Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fake Pedophile Warning - - Harry Graham: Another Victim of Rumour on The Facebook

Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Summary:

Earlier few Facebook related rumours have been discussed here. Once again Social network message warns that a 48 year old pedophile named Harry Graham is posing as a 14 year old on Facebook in order to make contact with children.

Like before this is yet another version of a series of totally unsubstantiated and damaging rumours that claim that pedophiles are attempting to contact children via Facebook. While this version names a person called Harry Graham, other versions have used the names of other men. There is no credible evidence to back up the claims in these messages. Spreading scurrilous and unfounded rumours such as this can unfairly damage the reputation of innocent people. This bogus warning is without merit and should not be re-posted.


There is someone called harry graham friend requesting kids on facebook at the moment, posing as a 14yr old when actually he is a 48yr old peadophile. He is known 2 the police. Please be aware and tell everyone u know. We must keep our kids safe - please copy and paste


Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Explanation:

According to this "warning" message, which is circulating rapidly around social networking website Facebook, a 48 year old pedophile by the name of Harry Graham is posing as a 14 year old on the network in order to befriend children. The message claims that the man is "known to police" and asks that users pass on the message to help protect children.

However, the supposed "warning" is nothing more than an unsubstantiated rumour. There are no credible reports of any kind that back up the claims in the message. Other than the name "Harry Graham", this "warning" does not provide any information whatsoever that might identify this supposed sexual deviant or his current whereabouts. A great many people around the world share the name "Harry Graham". Thus, even if one person somewhere with that name did do something wrong, spreading such a message is likely to achieve nothing other than unfairly damage the reputation of completely innocent individuals that are unfortunate enough to share the same name.

This "Harry Graham" rumour is just yet another variant in a series of recent - and equally unfounded - pedophile warnings. In September 2010, a similar warning began circulating that accused a man named Thierry Mairot of attempting to contact children on Facebook to talk about sex. A later clone of the "warning" changed the name of the accused to one Thomas Cowling.

The Internet makes it very easy for faceless cowards to make unfounded accusations against others, while remaining anonymous. They may never be required to justify their accusations in any way. If malicious individuals want to discredit, embarrass or annoy someone, or indeed destroy his or her reputation, all they may have to do is create a damaging rumour and post it on Facebook or other social networks.

And even a hint of paedophilia or perversion is often enough to raise great ire and concern among parents and others who care for children. Thus, such accusations, even if totally unfounded can be a very powerful weapon when wielded by unscrupulous individuals or groups intent on character assassination. Once started, rumours like this can take on a life of their own. Even if the original accuser belatedly learns that his or accusations were wrong, it may well be impossible to stop the further spread of the rumour as it continues its destructive journey.

Thus, it is totally irresponsible to post on baseless accusations such as this. In fact, the act of reposting such potentially destructive messages without compelling and verifiable evidence to substantiate their claims is immoral and unethical. Even if someone else started such a rumour, Facebook users need to take responsibility for what they post. Virtually any social network user is potentially vulnerable to attack from gutless cowards such as those that create these rumours.

Of course, it is vitally important to keep our children safe online. However, passing on baseless rumours will do zilch and zero to help protect children. Destroying someones reputation by passing on nonsense warnings is certainly not going to help keep our kids safe online. A much more productive method is simply to closely - and continually - monitor the online activities of our vulnerable children. Better still, don't let young children use adult social networks like Facebook at all.

Youtube Footage Showing Time Traveller in Charlie Chaplin's 1928 Film - - Reality or Illusion ... ??

Beware! It's a Cyber World -- Summary:

A much debatable footage, in form of Youtube clip, from a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film appears to show a woman using a mobile (cell) phone decades before they were invented. Commentators have suggested that the Chaplin film may have inadvertently captured a time traveller.

Though the footage has certainly generated a great deal of debate, the most likely explanation is that the woman is using an early model hearing aid.

The actual message seems like below:


Subject: Cell phones in 1928?

Charlie Chaplin

Cell phones in 1928?
A Charlie Chaplin film from 1928 showing a woman using a mobile phone has left viewers stumped. Is the scene real or doctored?


