dudley Althaus, Houston Chronicle, 10 November 2011
http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Blogger-murdered-and-beheaded-in-Nuevo-Laredo-2260814.php – (Full Article) – last access 12 November 2011

Anonymous – Operation Zetas Hunt
TheAnonMessage, Youtube, posted 7 November 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lpJJgVfJD8 – (Video) – last access 12 November 2011

‘Hackers’ threaten Mexican drug cartel in YouTube film
BBC News Technology, 31 Ocotber 2011
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15520912 – (Full Article) – last access 12 November 2011

Anonymous Veracruz message to ZETA – English Mirror
lesleyblooddotcom, Youtube, posted 29 October 2011.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJORGO1Q2VY – (English Translated Video) – last access 12 November 2011

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Securing Freedom, What Tactics Should and Currently are Being Used to Combat Criminal Exploitation of the Internet, and is it Legal or Proportionate ?

A few recent broadcasts not too be missed..

Stephen Grey investigates the use of computer hacking by the police and security agencies to combat criminal exploitation of the internet and asks if it is legal.

“.. RIPA .. range of surveillance powers.. unspecified hardware/software, keyloggers..

software installed on suspect computers could be considered breaking section 3 of Computer Misuse Act, by altering data..

lack of clarity from authorities, Article 8 Human Rights Act, scope of states power must be disclosed and made clear what authorities will or won’t use ..

William Hague, who speaks for the government on computer security issues, said: “Any export of goods that could be used for internal repression is something we would want to stop” .. He also admitted the law governing software exports was a grey area ..”

UK firm denies ‘cyber-spy’ deal with Egypt
Stephen Grey, File on 4, BBC Radio 4, 20 September 2011
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14981672 – (Full Broadcast) – last access 23 September 2011

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Excellently delivered by Eliza, offering public insight into reasons behind securing freedom and perceived hypocrisy.

Her second Reith lecture of 2011, the former director-general of the British Security Service (MI5), Eliza Manningham-Buller, discusses policy priorities since 9/11. She reflects on the Arab Spring, and argues that the West’s support of authoritarian regimes did, to some extent, fuel the growth of al-Qaeda.

The Reith Lectures – Securing Freedom: 2011 : Freedom
Eliza Manningham-Buller, BBC Radio 4, 20 September 2011
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00k4053/The_Reith_Lectures_Eliza_ManninghamBuller_Lecture_3_Freedom/ – (Full Broadcast) – last access 23 September 2011

Her first and the previous Reith Lecture:

The Reith Lectures – Securing Freedom: 2011 : Security
Eliza Manningham-Buller, BBC Radio 4, 13 September 2011
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b014fcyw/The_Reith_Lectures_Securing_Freedom_2011_Eliza_ManninghamBuller_Security/ – (Full Broadcast) – last access 23 September 2011

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New CESG initiative builds on IISP Skills Framework in drive for greater professionalism in Information Assurance

“.. As part of the UK Government’s investment in cyber security, a consortium comprising the IISP (Institute of Information Security Professionals), CREST (Council for Registered Ethical Security Testers) and Royal Holloway’s Information Security Group (ISG) has been appointed by CESG to provide certification for UK Government Information Assurance (IA) professionals. The consortium has been awarded a licence to issue the CESG Certified Professional Mark based on the IISP Skills Framework, as part of a certification scheme driven by CESG, the IA arm of GCHQ ..

step forward in professionalising key Information Assurance roles needed by the public sector. It is also an important development along the path of securing the UK against cyber attack and protecting government and individuals’ data. CESG looks forward to continuing close co-operation with the IISP, CREST and Royal Holloway in delivering this IA Certification Service ..”

New CESG initiative builds on IISP Skills Framework in drive for greater professionalism in Information Assurance
PR-Inside, 22 September 2011
http://www.pr-inside.com/new-cesg-initiative-builds-on-iisp-r2823053.htm – last access 23 September 2011 – (Full article)

New CESG initiative builds on IISP Skills Framework
Forensic Focus, 22 September 2011
http://www.forensicfocus.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1730 – last access 23 September 2011 – (Full article)

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Some Current Law addressing the Distribution and Creation of Malware and Viruses

“.. In the UK, the introduction of malware is covered by section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act [2]. The Act states that a crime is committed if a person “does any act which causes an unauthorized modification of the contents of any computer” and the perpetrator intends to “cause a modification of the contents of any computer” which may “impair the operation of any computer”, “prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in any computer” or “impair the operation of any such program or the reliability of any such data” ..

Malware is generally distributed unintentionally subsequent to its initial creation. Thus an ICP or an ISP would not be found criminally liable under either the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act or the Computer Misuse Act for most cases of dissemination ..”

