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CRIMES


SO IS BITCOIN AS INFALLIBLE FROM HACKING INTO AS IS THOUGHT, READ THIS

th-Bitcoin1-90x60SHADOW COMPUTER HACKER ON GREEN IMAGE www.socialselect.net

Bitcoin is a decentralised, crypto-currency, free from any government or central bank control (see video). Electronic transactions can be virtually anonymous, with the currency bought and sold at online exchanges.

AAA

Tradefortress, a young Sydney man who told ABC News he was over 18, but only just, refused to give his real name to Fairfax Media.

He offered the wallet service through a website called Inputs.io. The Inputs.io domain is registered to a person with a landline based at a block of flats in Water Street, Hornsby, NSW, according to Fairfax searches.

The site claimed to be ‘‘one of the most secure web wallets on the market’’ and charged customers a small fee to store their coins.

As well as utilising two-factor authentication and location-based email confirmation, it claimed it was set-up to prevent ‘‘the hack of Bitcoins even if the web server was compromised’’.

It now seems that claim has been proven untrue, with Tradefortress telling users on the site: ‘‘I don’t recommend storing any Bitcoins accessible on computers connected to the internet.’’

In an email interview with Fairfax Media, he said he would try to refund some of the hacked money using more than 1000 Bitcoins he personally owned and some not taken by hackers.

‘‘Users are being repaid up to 100 per cent depending on the amount (sliding scale), generally 40-75 per cent,’’ Tradefortress said.

‘‘I won’t have any Bitcoins left after this, except for a small amount of commemorative physical coins.’’

He said the hackers who made off with his customers’ coins were able to bypass the two-factor authentication securing the server hosting them ‘‘due to a flaw’’.

‘‘The attacker compromised the hosting account through compromising email accounts (some very old, and without phone numbers attached, so it was easy to reset),’’ Tradefortress said.

Because of the hacking incident, he said some users would probably lose trust in Bitcoin.

‘‘I think that’s likely – we haven’t seen any extremely sophisticated Bitcoin malware, however advanced malware that infects the computer you use to send [Bitcoins] can steal [them] from external hard drives [and the] browser.’’

He said he won’t be reporting the incident to law enforcement because there were ‘‘extremely limited actions’’ it could undertake considering the currency can’t be easily traced.

Many of Input.io’s users were ‘‘quite understanding’’ of what had happened, Tradefortress said.

‘‘I’ve received a lot of comforting support, but there’s also ugly responses. It’s quite different from the reactions of non-customers.’’

The ugly responses were from users who accused Tradefortress of making up the hacking story.

‘‘Some people think I have their money. I don’t and I’m using my personal coins to compensate users, yet there’s some ugly messages I’m receiving.’’

A sad face emoticon now sits at the top of the Inputs.io site, with text telling users that the hacking has ‘‘left Inputs.io unable to pay all user balances’’.

‘‘I know this doesn’t mean much, but I’m sorry, and saying that I’m very sad that this happened is an understatement,’’ the notice says.

A customer wrote on Twitter that they had lost four Bitcoins as part of the heist, worth about $A1216 today.

‘‘I was the victim of part of a $1.2 million Bitcoin hack of an online wallet, inputs.io. If I’m lucky I’ll get my principal back in a refund,’’ wrote Marco Martoccia (@sheet_metal).

‘‘I still have one ninth of my Bitcoin. I dunno how to feel,’’ he added.

Martoccia told Fairfax he was planning on using the Bitcoins as a deposit for a house.

Bitcoin investor Marco Martoccia

‘‘I hope to get my Bitcoins back some day,’’ he said. ‘‘I was [going to] use [them] to buy a house and start a family with my girlfriend in six years.

‘‘Four Bitcoins isn’t a lot, but it was everything to me.’’

Martoccia said he stored his Bitcoins on Inputs.io because he believed it would be safer than storing them on his own computer.

‘‘On the surface it seems safer to keep Bitcoins in a bank [like Inputs.io]. I know people can just hack my computer, so I guess they’re still vulnerable, even in that case. And paper wallets can be plain lost!’

The owner of the Inputs.io domain name, Tradefortress has been traced back to this block of flats at Hornsby in NSW using domain registration records

Ty Miller, director of Australian IT security firm Threat Intelligence, said the underlying problem with online Bitcoin wallets was lack of regulation.

“The users of Inputs.io were trusting a random person with their money rather than in the real world when you’re dealing with cash, where you trust banks to look after your money,” he said.

“They’re more likely to become compromised because they’re not being audited in the same way that those financial organisations are.”

