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EU to tackle Internet child pornography March 1, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet Safety.
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The European Union’s executive body, the European Commission, has unveiled a new ‘Safer Internet’ program to tackle online child pornography.

The EU will spend a total of 55 million euros ($$83 million) between 2009 and 2013 on the program, which is aimed at both online child pornography and the protection of children using the Internet.

The program aims to create “a safer online environment for our children by promoting self-regulatory initiatives and greater awareness in society,” said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Barroso said: “Where there is illegal content online, rapid and determined action by public authorities will be ensured by strengthened reporting systems.”

The four major goals of ‘Safer Internet’ are reducing illegal content and harmful content online, promoting a safer generally online environment, raising public awareness of the issue, and increasing knowledge of the use of new technology by children.

The program also intends to create “national contact points for reporting illegal content and digital bullying, but focusing on pornographic material,” the EUobserver Web site said.

Related Links > http://euobserver.com/9/25739

Pamela Anderson, Michael Jackson, Harry Potter used as bait for spreading trojan February 25, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet, Internet Safety.
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PandaLabs has detected the mass-mailing of messages with sensational subject fields to spread the Downloader.SQV trojan. Subjects used include two supposed earthquakes in the USA, the third divorce of Pamela Anderson or the release of the film “Jumper”.

The email format is the same in all cases, only the subject field varies. Yet it always involves some kind of sensational title, such as:

Pamela Anderson divorces in third times!!!

Michael Jakson glued up a person a plaster

CIA tortures prisoners!!!

Harry Potter was purchased by pentkhaus!!!

Two powerful earthquakes happened in the USA!!!

Princess Diana ´Could be have been killed by MI6´ – conclusions of experts!!!

The variable subject of the email also appears in the text body, along with the text:  “New Video!” and a link with the words “Download Now”. Any user clicking the link will be redirected to a web page that will infect their computer with Downloader.SQV. This trojan then downloads two other trojans: Spammer.AGF and KillFiles.BU. The first is designed to resend the emails, using the infected computer as a server, while the second prevents certain system functions from operating correctly.

“Malware creators frequently use sensational headlines or celebrities as lures to distribute malware. This is known as social engineering, and it is generally an effective technique”, explains Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs.

To avoid falling victim to these malicious codes, PandaLabs advises users not to click links in emails from unknown sources. It is also advisable to have a good security solution installed and up-to-date to protect against both known and unknown threats.

LiveJournal users fight erotic ‘Harry Potter’ deletions September 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Blogging, Internet, Internet Safety.
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LiveJournal users who patronize sex-themed Harry Potter fan art and fiction communities, and a host of other concerned users, are revolting a second time over account suspension notices they say are unpredictable and trample on their free-expression rights.

The most recent saga over user-generated Harry Potter artwork appears to have started late last week, when at least two users, “ponderosa121” and “elaboration,” reported receiving notices from a LiveJournal abuse team member who informed them that their accounts had been “permanently suspended.” (One user tracking the situation says an “undetermined” number of other Harry Potter artists have also been suspended in recent weeks, but we’ve yet to get official confirmation on that.)

The reason for the deletions? The users’ journal entries contained “drawings depicting minors in explicit sexual situations,” which represented a violation of LiveJournal’s policies, according to copies of the letters posted by their recipients.

In ponderosa121’s case, the offending image depicted an unclothed Harry Potter of ambiguous age receiving oral sex from sometimes-villain Severus Snape. The image posted by elaboration, who describes herself on an external site as a 21-year-old Atlanta sometimes-resident with a fondness for “zombies, pie and cold pizza,” showed the twin brothers of Ron Weasley, Harry’s good friend, in their own intimate moment. There were no ages listed in the fantasy images, however, so they could have been meant to depict the lads when they were 18 years old.

The uproar is reminiscent of an outcry around Memorial Day weekend, when thousands of users mobilized against LiveJournal parent company SixApart’s deletion of about 500 journals of a seemingly similar nature. CEO Barak Berkowitz ultimately admitted the company had “really screwed this one up” and vowed to restore many communities deleted in an effort to wipe out allegedly inappropriate pedophilia-related chatter.

This time around, SixApart representatives have not responded to my repeated requests for comment on Monday. An official explanation has also yet to surface on LiveJournal’s official news page, where the most recent entries have found their comments quotas maxed out by user gripes about the latest kerfuffle.

But one user miffed by the suspensions has posted what appears to be a copy of a response on Friday from a LiveJournal abuse team member who identified himself as Eric.

Although the content in question did not meet the legal definition of child pornography, “non-photographic content involving minors in sexual situations which does not contain serious artistic or literary merit is likely in violation of Federal obscenity laws, and is content LiveJournal has chosen not to host,” he said in that message.

