Monday, April 2, 2012

Via Infowars: Arizona Passes Sweeping Internet Censorship Bill

The state legislature of Arizona has passed a bill that vastly broadens telephone harassment laws and applies them to the Internet and other means of electronic communication.
More: http://www.infowars.com/arizona-passes-sweeping-internet-censorship-bill/

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sixteen Individuals Arrested in the United States for Alleged Roles in Cyber Attacks

More Than 35 Search Warrants Executed in United States, Five Arrests in Europe as Part of Ongoing Cyber Investigations

Fourteen individuals were arrested today by FBI agents on charges related to their alleged involvement in a cyber attack on PayPal’s website as part of an action claimed by the group “Anonymous,” announced the Department of Justice and the FBI. Two additional defendants were arrested today on cyber-related charges.

The 14 individuals were arrested in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, and Ohio on charges contained in an indictment unsealed today in the Northern District of California in San Jose. In addition, two individuals were arrested on similar charges in two separate complaints filed in the Middle District of Florida and the District of New Jersey. Also today, FBI agents executed more than 35 search warrants throughout the United States as part of an ongoing investigation into coordinated cyber attacks against major companies and organizations. Finally, the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police Service arrested one person and the Dutch National Police Agency arrested four individuals today for alleged related cyber crimes.

According to the San Jose indictment, in late November 2010, WikiLeaks released a large amount of classified U.S. State Department cables on its website. Citing violations of the PayPal terms of service, and in response to WikiLeaks’ release of the classified cables, PayPal suspended WikiLeaks’ accounts so that WikiLeaks could no longer receive donations via PayPal. WikiLeaks’ website declared that PayPal’s action “tried to economically strangle WikiLeaks.”

The San Jose indictment alleges that in retribution for PayPal’s termination of WikiLeaks’ donation account, a group calling itself Anonymous coordinated and executed distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against PayPal’s computer servers using an open source computer program the group makes available for free download on the Internet. DDoS attacks are attempts to render computers unavailable to users through a variety of means, including saturating the target computers or networks with external communications requests, thereby denying service to legitimate users. According to the indictment, Anonymous referred to the DDoS attacks on PayPal as “Operation Avenge Assange.”

The defendants charged in the San Jose indictment allegedly conspired with others to intentionally damage protected computers at PayPal from Dec. 6, 2010, to Dec. 10, 2010.

The individuals named in the San Jose indictment are: Christopher Wayne Cooper, 23, aka “Anthrophobic;” Joshua John Covelli, 26, aka “Absolem” and “Toxic;” Keith Wilson Downey, 26; Mercedes Renee Haefer, 20, aka “No” and “MMMM;” Donald Husband, 29, aka “Ananon;” Vincent Charles Kershaw, 27, aka “Trivette,” “Triv” and “Reaper;” Ethan Miles, 33; James C. Murphy, 36; Drew Alan Phillips, 26, aka “Drew010;” Jeffrey Puglisi, 28, aka “Jeffer,” “Jefferp” and “Ji;” Daniel Sullivan, 22; Tracy Ann Valenzuela, 42; and Christopher Quang Vo, 22. One individual’s name has been withheld by the court.

The defendants are charged with various counts of conspiracy and intentional damage to a protected computer. They will make initial appearances throughout the day in the districts in which they were arrested.

In addition to the activities in San Jose, Scott Matthew Arciszewski, 21, was arrested today by FBI agents on charges of intentional damage to a protected computer. Arciszewski is charged in a complaint filed in the Middle District of Florida and made his initial appearance this afternoon in federal court in Orlando, Fla.

According to the complaint, on June 21, 2011, Arciszewski allegedly accessed without authorization the Tampa Bay InfraGard website and uploaded three files. The complaint alleges that Arciszewski then tweeted about the intrusion and directed visitors to a separate website containing links with instructions on how to exploit the Tampa InfraGard website. InfraGard is a public-private partnership for critical infrastructure protection sponsored by the FBI with chapters in all 50 states.

Also today, a related complaint unsealed in the District of New Jersey charges Lance Moore, 21, of Las Cruces, N.M., with allegedly stealing confidential business information stored on AT&T’s servers and posting it on a public file sharing site. Moore was arrested this morning at his residence by FBI agents and is expected to make an initial appearance this afternoon in Las Cruces federal court. Moore is charged in with one count of accessing a protected computer without authorization.

