Thousands of Twitter user accounts compromised

February 23, 2010

IT security firm, Sophos, has warned Twitter users on a new attack that has led to thousands of accounts being compromised by hackers using a Web 2.0 botnet. The hijacked accounts are later used to spread money-making spam campaigns.

The security firm found out that fellow members of the micro-blogging network had posted messages disguised as humorous inks, but were actually aimed to phish passwords credentials from unsuspecting users.
These messages were accompanied with clickable links which redirected users to a fake Twitter login page hosted on a website based in China.

Watch the video which demonstrates the attack:

"This phishing attack has been causing headaches for Twitter users all weekend, resulting in thousands of users being put at risk of having their account broken into," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "The cybercriminals behind the attack are creating a zombie network, or botnet, of hacked accounts that they can then abuse to spread spam, distribute malware and steal identities. There's nothing funny about the attack - you have to be on your guard against clicking on the dangerous messages. If you've fallen foul of it, or find direct messages in your Sent box that you didn't send, you must change your Twitter password immediately."

Sophos researchers discovered that although the main wave of poisoned messages has been via private direct messages between individual users on Twitter, dangerous links are also being posted in public feeds. This means that innocent users can stumble across the links even if they are not sent it directly, or even if they are not a signed-up user of Twitter.

"It appears what is happening is that the messages are being shared more widely because of third-party services like GroupTweet which extend the standard Twitter direct message (DM) functionality and allow private messages to be sent to multiple users and optionally made public," continued Cluley. "This has resulted in the bizarre site of Twitter accounts warning their followers about the phishing attack, only to subsequently fall victim to it themselves."

Sophos has identified that the phishing campaign appears to be already bearing fruit for the hackers as they are now distributing spam selling herbal viagra from the compromised accounts.

 "Unless the hacked Twitter users change their passwords, the intruders can continue to spread spam and other attacks from their hijacked accounts," explained Cluley.


Cyberattack simulation highlights vulnerabilities

February 20, 2010

Imagine that a widely downloaded, malicious smart phone application has triggered a national security crisis and brought the country’s telecommunications and electronic infrastructure to a standstill. This scenario was only make-believe: the East Coast still has power and Midwestern factories are functioning. But the threats from cyber exploits against the national and economic security of the United States is very real, according to former senior government officials who participated in a ...

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Terrorists 'gaining upper hand in cyber war'

February 9, 2010

Western governments are facing a potent and ill-understood new threat from terrorists and hostile powers in the shape of cyber warfare, military and security experts have warned.

Network attacks, a British government report says, are "growing in seriousness and frequency". And in a timely reminder of the emphasis that states and corporations alike are placing on the problem, Google and the National Security Agency were yesterday said to be finalising the details of a co-operative deal aimed ...

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China Shut Down Biggest Hacker Training Site

February 9, 2010

What is believed to be the country's biggest hacker training site has been shut down by police in Central China's Hubei province.

Three people were also arrested, local media reported yesterday. The three, who ran Black Hawk Safety Net, are suspected of offering others online attacking programs and software, a crime recently added to the Criminal Law. A total of 1.7 million yuan ($249,000) in assets were also frozen.

According to the provincial public security department of Hubei, the closu...

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Today’s threat: computer network terrorism

February 1, 2010

“Carry out all my demands or the entire country’s electricity will be cut off.” Is this another line from a suspense film, or is it a palpable threat made possible with a computer keyboard? “Today, there is a growing trend amongst hackers around the world to threaten national infrastructures for ransom,” says Dr. Yaniv Levyatan, an expert in information war at the University of Haifa.

If someone still thinks that this is science fiction, Dr. Levyatan notes how just recently, in Nov...

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Keep the Internet free! China “Shut up US.”

January 23, 2010

China to US: shut up about "so-called Internet freedom"

In the wake of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's major speech yesterday on Internet freedom, a speech in which she called out countries like Egypt, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Iran, and China, most governments have yet to respond. China, however, was quick to reply after dealing with the Google issue for a week already. 

Here's what has happened in 24 turbulent hours.

Wide open. It didn't take China long to respond to Clinton's call to te...

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Technology Bites Back

October 12, 2009


A couple of weeks ago a friend told me that someone she knew had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.  

When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth any...

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The State of Internet Security

September 25, 2009
Just last week, Websense Security Labs released it's State Of Internet Security report. This report is released twice a year and it covers all changes in website and internet security in the past 6 months. While we can generally expect that internet vulnerabilities, spam and other attacks will rise, this report was especially grim.

According to the report, the number of malicious sites on the web has grown over 230% in the last six months. This number reaches over 670% in the last year.

While t...

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Black Ice: The Invisible Threat of Cyberterrorism

July 6, 2009

Cyberterrorism is a new terrorist tactic that makes use of information systems or digital technology, especially the Internet, as either an instrument or a target. As the Internet becomes more a way of life with us,it is becoming easier for its users to become targets of the cyberterrorists. The number of areas in which cyberterrorists could strike is frightening, to say the least.

The difference between the conventional approaches of terrorism and new methods is primarily that it is possib...

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Danger days are just six weeks away

June 7, 2009

The "Tide of the century" may hit Mumbai on 24th July 2009

Mumbai could be facing a re-enactment of the catastrophe that devastated life and property four years ago--perhaps on the very same dates.

While the severity of the flooding would probably be unabated, better prepardness and closer co-ordination among government bodies, corporate & general public can help in minimizing its impact.

What caused floods in 2005

Mumbai is at an average elevation of 10-15 meters above sea level and receive...

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