A team of LiveJournal moderators, employees and SixApart staff reviewed the images and “clearly did not see serious artistic value in content that simply displayed graphic sexual acts involving minors,” Eric added.

The company also states in its Terms of Service that it “in its sole discretion, may terminate your password, journal, or account, and remove and discard any content within the Service, for any reason, including and without limitation, the lack of use, or if LiveJournal believes that you have violated or acted inconsistently with the letter or spirit of the TOS.”

Those explanations hardly appeased some exasperated users, who alternately mocked or scolded that line of thinking. One user who goes by the name Guma Kawauso argued that by that logic, people could face journal shutdowns for posting images by the renowned photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whose common themes were flowers, portraits of famous people and nudes–which encountered charges of “pandering obscenity.”

“‘Obscenity’ is the perfect tool to weed out everything that doesn’t fit in a nice, clean, straight, male-dominated and preferably white world,” charged a user named erestor.

“The policy makes LJ an unwelcoming environment for sexual expression and experimentation, which is a change; in the past, LJ has been a valuable environment for many groups who are expressing, experimenting with, or identifying as non-normative sexualities to speak free of constraints which are often backed by patriarchical [sic], racist, classist, or heterosexist behavioral norms,” another user, who goes by the moniker “coffeeandink,” wrote in a recent entry.

To make matters worse, some users have been complaining that a LiveJournal employee named Abe Hassan, who goes by the username burr86, has posted “mocking” statements about fandom communities, which they argue is unprofessional and deserves at least a reprimand.

While apparently on a much smaller scale, the latest episode has fanfic devotees once again encouraging livid LiveJournal users to switch to “clone” sites in protest and to register their discontent through feedback emails.

Update at 5:15 p.m. PST: Some readers have commented below that they’re concerned this report doesn’t reflect the breadth of concern from the LiveJournal community about these incidents.

Let the record reflect, then, that a number of users who wouldn’t consider themselves Potter fans, per se, are fundamentally concerned about the way SixApart has handled these situations in recent months. They’re taking issue with everything from its “customer service” practices to what concerned users argue is an unevenly enforced terms-of-service policy in the first place. Some said they’re not so much concerned about what LiveJournal deems inappropriate as how the company goes about deciding that.

Source > CNetNews

NanoScan, the first online antivirus for blogs July 28, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Blogging, Internet Safety.
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Blog owners can now offer NanoScan, Panda Software’s new online virus scanner, to their readers. To do this, all they need to do is send an email to partners@nanoscan.com and ask for the code, which they can simply copy and paste on their web pages.

By doing this, bloggers and webmasters can offer significant added value to visitors, who will be able to keep their computers free from any active threats that might be performing malicious actions on their computers.

They can also include up-to-date stats on computers infected worldwide thanks to NanoScan’s Infex. Bloggers can choose between two options: offer data for the country the visitors come from, or show information for the country chosen by the blog owner.

To include Infex on your page, go to http://www.infectedornot.com/gadgets/

By adding these tools to their pages, bloggers offer readers significant added value.

With these launches, Panda Software takes another step forward in its commitment to the growing 2.0 community, offering its tools to the millions of bloggers.

Currently, NanoScan detects more than 1 million examples of known threats and is continually updated against new threats, with almost 2,500 new samples a day. It also detects unknown malware thanks to the Genetic Heuristic Technology.

The tool is fully compatible with Vista and works with both Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers.

Take a free trial of NanoScan’s beta version at: http://www.infectedornot.com

29,000 sex offenders on MySpace website July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet, Internet Safety.
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MySpace.com has found more than 29,000 registered sex offenders with profiles on the popular social networking website, more than four times the number cited by the company two months ago, North Carolina officials said Tuesday.

North Carolina’s Roy Cooper is one of several attorneys general who recently demanded the News Corp.-owned website provide data on how many registered sex offenders were using the site, along with information about where they live.

After initially withholding the information, citing federal privacy laws, MySpace began sharing the information in May after the states filed formal legal requests.

At the time, MySpace said it had already used a database it helped create to remove about 7,000 profiles of sex offenders, out of a total of about 180,000,000 profiles on the site. Two MySpace spokeswomen did not immediately return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Cooper is pushing for legislation that would require children to receive parental permission before creating social networking profiles, and require the websites to enact procedures for verifying the parents’ identity and age.

There are about 600,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. MySpace is a personal website tool allowing people to post blogs, music, and videos. More than 80 million people have registered a MySpace page. News Corp bought the site for $580m last year.