According to the New Jersey complaint, Moore, a customer support contractor, exceeded his authorized access to AT&T’s servers and downloaded thousands of documents, applications and other files that, on the same day, he allegedly posted on a public file-hosting site that promises user anonymity. According to the complaint, on June 25, 2011, the computer hacking group LulzSec publicized that they had obtained confidential AT&T documents and made them publicly available on the Internet. The documents were the ones Moore had previously uploaded.

The charge of intentional damage to a protected computer carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

An indictment and a complaint merely contain allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

To date, more than 75 searches have taken place in the United States as part of the ongoing investigations into these attacks.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Northern District of California, Middle District of Florida, and the District of New Jersey. The Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section also has provided assistance.

Today’s operational activities were done in coordination with the Metropolitan Police Service in the United Kingdom and the Dutch National Police Agency. The FBI thanks the multiple international, federal, and domestic law enforcement agencies who continue to support these operations.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New cell phone app allows beachgoers to report marine debris

With summer around the corner, millions worldwide will head to pristine beaches and waterways. However, with items such as bottles, cans and other debris washing up on U.S. shores each year, the University of Georgia and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, have teamed up to create a new, innovative cell phone reporting mechanism to combat the marine debris problem.

The Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative, or SEA-MDI, housed at UGA and a critical part of a partnership with the NOAA Marine Debris Program, hopes to empower citizens in protecting their beaches and coastal waters through a newly launched mobile application that tracks where debris is accumulating.

The tool is important for engaging with beachgoers and stakeholders and is geared at giving the public another way to be a part of the marine debris solution globally, said Jenna Jambeck, assistant professor of environmental engineering in the UGA Faculty of Engineering and one of the app’s developers.

Available through iTunes and the Android Market, the easy-to-use Marine Debris Tracker app can be downloaded for use on iPhones and Android phones. The simple tool allows users to report and record the type and location of debris through GPS features pre-installed on a cell phone. The data submitted is posted on an interactive website (www.marinedebris.engr.uga.edu) that allows data to be viewed and downloaded for users to design plans to prevent marine debris.

Jambeck said the app is one way the initiative is trying to reach people and raise awareness of marine debris. “If you are noticing marine debris, you are also much less likely to litter,” she said. “While this app collects data, one of its primary goals is to educate the public about marine debris and its harmful impacts.”

“We are very excited about the innovative products that have resulted from our partnership with the University of Georgia,” said David Holst, acting director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program. “This app brings the issue into the forefront and empowers the public to take a proactive step in mitigating the problem.”

Marine debris kills wildlife through ingestion and entanglement. It also can have an economic impact on the tourism industry and other coastal businesses by affecting the aesthetics of beaches and waterways. Jambeck and co-developer Kyle Johnsen, assistant professor of computer systems engineering in the UGA Faculty of Engineering, hope that the Marine Debris Tracker tool will help officials make decisions about how to mitigate marine debris, from supplying more comprehensive waste management, such as trash cans, to providing recycling and disposal opportunities for fishing gear.

SEA-MDI (http://sea-mdi.engr.uga.edu/) is a new regional partnership between the NOAA Marine Debris Program and a consortium of organizations in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The initiative aims to create collaborative regional strategies that address marine debris prevention, reduction and mitigation.

For more information on NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, see http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Microsoft to Acquire Skype

/PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: "MSFT") and Skype Global S.a r.l today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire Skype, the leading Internet communications company, for $8.5 billion in cash from the investor group led by Silver Lake. The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Skype.

The acquisition will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications, bringing benefits to both consumers and enterprise users and generating significant new business and revenue opportunities. The combination will extend Skype's world-class brand and the reach of its networked platform, while enhancing Microsoft's existing portfolio of real-time communications products and services.

With 170 million connected users and over 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010, Skype has been a pioneer in creating rich, meaningful connections among friends, families and business colleagues globally. Microsoft has a long-standing focus and investment in real-time communications across its various platforms, including Lync (which saw 30 percent revenue growth in Q3), Outlook, Messenger, Hotmail and Xbox LIVE.

Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.

"Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world."

Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, and Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division, reporting directly to Ballmer.

"Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers," said Tony Bates. "Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype's plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate," Bates said.