The Rserve Bank of Australia declined to comment.

Miller said there were ways to secure Bitcoins to try to avoid fraud or theft.

“But it’s really at this stage a personal effort to do that.”

He recommended storing coins with a strong password on a device not connected to the internet, using hard-drive encryption and anti-virus.

For extra protection, storing the device in a secure room or safe was also recommended. When it came time to using the Bitcoins online, the amount needed could be transferred to an internet-connected computer, he said.

At the time of writing, one Bitcoin was worth $A309 or $US292.9 – up from around $US50 in mid-March. There are 11,925,700 million Bitcoins in circulation.

Those who invested early in the virtual currency have recently found themselves far better off. A Norwegian man spent 150 kroner ($A28.44) on 5000 Bitcoins in 2009, they are now worth $A1.5 million.

AAA

Henry Sapiecha

gold dollar sign line

SO IS BITCOIN AS INFALLIBLE FROM HACKING INTO AS IS THOUGHT, READ THIS

th-Bitcoin1-90x60SHADOW COMPUTER HACKER ON GREEN IMAGE www.socialselect.net

Bitcoin is a decentralised, crypto-currency, free from any government or central bank control (see video). Electronic transactions can be virtually anonymous, with the currency bought and sold at online exchanges.

AAA

Tradefortress, a young Sydney man who told ABC News he was over 18, but only just, refused to give his real name to Fairfax Media.

He offered the wallet service through a website called Inputs.io. The Inputs.io domain is registered to a person with a landline based at a block of flats in Water Street, Hornsby, NSW, according to Fairfax searches.

The site claimed to be ‘‘one of the most secure web wallets on the market’’ and charged customers a small fee to store their coins.

As well as utilising two-factor authentication and location-based email confirmation, it claimed it was set-up to prevent ‘‘the hack of Bitcoins even if the web server was compromised’’.

It now seems that claim has been proven untrue, with Tradefortress telling users on the site: ‘‘I don’t recommend storing any Bitcoins accessible on computers connected to the internet.’’

In an email interview with Fairfax Media, he said he would try to refund some of the hacked money using more than 1000 Bitcoins he personally owned and some not taken by hackers.

‘‘Users are being repaid up to 100 per cent depending on the amount (sliding scale), generally 40-75 per cent,’’ Tradefortress said.

‘‘I won’t have any Bitcoins left after this, except for a small amount of commemorative physical coins.’’

He said the hackers who made off with his customers’ coins were able to bypass the two-factor authentication securing the server hosting them ‘‘due to a flaw’’.

‘‘The attacker compromised the hosting account through compromising email accounts (some very old, and without phone numbers attached, so it was easy to reset),’’ Tradefortress said.

Because of the hacking incident, he said some users would probably lose trust in Bitcoin.

‘‘I think that’s likely – we haven’t seen any extremely sophisticated Bitcoin malware, however advanced malware that infects the computer you use to send [Bitcoins] can steal [them] from external hard drives [and the] browser.’’

He said he won’t be reporting the incident to law enforcement because there were ‘‘extremely limited actions’’ it could undertake considering the currency can’t be easily traced.

Many of Input.io’s users were ‘‘quite understanding’’ of what had happened, Tradefortress said.

‘‘I’ve received a lot of comforting support, but there’s also ugly responses. It’s quite different from the reactions of non-customers.’’

The ugly responses were from users who accused Tradefortress of making up the hacking story.

‘‘Some people think I have their money. I don’t and I’m using my personal coins to compensate users, yet there’s some ugly messages I’m receiving.’’

A sad face emoticon now sits at the top of the Inputs.io site, with text telling users that the hacking has ‘‘left Inputs.io unable to pay all user balances’’.

‘‘I know this doesn’t mean much, but I’m sorry, and saying that I’m very sad that this happened is an understatement,’’ the notice says.

A customer wrote on Twitter that they had lost four Bitcoins as part of the heist, worth about $A1216 today.

‘‘I was the victim of part of a $1.2 million Bitcoin hack of an online wallet, inputs.io. If I’m lucky I’ll get my principal back in a refund,’’ wrote Marco Martoccia (@sheet_metal).

‘‘I still have one ninth of my Bitcoin. I dunno how to feel,’’ he added.

Martoccia told Fairfax he was planning on using the Bitcoins as a deposit for a house.

Bitcoin investor Marco Martoccia

‘‘I hope to get my Bitcoins back some day,’’ he said. ‘‘I was [going to] use [them] to buy a house and start a family with my girlfriend in six years.