Beware! It's a Cyber World -- Explanation:

Footage allegedly depicting a time-travelling mobile phone user in a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film has generated a great deal of buzz. The footage, which circulates "virally" via a number of YouTube videos, shows an elderly woman walking with what looks like a mobile phone up to her ear. The woman appears to be speaking into the phone. The footage reportedly comes from extra, behind-the-scenes material included with DVD versions of Charlie Chaplin's 1928 film, The Circus.

Since mobile phones did not exist in 1928, it has been suggested that the woman was actually a time-traveller from the future who was inadvertently caught on film making a mobile phone call.

George Clarke's YouTube video about the "discovery" of the 1928 mobile phone user

In October 2010, Irish filmmaker George Clarke published a YouTube video discussing the "unusual" footage. Clarke claims that after repeated viewing of the footage, which he discovered in some behind-the-scenes material showing the film's Hollywood Premiere, he was unable to come up with an explanation for the apparent anomaly. Nor, he claims, were 100 other people to which he subsequently showed the film.

The footage is certainly intriguing. It does appear that the woman is not only holding a mobile phone to her ear, but also speaking periodically as one would during a normal phone conversation. Thus, it is not surprising that the footage has generated so much debate and commentary.

The time travelling explanation is certainly an interesting one, and as something of an SF fan, I almost wish it were true. However, sadly, a much more mundane explanation seems vastly more likely. Many have suggested that the woman is in fact using a hearing aid device which would have been held to the user's ear as seen in the footage. The device may well be an early hearing aid created by hearing instrument company, Siemens. A hearing aid of some description does seem to be the most likely explanation. A photograph of a woman using one such hearing device available on the Siemens website is quite reminiscent of the "mobile phone using" woman in the Chaplin footage.

Of course, many commentators have asked why the woman would actually be talking if the device was a hearing aid rather than a mobile phone. But perhaps she was simply talking to herself, testing the functionality of the device, or even just cursing the device's inadequacies.

And, in any case, if a time traveller went to all of the trouble of going back in time and carefully donning period costume in order to blend in, you would hardly expect her to whip out a mobile phone and start chatting openly in such a public place. Moreover, given that there were obviously no mobile phone towers or other necessary infrastructure back in 1928, one wonders how she got service at all! And who would she be talking to? Perhaps other time travellers, or was this "phone" a Dr Who type instrument that could work through both space and time? Either way, I'd really like to find out which phone company she users, as she is certainly getting better coverage and service than I'm currently getting from my provider! Smile

A more cynical observer might also point out that George Clarke's film about his "discovery" - which prominently features posters and other promotional material for the filmmaker's productions - has provided him with a great deal of valuable exposure.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mozilla Firefox Browser is Attacked by Cybercriminals - - Detected by Norman on Website of Noble Peace Prize

The Mozilla developers are rushing to fix a new bug in Firefox browser, which is being used by criminals to install malicious software on victims’ computers.

The flaw was discovered last Tuesday by the security company Norman, who discovered the error after reviewing secretly installed malicious code on the website of Nobel Peace Prize “If a user visits the site using Firefox 3.5 or 3.6, the malware could be installed on computer without any notice”, the company said.

In a blog posting, Mozilla has confirmed that the attack exploited an unpatched flaw in the latest updates and it was already aware of the research work of some security institutions.

The problem was diagnosed and a fix is being developed which will be launched soon as well tested, said Mozilla, which stated that the bug affects versions 3.5 and 3.6 of its browser for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

For the maker of Norton antivirus Symantec, the attack on the Nobel site was directed mainly at users of the system and mentioned that Windows could not find more cases like this.

Users interested in protecting themselves against attack, can disable JavaScript in Firefox, accessing the toolbar item “Option”, choose the “Content” tab and uncheck “Enable javascript”.

Internet users also can install the NoScript extension, Mozilla said.

Cybercrime Involving $70 Million Loss Due to the Powerful Zeus Trojan Virus

An Eastern European cybercrime ring stole $70 million from US banks, the FBI announced today. In additions to the dozens of individuals charged in the U.S. and Britain Thursday, the FBI also said that five individuals in Ukraine had been detained today on suspicion of creating the computer virus used in the scam.

Dozens of people in the U.S and Britain were charged Thursday in a worldwide cyberscam that used the powerful Zeus Trojan virus to crack open bank accounts and divert millions of dollars to Eastern Europe. Authorities said at the time that the ring was accused of stealing $12.5 million from accounts in both countries, but also said the global total was likely to rise as the year-long investigation continued.