"Tony Bates has a great track record as a leader and will strengthen the Microsoft management team. I'm looking forward to Skype's talented global workforce bringing its insights, ideas and experience to Microsoft," Ballmer said.

Speaking on behalf of the investor group that sold Skype to Microsoft, Egon Durban, managing director of Silver Lake, said: "We are thrilled with Skype's transformation during the period of our ownership and grateful for the extraordinary commitment of its management team and employees. We are excited about Skype's long-term future with Microsoft, as it is poised to become one of the world's most dynamic and comprehensive communications platforms."

Founded in 2003, Skype was acquired by eBay in September 2005, and then acquired by an investment group led by Silver Lake in November 2009. Skype has made impressive progress over the past 18 months under Silver Lake's leadership, increasing monthly calling minutes by 150 percent, developing new revenue streams and strategic partnerships, acquiring the intellectual property powering its peer-to-peer network, and recruiting an outstanding senior management team.

Other members of the selling investor group led by Silver Lake include eBay International AG, CPP Investment Board, Joltid Limited in partnership with Europlay Capital Advisors; and Andreessen Horowitz.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The parties hope to obtain all required regulatory clearances during the course of this calendar year.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Malicious Software Features Usama bin Laden Links to Ensnare Unsuspecting Computer Users

The FBI today warns computer users to exercise caution when they receive e-mails that purport to show photos or videos of Usama bin Laden’s recent death. This content could be a virus that could damage your computer. This malicious software, or “malware,” can embed itself in computers and spread to users’ contact lists, thereby infecting the systems of associates, friends, and family members. These viruses are often programmed to steal your personally identifiable information.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) urges computer users to not open unsolicited (spam) e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages. Even if the sender is familiar, the public should exercise due diligence. Computer owners must ensure they have up-to-date firewall and anti-virus software running on their machines to detect and deflect malicious software.

The IC3 recommends the public do the following:

* Adjust the privacy settings on social networking sites you frequent to make it more difficult for people you know and do not know to post content to your page. Even a “friend” can unknowingly pass on multimedia that’s actually malicious software.
* Do not agree to download software to view videos. These applications can infect your computer.
* Read e-mails you receive carefully. Fraudulent messages often feature misspellings, poor grammar, and nonstandard English.
* Report e-mails you receive that purport to be from the FBI. Criminals often use the FBI’s name and seal to add legitimacy to their fraudulent schemes. In fact, the FBI does not send unsolicited e-mails to the public. Should you receive unsolicited messages that feature the FBI’s name, seal, or that reference a division or unit within the FBI or an individual employee, report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

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Use Your Mobile Phone to Receive Alerts on Approaching Storms

/PRNewswire/ -- With the South still reeling from the devastating effects of last week's tornados, the need for effective and actionable communication during a storm has never been more apparent.

Global Alert Network (GAN) is the first-ever hands-free audio alert application for mobile phones. The app is free to download and is currently available on BlackBerry and Android devices through AppWorld and Android Market.

Scott Hughes, President of Global Alert Network, stated "While weather radios are essential for every home in tornado alley, there are times when you're just not around it to hear the warning. The one device that is with people everywhere they go now is their mobile phone. Our alerts are literally with you wherever you are, delivering up to date important local weather warnings and emergency information."

More than 1,500 alerts were sent out to the southern part of the country last week warning residents of the impending tornados. Global Alert Network works with content provider AccuWeather.com, a company that provides users all over the world with the best possible weather forecasts and warnings.

"What makes this application unique is that it initiates automatically – much like a ringtone – and plays the alert without the need for the consumer to interact with his or her mobile phone," continued Mr. Hughes. "Alerts are geo-targeted to the user's location to provide timely, accurate information about weather, traffic conditions and certain emergency alerts."

Traffic, weather and emergency notifications are the channels that are currently available on the Global Alert Network platform. The Company plans to expand its content channels to include entertainment, sports and news.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Georgia DOT Re-Launches Improved NaviGAtor 511 Travel Information System: Features New Technology, Smart-Phone App & Sponsorship Partners

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Georgia Department of Transportation, home of one of the most popular, heavily used real-time traveler information systems in the country, today unveiled the next generation of Georgia NaviGAtor 511. The new system brings new features and, through a public-private partnership, new sponsors, allowing the Department and its 511 provider, Meridian Environmental Technology, Inc., an Iteris company, to operate and maintain the system at no cost to Georgia taxpayers.