‘‘Four Bitcoins isn’t a lot, but it was everything to me.’’

Martoccia said he stored his Bitcoins on Inputs.io because he believed it would be safer than storing them on his own computer.

‘‘On the surface it seems safer to keep Bitcoins in a bank [like Inputs.io]. I know people can just hack my computer, so I guess they’re still vulnerable, even in that case. And paper wallets can be plain lost!’

The owner of the Inputs.io domain name, Tradefortress has been traced back to this block of flats at Hornsby in NSW using domain registration records

Ty Miller, director of Australian IT security firm Threat Intelligence, said the underlying problem with online Bitcoin wallets was lack of regulation.

“The users of Inputs.io were trusting a random person with their money rather than in the real world when you’re dealing with cash, where you trust banks to look after your money,” he said.

“They’re more likely to become compromised because they’re not being audited in the same way that those financial organisations are.”

The Rserve Bank of Australia declined to comment.

Miller said there were ways to secure Bitcoins to try to avoid fraud or theft.

“But it’s really at this stage a personal effort to do that.”

He recommended storing coins with a strong password on a device not connected to the internet, using hard-drive encryption and anti-virus.

For extra protection, storing the device in a secure room or safe was also recommended. When it came time to using the Bitcoins online, the amount needed could be transferred to an internet-connected computer, he said.

At the time of writing, one Bitcoin was worth $A309 or $US292.9 – up from around $US50 in mid-March. There are 11,925,700 million Bitcoins in circulation.

Those who invested early in the virtual currency have recently found themselves far better off. A Norwegian man spent 150 kroner ($A28.44) on 5000 Bitcoins in 2009, they are now worth $A1.5 million.

AAA

Henry Sapiecha

gold dollar sign line

SHOULD CHINA BE IMMUNE FROM IT CRIMINAL PROSECUTION

Google chairman Eric Schmidt brands China in his coming book an internet menace that sanctions cyber crime for economic and political gain, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The New Digital Age authored by Schmidt in collaboration with Jared Cohen, a former US State Department adviser who now heads a Google Ideas think tank, is due for release by Random House in April.

The book looks at how the internet impacts culture, commerce, politics and other aspects of life, while depicting China as a powerful and dangerous force in this new world, according to the Journal.


The authors called China the most prolific hacker of foreign companies and the most enthusiastic filterer of information.

“The disparity between American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and the companies of the United States at a distinct disadvantage,” the newspaper quoted the authors as saying in the book.

“The United States will not take the same path of digital corporate espionage” due to stricter laws and the American “sense of fair play”, it added.

The book reportedly also points to US flaws, such as Washington’s suspected role in a Stuxnet virus that targeted nuclear facilities in Iran and private companies here that sell surveillance technology to oppressive regimes.

Schmidt and his co-author verge on suggesting that Western governments emulate China when it comes to building tight relationships between government interests and moves by technology companies, according to the Journal.

Countries stand to have an advantage if the gear and software they use to get online is made by companies they can trust, the book reportedly argues.

“Where Huawei gains market share, the influence and reach of China grow as well,” the Journal quoted the authors as writing.

Despite unscrupulously using internet technology to its advantage, China will see “some kind of revolution in the coming decades” as citizens armed with digital age gadgets are pitted against tight government controls, the book is said to predict.

AFP



Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

CHINESE COMPUTER HACKERS ENCOURAGED BY THEIR GOV

JOURNALISTS are on notice. If you investigate the Chinese government, Chinese hackers will come after you.

That’s what you should conclude from the disclosure by The New York Times that it was hacked for four months by attackers it suspects were associated with the Chinese military.

The likely motive, the Times said, was retaliation for the newspaper’s investigation into the wealth amassed by the family of China’s Premier, Wen Jiabao.

This was not the first time Chinese hackers had attacked journalists. They infiltrated Bloomberg News last year, the Times reported. They have also gone after the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and other Western media.

The outcome might be chilling: now that a Chinese attack on The New York Times is international news, any dissident or potential whistleblower in China will be wary of talking to journalists. In other words, the hack worked.

The attack on The New York Times points out why cyber-attacks are such an effective weapon, especially when aimed at journalists.

The Times was quickly on to the hackers as the paper had expected a response to its investigation, and AT&T, which had been monitoring the paper’s network, alerted the Times to a potential hack on the day it published the Wen investigation.

But anticipating the hackers would come in response to the Wen Jiabao expose did not really help the Times – the hackers still managed to obtain the corporate passwords of every one of its employees and broke into the PCs of 53 of them. They also infiltrated the email accounts of two reporters who cover China, including David Barboza, who conducted the investigation into Mr Wen’s family.