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Manhattan D.A. charged 37 people Thursday, most of them Russian nationals, with stealing more than $3 million from small business and government accounts in the U.S. Another 19 suspects were arrested in London, and 11 were charged in the theft of $9.5 million from British banks.

While 20 of the New York suspects are in custody, another 17 remain at large.

"This advanced cybercrime ring is a disturbing example of organized crime in the 21st century – high tech and widespread," said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. "The far-reaching results of this investigation to date represent what people deserve: successful cooperation between city, state, federal and foreign law enforcement officials."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stuxnet: The New Era of Cyber Warfare Has Begun ...

The world is on the brink of war. But instead of bombs and explosions, chaos will come through blackouts in the electrical system and breakdown in communications. The cause for all this: a powerful computer virus.

The concept of cyber warfare, attacks on the infrastructure of the state by means of computers, it sounds like a movie script, but governments, and intelligence agencies are concerned. “The threat is real and worthy of attention,” said last week Iain Lobban, director of GCHQ, the British electronic spy agency.

The fear of a cyberwar gained momentum with the discovery of Stuxnet, malware worm that infected thousands of machines in Iran, Indonesia and India.

What is noteworthy about the plague was that it had targeted control systems used in industrial processes, such as power plants. It operated at least three vulnerabilities in Windows such as “zero day”, as yet undiscovered by developers, an unprecedented number of failures for the same pest. It also had two safety approvals that the black market can cost $ 500,000.

Given the complexity of the pest, experts believe it has been designed by the government of a country. Companies that have analyzed the code Stuxnet say it did not seek financial gain or theft. It would have been created and the target would be to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program.

Tehran has said it had arrested “spies” and accuses the West.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Employment Scam - -"VACANCY FOR ACCOUNT MANAGER" From Rig Groups Construction Company Ghana

Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Summary:

Today I want to share a recent email I received today that can be categorized as "Employment Scam". The mail is from 'Rig Groups Construction Company Ghana' without my formal application.

The mail is being copied below as it is; so that every reader of mine should be aware of the recent strategy of cybercriminals.


From: Mr William Mensah (
Sent: Thu, October 21, 2010 2:11:59 PM

Immediate Vacancy for a qualified and experienced person in Accounting work is highly needed in Rig Groups Construction Company Ghana,as mentioned below


RESPONSIBILITIES: • Reporting to the Managing Director, the incumbent shall be responsible for the company’s financial statements and the overall performance of the Finance and Accounts Dept • The candidate shall assume the responsibilities for systematic review of all areas of revenue and internal control procedures, policies and physical arrangements and be responsible for establishing and maintaining strategic and effective revenue control measures for the organization

Please interested candidates should forward their CV to ENGR WILLIAM MENSAH of Rig Groups Construction Ltd Ghana.


Mr William Mensah
Recruiting Manager

Please interested candidates should forward their CV to ENGR WILLIAM MENSAH



Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Explanation:

When I searched Rig Groups on Google search I found many scams and frauds relating to this group regarding Employment offers and processing advances. For example:

    Office Location:
    No. N108/2 Rolings Ave, Greater Accra, Accra, Ghana.
    Telephone: +233-545-247-275, +233-547-477-776
    Fax: +233-214-359-555,
Source: Consumer Complaints

You can find many of such complaints and mails which are clearly showing what kind of scam it is! My advice is just "Beware! It's a Cyber World." If cybercriminals can take advantage of internet technology; then internet users should also aware of the ways to protect themselves from such criminal acts.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Email Hoax: Free Promotional Give Aways From Blackberry and Ercisson for Email Forwarders

Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Summary:

An rapidly spreading email message claims that Blackberry is giving away free phones to those who forward the email to eight or more people. Another smae type of message is hitting the inboxes equally frequently; which claims to be from Eriscsson and forwarding the same message will make you win a lap top from Ericsson.

The claims in the messages are untrue and baseless. Blackberry or Ericsson are not giving away free phones or laptops to those who forward an email. Previously we have unveiled the truth of such messages that targeted Nokia, Sony Ericsson and others.