“People are very mobile and need to know traffic and road conditions before and during their trip”

This is the first major upgrade of the Georgia NaviGAtor 511 system since its inception for the 1996 Olympic Games and is part of a federal effort to establish traveler information services nationwide. The new platform creates a foundation for many new traveler information enhancements planned for the future, such as statewide congestion reporting and 511 services in Spanish.

PepsiCo, and its blockbuster-selling brand, Mountain Dew, is the first nationally-recognized brand to sponsor the state’s new Georgia NaviGAtor 511 system. Company promotions will lead the system’s sponsorship program, complete with Mountain Dew truck-back artwork and sponsor messaging on 511 services.

“By engaging sponsorship opportunities, we can continue to provide vital services to travelers in a time of unprecedented funding challenges,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Vance C. Smith, Jr. “Our ongoing mission is to keep travelers safe and informed and to provide for their mobility throughout the state. The Department is recognized as a national leader in traveler information services and this represents a natural growth and progression of that innovation.”

One feature new to the NaviGAtor 511 system is the 511 App, the official traveler information mobile phone application of Georgia. It provides real-time, location-based traveler information on Georgia’s highways, digital coupons and promotions as well as other special offers of interest to travelers.

“The original Georgia NaviGAtor system served the state well for many years, but it was limited relative to what we can offer with today’s technology,” said Mark Demidovich, Assistant State Traffic Engineer. “We’ve retained most of the features that our users favored; added a mobile app with special offers for travelers; and established a robust foundation for future NaviGAtor and 511 expansions.”

The integrated Georgia NaviGAtor 511 sponsorship program includes four program components:

* The 511 phone system, developed by Meridian, which has received over 5 million calls since inception in August 2007 and is being expanded to accommodate brief sponsor messages and future concierge-style services;
* The main Georgia NaviGAtor website, 511ga.org, redesigned and developed by Meridian, Iteris, and partners,
* The mobile app, developed by 511Live, LLC, now available as a free download for iPhone users (Blackberry and Droid apps coming soon); and,
* Signs on the state right-of-way to promote the 511 program and its sponsors, managed by Revelation Outdoor, LLC.

**Georgia NaviGator, 511 App and integrated sponsorship programs, promoted and managed by 511Live, LLC.

“People are very mobile and need to know traffic and road conditions before and during their trip,” said Leon Osborne, president and CEO of Meridian Environmental Technology, Inc. “The new NaviGAtor website and mobile app will make it easier to plan trips, avoid problem areas, and reach destinations more quickly and safely."

To demonstrate the power of the system, the new applications, and the special offers available, Georgia 511 is planning a major summer promotion to coincide with the summer travel and construction season.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is committed to providing a safe, seamless, and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia’s economy and is sensitive to both its citizens and its environment. For general information on the Georgia DOT, please visit www.dot.ga.gov.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Verizon Wireless Launches 'Know It Forward' in Georgia to Raise Awareness of Sexual Assault Among Young Adults

/PRNewswire/ -- Verizon Wireless announces today (April 4) the launch of "Know It Forward," a social media campaign aimed at increasing awareness of sexual assault, particularly among college students and young adults, for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).

Throughout the month of April, Verizon Wireless is joining colleges and universities across Georgia to educate students about the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses and encourage them to visit www.KnowItForward.com to find out how to reduce the risk and discover ways to share the information with their personal network through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social channels.

"Because of our strong relationships with universities across Georgia as well as nonprofits that focus on sexual assault and domestic violence, we feel this program provides a real opportunity to reach young people and help educate them on this important issue," said Jeff Mango, president – Georgia/Alabama Region for Verizon Wireless. "Our goal is to facilitate and promote peer-to-peer discussions and provide facts and information in a way that is impactful, memorable and easy to share with friends and family."

College-age women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than the general public, with an estimated one in four female college students becoming victims of sexual assault during their college career, according to studies from the U.S. Department of Justice. As such, sexual assault is an issue of significant concern on college campuses throughout the state, with the majority actively providing resources to educate students and the public about sexual assault prevention and awareness.

"At VSU, we strive to prepare our students not only academically, but also through awareness and prevention efforts. Along with Sexual Assault Awareness events held in April, we provide various opportunities throughout the year for students to learn how to keep themselves safe on campus and in the community," notes Holly Wright, health educator and RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) coordinator for Valdosta State University.