What the Law Says about Distributing a Virus or Malware
Craig S Wright, InfoSec Island, 20 September 2011
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/16567-What-the-Law-Says-about-Distributing-a-Virus-or-Malware.html – last access 22 September 2011 – (Full article)

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“.. The Japanese parliament has quietly passed legislation to make the creation or distribution of a virus or similar malware a criminal offense ..

the distribution of a virus created, for example, in the US, in Japan by a Japanese citizen, would come within the scope of the criminal law ..

what happens if the malware distribution takes place without the knowledge of the user of the computer, such as when a botnet is involved..

Legislators in Japan are less concerned about the semantics, however, as they say this is the country’s response to support the International Convention on Cybercrime, a treaty ratified by more than 30 countries and which mandates international co-operation in investigating crimes in cyberspace ..”

Creating or distributing malware in Japan is now a crime
InfoSecurity Magazine, 20 June 2011
http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/18782/creating-or-distributing-malware-in-japan-is-now-a-crime/ – last access 22 September 2011 – (Full article)

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Review of Disclosure in Criminal Proceedings (Judiciary of England and Wales)

” This is a review (“the review”) conducted at the request of and for the Lord Chief Justice, prompted by concerns as to the operation of the disclosure regime contained in the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996, as amended (“the CPIA”). ”

Review of Disclosure in Criminal Proceedings (Judiciary of England and Wales)
The Rt Hon. Lord Justice Gross
September 2011

Full Report: http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Reports/disclosure-review-september-2011.pdf

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The UK Forensic Science Society: Launch of the Digital Forensic Component Standards

The Society has announced the extension of its accreditation scheme to include two new Component Standards to address digital forensics:

  • Computer Network Evidence Recovery and Analysis
  • Digital Evidence Analysis Recovery and Preservation

These two new Standards plus the Core Standard of Interpretation, Evaluation and Presentation of Evidence (IEPE) make up the new Digital Component Standards.

http://www.forensic-science-society.org.uk/Accreditation/Launchofdigitalstandards

Launch event in the afternoon on 19th October 2011:
http://www.forensicsciencesociety.co.uk/Events/2011/Digital%20Launch

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Digital Forensics – ISO 27001, ISO 17025, ISO 17020 – Compliance, Accreditation and Best Practice

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredits against ISO 17025 and ISO 17020 and this is seen as an integral part of the quality framework and an expectation for those supplying forensic science services.

ISO 17025 can be applied to accredit any general laboratory and ASCLD-LAB, special purpose forensic laboratories.

Digital forensics is also key in implementing and maintaining an effective information security management system (ISMS) as specified by the ISO27001.

Control A.13.2.3 of the ISO 27001 Standard requires: in the event of a security incident any evidence presented in a criminal or civil action against an individual or company must fully conform to all relevant legislation. While this requirement is fairly obvious, it is crucial to the success of the legal process that the digital evidence is collected as accurately and reliably as possible.

The best practice as defined in clause 13.2.3 of the ISO 27002 Code of Practice (not a management standard, only best practice, cannot be accredited) recommends the preparation of an investigation procedure which includes the forensic collection of digital evidence together with the originals of all documents and witness details.

All such plans are major contributors to ensuring conformance to Clause 7.3 of the ISO 27001 Standard on preventative action which is of course essential to the maintenance of the ISMS continual process improvement.

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Going After the Money, Tracing Spammers with an End to End Analysis of the Spam Value Chain

Interesting publication of a paper at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2011 (California). The research (involving 15 authors) investigated purchasing spam products and amongst other things, focused on tracing the payments.

” .. The paper performs holistic analysis that quantifies the full set of resources employed to monetize spam email—including naming, hosting, payment and fulfillment—using extensive measurements of three months of diverse spam data, broad crawling of naming and hosting infrastructures, and over 100 purchases from spam-advertised sites. We relate these resources to the organizations who administer them and then use this data to characterize the relative prospects for defensive interventions at each link in the spam value chain. In particular, we provide the first strong evidence of payment bottlenecks in the spam value chain; 95% of spam-advertised pharmaceutical, replica and software products are monetized using merchant services from just a handful of banks ..

the so-called “spam value chain” involves; botnets, domain registration, name server provisioning, hosting services, and proxy services ..

spammers must also process orders, which requires “payment processing, merchant bank accounts, customer service, and fulfillment.” ..

95% of spam-advertised pharmaceutical, replica, and software products are monetized using merchant services from just a handful of banks ..