Example of mail message from Ericsson looks like shown hereunder:


Dear All,

Its a rare opportunity so please don't miss it.


Example of mail message from Blackberry looks like shown hereunder:


Subject: FW: Blackberry Storm Promotion


Dear All,

Blackberry is giving away free phones as part of their promotional drive.

All you need to do is send a copy of this email to 8 people; and you will receive your phone in less than 24 hrs. Please note that if you send to more than 20 people you will receive two phones.

Please do not forget to send a copy to:

With Regards,

Amanda Lee (Marketing Manager)


Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Explanation (Exp: 1)

Sounds easy enough and tempting, too, but get this: the Ericsson T18 is a cell phone, not a computer. Moreover, it's a discontinued model. They don't sell it anymore!

But if you can send it to 20 people or more, you will receive Ericsson R320.

Again, the Ericsson R320 is a cell phone, not a computer. And discontinued, to boot!

What gives? The email above is slightly revised version of a nine-year-old hoax promising free phones to frequent forwarders. Though the phrase "computer laptops" has been substituted in the newer variant to reel in more suckers, evidently the anonymous prankster who revised the original couldn't be bothered to change the model numbers of the supposed promotional items.

The email address to which copies of the forwarded message are supposed to be sent,, is a corruption of the address specified in the 2000 version of the hoax (, which, of course, was never valid in the first place.

2009 update:

On May 12, 2009 Sony Ericsson released the following statement in response to a revised version of the hoax:

Hoax Competition Email

Sony Ericsson has been made aware of an online email campaign claiming that Ericsson will give away a free laptop computer to users who forward the promotional information. The same campaign includes a photograph of the Sony Ericsson logo and mentions an Ericsson contact name and email number.

Sony Ericsson confirms that this email campaign is a hoax. In addition, Sony Ericsson confirms that the Ericsson contact name does not exist.

All competitions and promotions involving Sony Ericsson are run through official channels such as Sony Ericsson’s website or Sony Ericsson’s partners’ websites. Please be wary of any competition or promotion that appears to come from outside of Sony Ericsson or Sony Ericsson’s partners official channels. Examples of these include via spam emails or SMS.

Please do not reply to or forward the email if you receive it.

Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Explanation (Exp: 2)

This message claims that the recipient will get a free Blackberry simply by sending the email to eight other people. And, supposedly, if the recipient sends the message to more than twenty people, he or she will be given not one but two Blackberry phones. According to the message, the giveaway is part of a Blackberry "promotional drive". The participant is instructed to send a copy of the email to a marketing manager at Blackberry at the same time that he or she forwards it to the eight or twenty friends.

However, the claims in the message are untrue. Blackberry certainly will not be handing out free products in exchange for forwarding an email. In fact, the message is yet another variant of a long running series of hoax messages that claim that recipients can get free products just for forwarding an email. Email sent to the marketing manager email address specified in the message are returned with a "recipient address rejected: user unknown" error.

Moreover, this email hoax is having a detrimental impact on the reputation of a person who happens to have the same name and occupation as that listed in the message. The real Amanda Lee who is a marketing manager in the IT industry in South Africa is concerned that her name is being circulated in a false association with this hoax message. Amanda Lee has no connection whatsoever with the hoax message and does not work for Blackberry. Her name was added to the hoax without her permission or knowledge. Thus, those who send on this absurd and ridiculous hoax message are not only helping to distribute utterly pointless nonsense, but are also inadvertently helping to damage the reputation of a real person who has done nothing wrong.

And an even earlier version claims that Nokia is giving forwarders free mobile phones:
Nokia Is Giving Away Phones For "FREE"!!

Nokia is trying word-of-mouth advertising to introduce its products.And the reward you receive for advertising for them is a phone free of cost! To receive your free phone all you need to do is send this email out to 8 people (for a free Nokia 6210) or to 20 people (for a free Nokia WAP).Within 2 weeks you will receive a free phone. (They contact you via your email address).

You must send a copy to
Thus it seems clear that some prankster has simply taken an older version of the hoax and re-purposed it so that it targets Blackberry rather than Nokia or Sony Ericsson and tacked on a picture of a Blackberry for good measure.