In support of collegiate SAAM efforts throughout the state, Verizon Wireless is working with various student organizations and awareness/prevention programs at Augusta State, Clark Atlanta, Kennesaw State, Mercer, South Georgia College, Spelman, University of Georgia and Valdosta State to bring the campaign to students through campus-specific efforts and by joining scheduled campus events.

Know it. Forward it. KnowItForward.com. For information on national sexual assault statistics, awareness and prevention tips, and regional assistance programs, visit www.KnowItForward.com; then share the website, videos and factsheets with friends and family.

A recognized corporate leader in the prevention and awareness of domestic and sexual violence issues through its HopeLine program (www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline), Verizon Wireless is launching a variety of regional sexual assault awareness initiatives across the country this April.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Warning: New Email Scam for Japan Relief Exposed

Another scam to expose has just landed in my email inbox.  Apparantly, a "good citizen" of Malaysia is asking for western union money transfers so he can go help the victims of the recent earthquake in Japan.

If you want to help the victims, please don't do it this way.  Instead, contact a reputable charity like the American Red Cross to make your donation.

Otherwise, your wire transfer is just a donation to the scam artist.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FTC Charges Deceptive Privacy Practices in Google's Rollout of Its Buzz Social Network

/PRNewswire/ -- Google Inc. has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy promises to consumers when it launched its social network, Google Buzz, in 2010. The agency alleges the practices violate the FTC Act. The proposed settlement bars the company from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years. This is the first time an FTC settlement order has required a company to implement a comprehensive privacy program to protect the privacy of consumers' information. In addition, this is the first time the FTC has alleged violations of the substantive privacy requirements of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework, which provides a method for U.S. companies to transfer personal data lawfully from the European Union to the United States.

"When companies make privacy pledges, they need to honor them," said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. "This is a tough settlement that ensures that Google will honor its commitments to consumers and build strong privacy protections into all of its operations."

According to the FTC complaint, Google launched its Buzz social network through its Gmail web-based email product. Although Google led Gmail users to believe that they could choose whether or not they wanted to join the network, the options for declining or leaving the social network were ineffective. For users who joined the Buzz network, the controls for limiting the sharing of their personal information were confusing and difficult to find, the agency alleged.

On the day Buzz was launched, Gmail users got a message announcing the new service and were given two options: "Sweet! Check out Buzz," and "Nah, go to my inbox." However, the FTC complaint alleged that some Gmail users who clicked on "Nah..." were nonetheless enrolled in certain features of the Google Buzz social network. For those Gmail users who clicked on "Sweet!," the FTC alleges that they were not adequately informed that the identity of individuals they emailed most frequently would be made public by default. Google also offered a "Turn Off Buzz" option that did not fully remove the user from the social network.

In response to the Buzz launch, Google received thousands of complaints from consumers who were concerned about public disclosure of their email contacts which included, in some cases, ex-spouses, patients, students, employers, or competitors. According to the FTC complaint, Google made certain changes to the Buzz product in response to those complaints.

When Google launched Buzz, its privacy policy stated that "When you sign up for a particular service that requires registration, we ask you to provide personal information. If we use this information in a manner different than the purpose for which it was collected, then we will ask for your consent prior to such use." The FTC complaint charges that Google violated its privacy policies by using information provided for Gmail for another purpose - social networking - without obtaining consumers' permission in advance.

The agency also alleges that by offering options like "Nah, go to my inbox," and "Turn Off Buzz," Google misrepresented that consumers who clicked on these options would not be enrolled in Buzz. In fact, they were enrolled in certain features of Buzz.

The complaint further alleges that a screen that asked consumers enrolling in Buzz, "How do you want to appear to others?" indicated that consumers could exercise control over what personal information would be made public. The FTC charged that Google failed to disclose adequately that consumers' frequent email contacts would become public by default.

Finally, the agency alleges that Google misrepresented that it was treating personal information from the European Union in accordance with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor privacy framework. The framework is a voluntary program administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission. To participate, a company must self-certify annually to the Department of Commerce that it complies with a defined set of privacy principles. The complaint alleges that Google's assertion that it adhered to the Safe Harbor principles was false because the company failed to give consumers notice and choice before using their information for a purpose different from that for which it was collected.