Unfortunately, security experts said, the Times could not be sure the hackers were gone, nor that they did not find anything of value.

Until now, a government or criminal enterprise had two options if did not like something a reporter had written – it could shut down the outlet or kill the journalist. Hacking presents a third option, one that is far more nuanced and effective.

It is anonymous and China can maintain plausible denials.

The hackers can get what they want – a reporter’s sources, information about how a news outlet works and who to cozy up to, perhaps personal information that could be helpful for blackmail – all without anyone finding out.

Hacking crosses borders. In the past a foreign paper would have been more protected from Chinese governmental repercussions than a local paper. Not any more. Now hackers can get you anywhere, and they can make life hell for everyone you work with.

Finally and most importantly, hacking is almost impossible to defend against.

Journalists have to use computers and the internet. If they do that, they are opening themselves to attack.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

SICKENING SPECTACLE THAT IS THE AFRICAN STATE OF THE CONGO

Mariam Twaibu Shirika

Mariam

Mariam Twaibu Shirika isn’t strong enough to work after the injuries she sustained when she was raped in her home 18 months ago. Now living in Goma in accommodation provided by Women for Women. Has three surviving children, three others died of illness in 1989.

My name is Miriam Shirika and I am weak. I am in the women’s group because of housing problems.

I was living with my mum, my children and my siblings in a tent where I also had a small stall.

On December 5, 2007, thugs broke into my house. They took everything that I had at that time. They broke in a second time on December 27th. They met nothing so they decided to rape.

There were four. They were in civilian clothing not in military clothing, and they were speaking Kinyrwandan, the language from Rwanda.

They tore everything with a knife, everything: all the clothes. They raped me before my brothers, my sister, my mother, my uncle and the children. So they intimidated them.

They did this act in their presence, they blocked my shoulders and they started to rape me in the presence of all.

The aim was to rape me and my children together. They stopped as I was struggling a lot. One of them locked my shoulder this side, another this side, another one took this leg, pulling it so one of them succeeded in raping me. My children were there and the children saw everything so I’m quite sure it affected them, my children.

The children were there, my mother was there, everybody was there. I was very ashamed because they were seeing me at every moment, my nakedness at every moment.

When I was raped I was mentally upset. I could be walking along the road, not concentrating. I couldn’t even see the car that was coming.

Then one day the [Women for Women] enrolment team was passing by. They met me and they saw that I had a problem and they took me as a special case.

I would go crazy but Women for Women are giving me morale and hope and they showed me how to live again and that’s why I’m trying to be strong for the sake of my children. And now I am getting a little bit better as we are getting the training about trauma.

Since that time I have stopped selling as I do not feel strong enough to do any activity.

I’m living in a house I rent for $3 a month. It’s in a very critical bad condition. When it rains I get wet. I am living like a bird, I don’t know whether I am going to eat or not.

I have a boy and two daughters. The first one is in high school, 6th form, but now he is not going to school. I can’t pay the school fees. He is now 24 years old.

The youngest daughter is in year five. She’ll be 13 in July.

The other daughter is now a street girl, she is not living with me now. She is 15 years old. I haven’t seen her for one month now. I don’t know what’s going on. I think she has met with some friends who are better off, who are from another class other than mine. And I even don’t have time to look for her because I have to struggle for the other one just to get something, just food.

When I moved I felt a little bit relieved. I couldn’t talk with [my children] about such an issue.

What can I tell them? I don’t know what to tell them. Even the relationship with my 15-year-old has worsened. I’m ashamed of myself, of what happened. I don’t feel responsible for those children.

Yafanshize

Yafanshize

Yafanshize Nihargwe was married at 17 and is now 22 years old. She and her husband were farmers in Massisi. She has been at Heal Africa in Goma since April 2004 with fistula, after being gang raped by soldiers while she was fleeing her home.

When I was eight months pregnant [my husband and I] ran away because of war.

One night we were in a field and we were visited by soldiers. Six soldiers took me and raped me, and then they took my husband. If he died or if he is alive, I don’t know.

And when they raped me, as I was eight months pregnant, the water began to break.

And then during the morning the ones who ran away far from where [the soldiers] were began to look for people who had died, and found that I was alive.

They took me up to the road and they brought me here to Goma. And [Heal Africa] begin to treat me.

There were so many patients at the hospital, so then they brought me here (to Heal Africa transit centre accommodation).

Now I have had five surgeries. I haven’t recovered yet and I am waiting for the sixth one.

