Off the Media

No Gray Area: It’s Definitely Not OK to Publish Emails From the Sony Hack


At first, I thought the media response to the celebrity hacking scandal was sanctimonious. Now I realize it was rank hypocrisy. Just shameless, awful hypocrisy from a group hardly better than the criminals they enable.

Because after every outlet, from Perez Hilton to Jezebel, called the hack, leak and publishing of nude photos of celebrities, including Kate Upton and Jennifer Lawrence, a crime, none of them seem to have any problem publishing the spoils of the Sony hack, particularly the many private conversations of its co-chairman Amy Pascal. Read More

Internet of Things

European Intelligence Warns of Impending Cyber Murders

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The Internet of Things (IoT) holds the utopian promise of connecting all of our cars, home appliances, vital organs and marijuana inhalers into an Internet-fueled web of quantified everything. It also paves the way for a whole new kind of horrific crime.

Europol, the European Union’s criminal intelligence agency, has released their annual Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment, a report on the many terrifying ways the world is at risk from cybercrime. They warn that the more our homes and bodies are hooked up to the Internet, the more vulnerable we are to life-threatening attacks from hackers: Read More

Hits and Misses

Stop Calling Tor ‘The Web Browser For Criminals’

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Yesterday, a rumor surfaced on deep web blog DeepDotWeb that Comcast was going to start blocking users of Tor, an anonymous web browser. Comcast Vice President Jason Livingood immediately and rightfully called bullshit, because for all of its customer service foibles, Comcast knows that preventing people from browsing the Internet anonymously would be a daring infringement on user privacy.

The confusion came to rest shortly after the posting of a Business Insider story called “Comcast Denies It Will Cut Off Customers Who Use Tor, The Web Browser For Criminals.” Besides reaffirming the simple notion that you shouldn’t just believe something you read on a subreddit, the story — which was viewed over 22,000 times — reaffirms the notion that Tor is a tool for evil. Read More

Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

Study: Cybercrime Is Nowhere Near as Expensive as Previous Estimates

This guy is everywhere now. (Image Devdsp on Flickr

Politicians and scaremongers are prone to throwing around some pretty big numbers for the costs of cybercrime. But the Wall Street Journal reports that, according to a new report, the costs are something like $100 billion annually–far less than the oft-cited previous estimate of $1 trillion. 

The study is the work of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and McAfee, which was also responsible for the higher number, back in 2009. This time, though, they admitted that “some of the assumptions” were wrong. No kidding.  Read More


Booting Up: You Can’t Use Square to Sell Guns Any More


The crooner Bing Crosby might’ve been a total dick, but it turns out he was a pretty smart angel investor. Guess the Biebs isn’t so special, after all! [New Yorker]

“They became a virtual criminal flash mob, going from machine to machine, drawing as much money as they could, before these accounts were shut down.” Don’t look now but someone lived out your wildest ATM-related dreams. [The Verge]

If you’re going to I/O, keep your eyes peeled for all the sensors tracking air quality, noise levels and lord knows what else. [TechCrunch]

Square’s TOS was recently updated to add that you can’t sell “firearms, firearm parts or hardware, and ammunition; or… weapons and other devices designed to cause physical injury” using the service. Guess you’re gonna have to start bringing duffle bags full of cash to the gun show again. [CNN Money]

Aereo launches in Atlanta June 17. [Aereo]

Smooth Criminals

Manhattan DA Will Launch High-Tech Cybercrime Lab to Sleuth Out Identity Theft and Child Porn

Mr. Vance

Keeping up with criminals is like keeping up with the Joneses. It often requires making some state-of-the-art purchases. Thus Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is planning on investing $2.4 million in City Council funding into a new High Technology Analysis Unit (HTAU) lab set to launch by the end of next year.

As Speaker Christine Quinn told DNAinfo, it’s all about catching up with the bad guys. “In this day and age, we need to be as sophisticated as the criminals are, using every tool we can,” she said, calling the Internet, “the new crime scene of the modern age.” Law & Order: JavaScript? Read More

Smooth Criminals

DA’s Office Announces Sentences for S3, Brooklyn’s Apple Store-Targeting, Family-Run Cyber Gang


Today Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced sentencing for 16 members of a cybercrime ring based in Brooklyn calling itself “S3.” Members of the group admitted to credit card forgery and identity theft that compromised hundreds of bank accounts. Using counterfeit credit cards, they fraudulently purchased Apple products around the country and resold them for profit.

In a press release announcing the sentencing, Mr. Vance called S3 “truly a family affair.”  Read More

When Hackers Attack

Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Drug Traffickers: Cybercrime Isn’t That Lucrative


Cybercrime! We’re basically living through the digital equivalent of Prohibition, right? Well, a couple of researchers would like to quash everyone’s mental images of Scarface but with credit-card databases instead of blow.  Having run the numbers, researchers Dinei Florêncio and Cormac Herley took to the New York Times opinion page to trumpet their doubts: Read More