The proposed settlement bars Google from misrepresenting the privacy or confidentiality of individuals' information or misrepresenting compliance with the U.S.-E.U Safe Harbor or other privacy, security, or compliance programs. The settlement requires the company to obtain users' consent before sharing their information with third parties if Google changes its products or services in a way that results in information sharing that is contrary to any privacy promises made when the user's information was collected. The settlement further requires Google to establish and maintain a comprehensive privacy program, and it requires that for the next 20 years, the company have audits conducted by independent third parties every two years to assess its privacy and data protection practices.

Google's data practices in connection with its launch of Google Buzz were the subject of a complaint filed with the FTC by the Electronic Privacy Information Center shortly after the service was launched.

The Commission vote to issue the administrative complaint and accept the consent agreement package containing the proposed consent order for public comment was 5-0, with Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch issuing a separate concurring statement. Commissioner Rosch concurs with accepting, subject to final approval, the consent order for the purpose of public comment. The reasons for his concurrence are described in the attached separate statement.

The FTC will publish a description of the consent agreement package in the Federal Register shortly. The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through May 1, 2011, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final. Interested parties can submit written comments electronically or in paper form by following the instructions in the "Invitation To Comment" part of the "Supplementary Information" section.

Comments in electronic form should be submitted using the following web link: https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/googlebuzz and following the instructions on the web-based form. Comments in paper form should be mailed or delivered to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form near the end of the public comment period be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has "reason to believe" that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the respondent has actually violated the law. A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the respondent that the law has been violated. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Free Smartphone Application Takes Hassle out of Universal Orlando® Vacation

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Undercover Tourist, an Orlando, Florida-based discount travel company, is launching a free iPhone and Android application that cuts the wait time for theme park rides at Universal Orlando®.

App users receive a simple, real-time traffic light feature, equating a green with fast access, yellow with short waits and red with long lines for theme park rides. Data is compiled from over 460,000 wait time data points enhanced by real-time user’s submissions.

To help visitors plan their day and create a ride schedule, the new app will feature detailed theme park ride descriptions, including photos, ratings and height and age requirements.

“We want to help visitors to Universal Orlando save time on their vacation, this new app is that tool and it doesn’t cost anything to download and use,” said Ian Ford, president and co-founder, Undercover Tourist.

Leveraging Undercover Tourist’s leading-edge app, users can easily create a tour plan of Universal Orlando® and sort every ride by distance to a current position. The iPhone version takes it a step further and allows users to actually bookmark and sort through their favorite attractions. Without the ability to incorporate favorites, the Android app currently will rank all rides by distance to a user.

App users will also be able to purchase discount tickets to a variety of theme parks through Undercover Tourist, the most trusted name in attraction tickets. Undercover Tourist is contracted, licensed, and an official authorized ticket broker for Universal Orlando®, Walt Disney World®, SeaWorld Orlando® and other theme parks.

The new app was developed exclusively for Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure® and Universal Studios Florida®. It can be used with any iPhone that has network coverage, including offline capabilities for iPod Touches, pertaining to ride information. On the Android, the app is fully functional with version 2.0 or higher.

The new application can be downloaded for the iPhone at the Apple Store and, for the Android, users can find it at the Android Market store by searching for ‘Phunware’. The Undercover Tourist App is not an official app of Universal Orlando®.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Internet Crime Complaint Center's (IC3) Scam Alerts

This report, which is based upon information from law enforcement and complaints
submitted to the IC3, details recent cyber crime trends and new twists to previously-existing
cyber scams.

Social Network Misspelling Scam

During December 2010, the IC3 discovered misspellings of a social network site being
used as a social engineering ploy. Misspelling the domain name of this site would
redirect users to websites coded to look similar to the actual website. The website
users were redirected to answer three or four simple survey questions. Upon answering
those questions, users were offered a choice of three free gifts. Multiple brands
were observed as being offered as gifts, including gift cards to retail stores and
various brands of laptops.

After clicking on one of the gifts, users were further redirected to other websites
claiming to give free gifts for completing surveys. The surveys typically asked
for name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. A user could spend hours filling
out multiple surveys and never receive any of the gifts advertised.