The Interhamwe took my husband and I don’t know where he is. Sometimes when I think about my husband and how they took him, I think that he died.

My parents died while they were walking from the war. I have one brother and one sister left in Massisi. Five were killed during the war.

I used to pray and if God helps me to be well, to recover I will work only for God.

In a future life I cannot cultivate like before they raped me. Now if I am well I would go to the road with a machine and begin to sew for people.

If I recover I will get a place here in Goma, I can’t go back to Massisi. They say in Massisi the war continues, how could I go back?

Zamunda Sikujuwa

Zamunda

Zamunda Sikujuwa is 53 years old. Mai Mai rebels raped her and killed her husband and children in 2006. She blames her relatives for turning to the rebels and causing the attack.

I’m here for treatment for the way they broke my body.

I came from Kindu because I was left with nothing, not even my children. That’s what brought me here to Heal Africa.

Local soldiers and Mai Mai arrived in the village. After five days, seven people came and we had to give them money.

One night at 4am there was a big attack by soldiers. Then they took my husband.

The children were there and they brought the husband into the room, and they killed him. The children were killed at the same moment.

Then they entered the room and they put a gun into my private part.

People from across the road took me to a local hospital. A priest had me flown to Baucavu. I had surgery in Baucavu.

If I went back to Kindu [the soldiers] said they would cut up my body and eat my body so I have to stay in Goma. If I went back to Kindu I would die.

In the beginning was very difficult to walk.

I need to find somewhere to live.

I wake up every night thinking of my husband and my children. I wish sometimes soldiers would have killed me so I can’t live. I don’t have anywhere to go and no one to care for me.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

?THOUSANDS OF WEB SITES DESTROYED BY HACKERS

At least 4800 Australian websites have been lost with no chance of recovery following a break-in at Australian domain registrar and web host Distribute.IT.

The hack attack caused so much damage that four of the company’s servers were “unrecoverable”, the company said, leaving thousands of website owners in the lurch.

“The overall magnitude of the tragedy and the loss of our information and yours is simply incalculable; and we are distressed by the actions of the parties responsible for this reprehensible act,” Distribute.IT said.

As reported by Fairfax Media last week, Distribute.IT was hit with a “deliberate, premeditated and targeted attack” on its servers last Saturday but it is still struggling to work out exactly what happened or how much data was stolen.

Security experts warned that thousands of websites were vulnerable to being hijacked and extensive private data were at risk of being stolen.

Customers hit the Whirlpool forums to complain that Distribute.IT had not adequately responded with information about the break-in and that the hack “has probably killed my business”.

In a statement published today, Distribute.IT said it had been working around the clock in an attempt to recover data from its affected servers.

“At this time, We regret to inform that the data, sites and emails that were hosted on Drought, Hurricane, Blizzard and Cyclone can be considered by all the experts to be unrecoverable,” it said.

“While every effort will be made to continue to gain access to the lost information from those hosting servers, it seems unlikely that any usable data will can be salvaged from these platforms.

“In assessing the situation, our greatest fears have been confirmed that not only was the production data erased during the attack, but also key backups, snapshots and other information that would allow us to reconstruct these servers from the remaining data.”

The company said 4800 websites were affected and since it did not have the capacity to transfer the domain names to other parts of its platform, Distribute.IT had no choice “but to assist you in any way possible to transfer your hosting and email needs to other hosting providers”.

The significant data loss has raised questions from backup experts as to why Distribute.IT did not appear to have offsite backups of customer data.

Distribute.IT has still not been able to get its website back online and it is using a Google Blogger account to update customers. Its phone lines have been ringing out and its email is down, forcing the company to use a temporary Gmail addresss – distributeit888@gmail.com.

Rob McAdam, CEO of security firm Pure Hacking, said the issue was a “catastrophic problem” for those with websites hosted by Distribute.IT.

“If these clients of Distribute.IT had no other backup other than what was at Distribute.IT, they would then have to rebuild their site – from scratch,” he said.

“From the Distribute.IT blog post, it appears that they have lost all of the content for these web sites and any associated backups that Distribute.IT kept.”

James Turner, security analyst at IBRS, said: “This could be the nightmare scenario that every small/medium businessperson working on the internet has in the back of their minds. If the attack is as described then the malice behind it is appalling.”

On the Whirlpool discussion forums, where there are over 60 pages of posts discussing the Distribute.IT hack, customers were livid at finding out their data was gone forever.

“I think I’m in shock … I have lost everything …. I couldnt possibly replicate all those years of work again … my whole lifes work is gone down the drain,” wrote one.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha