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Crime

Scalpers Bought Tickets With CAPTCHA-Busting Botnet 301

alphadogg writes "Three California men have pleaded guilty to charges they built a network of CAPTCHA-solving computers that flooded online ticket vendors and snatched up the very best seats for Bruce Springsteen concerts, Broadway productions and even TV tapings of Dancing with the Stars. The men ran a company called Wiseguy Tickets, and for years they had an inside track on some of the best seats in the house at many events. They scored about 1.5 million tickets after hiring Bulgarian programmers to build 'a nationwide network of computers that impersonated individual visitors' on websites such as Ticketmaster, MLB.com and LiveNation, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said Thursday in a press release. The network would 'flood vendors computers at the exact moment that event tickets went on sale,' the DoJ said. They had to create shell corporations, register hundreds of fake Internet domains (one was stupidcellphone.com) and sign up for thousands of bogus e-mail addresses to make the scam work."
Botnet

Researchers Take Down Koobface Servers 35

splitenz notes the first actions in the war against the Koobface botnet, taken on the heels of a comprehensive report (PDF) on the operations of the botnet and the criminal gang behind it. The researchers who analyzed Koobface are the same ones who brought Ghostnet to light. "Security researchers, working with law enforcement and Internet service providers, have disrupted the brains of the Koobface botnet.The computer identified as the command-and-control server used to send instructions to infected Koobface machines was offline late Friday (US Pacific time). Criminals behind the botnet made more than $US2 million in one year. Facebook accounts are used to lure victims to Google Blogspot pages, which in turn redirect them to Web servers that contain the malicious Koobface code. This action is only a stage in the war against Koobface."
Crime

Why 'Cyber Crime' Should Just Be Called 'Crime' 368

netzar writes "CAUSE executive director Neil Schwartzman, in a post on CircleID, urges governments and law enforcement to treat cyber crime as what it really is: 'crime': 'When someone is mugged, harassed, kidnapped or raped on a sidewalk, we don't call it "sidewalk crime" and call for new laws to regulate sidewalks. It is crime, and those who commit crimes are subject to the full force of the law. For too long, people have referred to spam in dismissive terms: just hit delete, some say, or let the filters take care of it. Others — most of us, in fact — refer to phishing, which is the first step in theft of real money from real people and institutions, as "cyber crime." It's time for that to stop... This isn't just email. This isn't a war. This isn't "cyber." This is crime.'"
Communications

Truthy Project Uncovers Political Astroturfing On Twitter 99

An anonymous reader writes with a follow-up to the launch of the Truthy Project we discussed last month. "Tens of thousands of tweets this election season have turned out to be automated messages generated by employees of political campaigns, Indiana University researchers have found. Quoting: 'In one case, a network of nine Twitter accounts, all created within 13 minutes of one another, sent out 929 messages in about two hours as replies to real account holders in the hopes that these users would retweet the messages. The fake accounts were probably controlled by a script that randomly picked a Twitter user to reply to, and a message and a Web link to include. Although Twitter shut the accounts down soon after, the messages still reached 61,732 users.'"
Medicine

Miniature Human Livers Grown In Lab 154

Zothecula writes "In the quest to grow replacement human organs in the lab, livers are no doubt at the top of many a barfly's wish list. With its wide range of functions that support almost every organ in the body and no way to compensate for the absence of liver function, the ability to grow a replacement is also the focus of many research efforts. Now, for the first time, researchers have been able to successfully engineer miniature livers in the lab using human liver cells."
Oracle

33 Developers Leave OpenOffice.org 500

dkd903 writes "We all knew it would come to this, and it has finally happened — 33 developers have left OpenOffice.org to join The Document Foundation, with more expected to leave in the next few days. After Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, OpenOffice.org fell into the hands of Oracle, as did a lot of other products. So, last month a few very prominent members of the OpenOffice.org community decided to form The Document Foundation and fork OpenOffice.org as LibreOffice, possibly fearing that it could go the OpenSolaris way."
Sci-Fi

Texas Supreme Court Cites Mr. Spock 345

An anonymous reader writes "We always knew that Spock was wise and would probably make a pretty good judge, so perhaps it's a good thing to see the Texas Supreme Court citing Spock in a recent ruling, noting his wisdom in stating that 'the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.'"
United States

New York Judge Rules 6-Year-Old Can Be Sued 799

suraj.sun sends this snippet from Reuters: "A girl can be sued over accusations she ran over an elderly woman with her training bicycle when she was 4 years old, a New York Supreme Court justice has ruled. The ruling by King's County Supreme Court Justice Paul Wooten stems from an incident in April 2009 when Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn, both aged four, struck an 87-year-old pedestrian, Claire Menagh, with their training bikes. Menagh underwent surgery for a fractured hip and died three months later. In a ruling made public late Thursday, the judge dismissed arguments by Breitman's lawyer that the case should be dismissed because of her young age. He ruled that she is old enough to be sued and the case can proceed."
The Internet

How Not To Design a Protocol 186

An anonymous reader writes "Google security researcher Michael Zalewski posted a cautionary tale for software engineers: amusing historical overview of all the security problems with HTTP cookies, including an impressive collection of issues we won't be able to fix. Pretty amazing that modern web commerce uses a mechanism so hacky that does not even have a proper specification."
Cellphones

Workers Poisoned Making Touchscreen Hardware 260

SocResp writes "A chemical called n-hexane has been poisoning the nervous systems of Chinese workers who assemble touchscreen devices for Apple and other companies, an investigative journalist from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports. It's scary to think that people are being damaged to pursue high production rates. For companies with soaring profits and share prices, and elaborate product development and marketing, it seems they should be all the more culpable if they fail to take care of the production workers."
Biotech

Stopping Malaria By Immunizing Mosquitoes 100

RedEaredSlider writes "Millions of people in the tropics suffer from malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that has been difficult to treat and which costs many developing countries millions of dollars per year in lost productivity. Up to now, efforts at controlling it have focused on attacking the parasites that cause it, keeping mosquitoes from biting, or killing the insects. But at Johns Hopkins University, Rhoel Dinglasan, an entomologist and biologist, decided to try another tack: immunizing mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected human, it takes up some of the gametocytes. They aren't dangerous to people at that stage. Since plasmodium is vulnerable there, that is the point Dinglasan chose to attack. A mosquito's gut has certain receptor molecules in it that the plasmodium can bind to. Dinglasan asked what would happen if the parasite couldn't 'see' them, which would happen if another molecule, some antigen, were binding to those receptors."

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