Fake Online Receipt Generator Targets Unsuspecting Online Marketplace Merchant

A new scam aims to swindle online marketplace sellers by generating fake receipts.
This Receipt Generator is an executable file that has been circulating on hacking
forums recently. This is a particularly interesting scam - because it does not target
regular PC users, it targets the sellers on online marketplace websites. This is
what the would-be social engineer sees when running the program:



The social engineer can fill in a variety of information, including item name, price,
and the date the order was taken. Additionally, it allows them to choose between
the .com, .co.uk, .fr, and .ca marketplace portals. When they hit "Generate," an
HTML file is created in the program folder which looks like this:




The program produces what appears to be a genuine marketplace receipt and a copy
of the "Printable Order Summary," similar to the documents resulting from legitimate
marketplace purchases. Note the small details, such as "Total before tax," "Sales
tax," and other particulars that make the receipt convincing.

Many sellers on these markets will ask the buyer to send them a copy of the receipt
should the buyer run into trouble, have orders go missing, lose the license key
for a piece of software, and so on. The scammer relies on the seller to accept the
printout at face value without checking the details. After all, how many sellers
would be aware someone went to the trouble of creating a fake receipt generator?

Sellers must remain ever vigilant about this scam, which has been a popular topic
in recent hacker forums. The VirusTotal detection rate is currently 1/43 – detected as Hacktool.Win32.Amagen.A.

Malicious Code In .gov E-mail

A recent malware campaign, disguised as a holiday greeting from the White House,
targeted government employees. The recipient received the below e-mail with links
to what masqueraded as a greeting card, but when they clicked on the link, it attempted
to download a file named "card.exe." The executable program proved to be an information-stealing
Trojan, which would disable the recipient’s computer security notifications, software
updates, and firewall settings. The malware also installed itself into the computer’s
registry, enabling the code to be executed every time the computer was rebooted.
At the time of review, this particular malicious code sample had a low antivirus
detection rate of 20%, with only 9 out of 43 antivirus companies reporting detection.

From: sender@whitehouse.gov [mailto: sender@whitehouse.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 10:33 PM
To: recipient's name
Subject: Merry Christmas, recipient's name

Recipient’s name here,
    
    As you and your families gather to celebrate the holidays, we wanted to take a moment
    to send you our greetings. Be sure that we're profoundly grateful for your dedication
    to duty and wish you inspiration and success in fulfillment of our core mission.
    
    Greeting card:
    
     hxxp://xtremedefenceforce.com/card/
     hxxp://elvis.com.au/card/
    
    
    Merry Christmas!
    
    ___________________________________________

 Executive Office of the President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500





    
 Source: FBI, February 2011   


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Friday, February 11, 2011

Landmark 'Do Not Track Me' Bill to Block Unwanted Spying on the Internet, Says Consumer Watchdog

/PRNewswire/ -- "Do Not Track Me" legislation introduced in Congress today by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA, will let consumers block unwanted tracking of their information online, said the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog at a press conference today with the bill author and consumer and privacy advocates.

The bill authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to enact and enforce regulations that would give consumers a right to block companies from tracking their activities as they use the Internet. The concept is analogous to the popular "Do Not Call" list that prevents advertisers from calling consumers who do not wish to be disturbed by telemarketing.

"Consumers should have the right to choose if their private information – from shoe size, to health concerns, to religious beliefs – is collected, analyzed and profiled by companies tracking activities online. Do Not Track is the simple way for consumers to say 'no thanks' to being monitored while they surf the web," said Carmen Balber, Washington director for Consumer Watchdog.

Rep. Speier's bill is the first in Congress to explicitly provide for a Do Not Track mechanism.

"Right now much of the online advertising market is based on unauthorized spying on consumers," said John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog's Inside Google Project. "A Do Not Track mechanism would give consumers better control of their information and help restore their confidence in the Internet. That's a win-win for consumers and business. What kind of lasting business can be built on snooping on your customers?"

A poll by Consumer Watchdog last summer found that 80% of Americans support a Do Not Track option. A USA Today/Gallup poll released this week found that most Americans are worried about their privacy and security when they use Facebook and Google.

Read Consumer Watchdog's poll here: http://insidegoogle.com/2010/07/consumer-watchdog-poll-finds-concern-about-googles-wi-spy-snooping/

Read the USA Today poll here: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-02-09-privacypoll09_ST_N.htm

Consumer Watchdog noted that Do Not Track legislation does not solve all online privacy issues, but must be an option for consumers to have a fundamental right to privacy online.