13 banks handling 95% of the 76 orders for which they received transaction information .. just three banks handled the majority of transactions: Azerigazbank in Azerbaijan, DnB NOR in Latvia (although the bank is headquartered in Norway), and St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank in the Caribbean ..

all software orders and 85% of pharmaceutical orders used the correct Visa “Merchant Category Code,” which identifies what’s been sold. “A key reason for this may be the substantial fines imposed by Visa on acquirers when miscoded merchant accounts are discovered ‘laundering’ high-risk goods,” ..

orders were fulfilled from 13 suppliers in four countries: the United States–Massachusetts, Utah, and Washington, all for herbal purchases, as well as West Virginia for pharmaceuticals–plus India, China, and New Zealand. Most pharmaceuticals came from India, while most herbal products came from the United States, likely due to weak regulations ..”

“3 Banks Service Majority Of Spam-Driven Sales”
Mathew J. Schwartz, InformationWeek 25 May 2011
http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/client/229625599 – last access 8 June 2011 – ( Full Article )

“Click Trajectories: End-to-End Analysis of the Spam Value Chain”
Kirill Levchenko et al., IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2011, Oakland, California, 24 May 2011
http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~savage/papers/Oakland11.pdf – last access 8 June 2011 – ( Full Journal )

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Who’s Keeping an Eye on Strauss-Kahn, “Prevent Flight” Forensic Services ?

Interesting article in Time regarding IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is currently on Bail in New York. Is this to be a new development in Digital Forensic services ?

“..IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on bail was moved from temporary lodgings on lower Broadway to a large townhouse in Tribeca. Keeping watch over him will be multiple “armed monitors” courtesy of security firm Stroz Friedberg.

– snip –

terms of Strauss-Kahn’s bail order, filed with the New York State Supreme Court on May 20, DSK is “confined to home detention 24 hours per day at an address in Manhattan.” He is permitted to leave the home only for court appearances, medical and legal appointments and religious observances, and the court must have six hours notice.

The people responsible for ensuring Strauss-Kahn’s compliance work for Stroz Friedberg LLC, a cyber security and computer forensics firm. According to “in-home detention protocols” prepared by the company, Stroz Friedberg employees will monitor Strauss-Kahn 24 hours a day, maintain a log of all visitors, search all visitors for weapon and have sole discretion to limit the type and number of visitors to DSK’s residence, along with any other measures that “may be required to prevent flight.”

– snip –

Stroz Friedberg previously kept watch over Bernard Madoff (2009). Ed Stroz made sure to emphasize this is not the firm’s “core expertise,” but rather a sideline business that coincidentally presented itself.

– snip –

Although the Strauss-Kahn case has kept them in the news, Stroz sees digital and cyber security as the most important growth area for the firm in the coming years.

– snip –

Stroz says, “but we’re kind of evolving into the firm you have to have if you’re a serious industry out there. Who isn’t at risk for litigation, regulatory scrutiny, trade secret theft, insider problems? And when that happens, that is not a normal business issue. And you don’t get good at this unless you’re kind of a jungle cat out there seeing things.”

..”

“Who’s Keeping an Eye on Strauss-Kahn?”
Nate Rawlings, TIME, 26 May 2011
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2074075,00.html – last access 27 May 2011 – ( Full Article )

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Operation Ore suspect Jeremy Clifford awarded damages after 8 years of battle

“.. A man wrongly accused in Britain’s largest ever child pornography investigation has won damages in the High Court after an eight-year legal battle.

Jeremy Clifford, 51, from Watford, was arrested and falsely charged in 2003 as part of Operation Ore. His credit card details had been found among those of thousands of British people on a list maintained by Landslide, a commercial provider of illegal pornography based in the US.

Hertfordshire Constabulary seized a computer that had belonged to Mr Clifford and discovered 10 illegal thumbnail images in its temporary internet files folder.

However, a senior High Court judge found on Friday that the arresting officer had been told by a computer forensics expert that the images were not sufficient evidence to charge.

“The images could have been received unsolicited by and even without the knowledge of the operator of the computer, for example as ‘pop-ups’,” said Mr Justice Mackay.

Despite this, the officer, Detective Constable Brian Hopkins, pressed three charges of possession of indecent images of children. Mr Justice Mackay said he cut a “rather pathetic figure” in the witness box, having initially claimed he could not give evidence because of a psychiatric condition.

– snip –

The finding was based on evidence the court heard from an internal investigation launched after Mr Clifford was formally cleared of all the allegations before trial. It found that Hertfordshire Constabulary’s forensics expert, George Fouhey, had advised against pressing charges ..”

“Judge hits police with massive bill over false Operation Ore charges”
Court correspondent, Policing, The Register UK, 4 April 2011
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/04/operation_ore_suspect_wins_damages/ – last access 5 April 2011 – ( Full Article )

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