Online privacy is one of the few issues that appears to have bipartisan backing in Congress, said Consumer Watchdog, and urged members to approve Do Not Track legislation this year.

Interest in Do Not Track legislation increased after the FTC issued a report in December backing the concept. David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection testified to Congress that a Do Not Track mechanism was both feasible and enforceable. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz recently wrote:

"We also believe, as do most American businesses, that no company loses by respecting the wishes of its customers. Do Not Track will allow the Internet to continue to thrive while protecting our basic right to privacy when we travel in cyberspace."

Other legislators are working on privacy legislation. In the House Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Il., introduced a general online privacy bill Thursday and Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fl., is expected to offer legislation soon. In the Senate, Sen. John Kerry, D-Ma., is working on a bill, while Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ar. has been considering offering Do Not Track legislation.

Comments on the FTC's report on privacy, "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers," are due next Friday, Feb. 18.

Consumer Watchdog has been working to protect consumers' online privacy rights and educate them about the issues through its Inside Google Project. The goal has been to convince Google of the social and economic importance of giving consumers control over their online lives. By persuading Google, the Internet's leading company, to adopt adequate guarantees, its policies could become the gold standard for privacy for the industry, potentially improving the performance of the entire online sector.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

E-mails Containing Malware Sent To Businesses Concerning Their Online Job Postings

Recent FBI analysis reveals that cyber criminals engaging in ACH/wire transfer fraud have targeted businesses by responding via e-mail to employment opportunities posted online.

Recently, more than $150,000 was stolen from a US business via unauthorized wire transfer as a result of an e-mail the business received that contained malware. The malware was embedded in an e-mail response to a job posting the business placed on an employment website and allowed the attacker to obtain the online banking credentials of the person who was authorized to conduct financial transactions within the company. The malicious actor changed the account settings to allow the sending of wire transfers, one to the Ukraine and two to domestic accounts. The malware was identified as a Bredolab variant, svrwsc.exe. This malware was connected to the ZeuS/Zbot Trojan,
which is commonly used by cyber criminals to defraud US businesses.

The FBI recommends that potential employers remain vigilant in opening the e-mails of perspective employees. Running a virus scan prior to opening any e-mail attachments may provide an added layer of security against this type of attack. The FBI also recommends that businesses use separate computer systems to conduct financial transactions.

For more information on this type of fraud and prevention tips, please refer to previous Public Service Announcements by clicking the links below:

* http://www.ic3.gov/media/2010/CorporateAccountTakeOver.pdf
* http://www.ic3.gov/media/2010/WorkAtHome.pdf
* http://www.ic3.gov/media/2009/091103.aspx

Anyone who believes they have been a target this type of attack should immediately contact their financial institutions and local FBI office, and promptly report it to the IC3's website at www.IC3.gov. The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law
enforcement agency for case consideration. The IC3 also uses complaint information to identify emerging trends and patterns.

Source:  IC3

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Clayton State to Host Google Interactive Workshop

For the first time, Google is coming to Georgia.

Although Georgia (and Georgians) may well be used to going to Google, here's the first chance to learn how Google tools can help small businesses, without leaving the state. In partnership with the Georgia Small Business Development Center and the Clayton State University School of Business, Google will be bringing a three-hour interactive workshop to Clayton State on Wednesday, Feb. 2. The workshop will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the ballroom of the Clayton State Student Activity Center

In this workshop, participants will be shown how Google tools can help reach more customers, understand what customers are searching for, and operate more efficiently.

“We are delighted that we have this opportunity to partner with Google, one of America’s most technologically innovative companies,” says Dr. Alphonso Ogbuehi, dean of the Clayton State School of Business.

The workshop will cover online marketing best practices, including how to:

• Claim your business on Google Maps and create a Google Place Page;
• Reach the right audience using Google AdWords and boost your ad performance by choosing the right keywords and writing compelling ads;
• Use Google Analytics to track online traffic and optimize your website.

Receive half off each additional person with the purchase of the Google Interactive Workshop at full price, $49. All registrations must be made at the same time in order to receive discount. This discount can not be combined or used with any other discount or coupon. For more information, please call (678) 466-5100 or email morrow@georgiasbdc.org.

Space is limited, so interested parties are urged to sign up soon for this dynamic opportunity.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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