Many other hoaxes make the absurd claim that a recipient can get free products, services, vouchers or cash just for sending on an email. The tactic is a favourite ruse of Internet pranksters because it virtually guarantees that their ridiculous messages will not only spread far and wide, but will very often continue to circulate for months or even years after they are launched.

Of course, many companies do run promotional campaigns that offer participants the chance to gain free or heavily discounted products or services. However, no legitimate company is ever likely to run a promotion based on the random and uncontrolled forwarding of an email. Real promotions will always include or link to documents that clearly specify such things as start and end dates for the promotion, legal terms pertaining to the promotion and detailed conditions of entry. Hoaxes such as this supposed Blackberry promotion never include limiting factors such as conclusion dates or entry conditions. Therefore, a company foolish enough to lend itself to such an absurd promotional campaign might ultimately find itself obligated to hand over thousands of laptops or phones - an outcome that could potential lead to economic ruin for that company . Thus, it is laughable to suggest that any company would engage in such an ill conceived promotional tactic.

Any message that claims that you can get something - be it free products or services, vouchers, gifts, competition entries or cash - just for forwarding an email is virtually certain to be a hoax. If you receive such a message, please do not further the spread of such nonsense by passing it on to others.

Reality of Pen PC - Amazing Technology From Japan

Beware! It's a Cyber World - - Summary:

An email being spreading all over claims that attached photographs depict a revolutionary new pen-shaped personal computer that operates via a projected virtual keyboard and monitor.

In fact, these photographs are genuine but they show only a prototype computer. These devices are not yet available to consumers. It is currently unknown when or where if personal computers of this type will become available to the public.


Subject: FW: Amazing Technology from Japan!

I must have one of these

Look closely and guess what they could be...

Are they pens with cameras?

Any wild guesses? No clue yet?

Ladies and gentlemen... congratulations!
You've just looked into the future... yep that's right!

You've just seen something that will replace your PC in the near future.

Here is how it works:

Read More

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Interesting Facts About Facebook Leading Towards Identity Theft

Internet security company AVG just released worrying statistics related to the prevalence of baby pics on social networking sites (cough* cough* Facebook! cough*).

We say “worrying” because the newborn (and even yet-to-be-born) generation now has the potential to have the largest digital footprint yet. While your average 30, 40, 50 year-old social networking enthusiast has only been leaving a trail of personal info online for several years to a decade, them baies are being set up for a life that unravels on the web.

Here are the official findings from the report:

“Almost a quarter (23%) of children begin their digital lives when parents upload their prenatal sonogram scans to the Internet. This figure is higher in the US, where 34 percent have posted sonograms online, while in Canada the figure is even higher at 37 percent. Fewer parents share sonograms of their children in France (13%), Italy (14%) and Germany (15%). Likewise only 14 percent of parents share these online in Japan.

And herein is the problem. Ignoring the motivations of over excited mummies, putting that much personal information online may become problematic in the future (er, identity theft anyone?).

AVG concluded on a rather mild note though:

“What kind of footprint do you actually want to start for your child, and what will they think about the information you’ve uploaded in future?”

So the moral of the story is, ladies and gentlemen, please mind those privacy settings.

Interesting Facts About October 2010 - - Silly and Pointless Claim About October

Beware! It's a Cyber World - - Summary:

Heavily spread message claims that October 2010 has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays and that this combination of days only occurs once in 823 years.

It is true that October 2010 has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. However, such a combination occurs far more often than every 823 years. The last occurrence was in October 2004 while the next occurrence will take place in October 2021. The message is a revised version of a very similar- and equally erroneous - message about August 2010.


An interesting fact about October 2010:

This OCTOBER has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays, all in 1 month.

It happens once in 823 years. These are considered money bags months. Pass them to 8 good people and money will appear. Based on Chinese fengshui. Whoever stops this will experience none…..


Beware! It's a Cyber World - - Explanation:

This message, which has been circulating via social networking websites as well as email, claims to reveal an "interesting fact" about October 2010 in that the month has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. The message claims that this particular combination of days in October only happens once in every 823 years.

It is true that October 2010 has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. However, there is nothing particularly "interesting" or unusual about this fact. And it is certainly not true that such a combination only happens every 823 years. In fact, such combination occur every few years. As the following calendar shows, the next year that has a month of October with 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays will be 2021. This is a mere eleven years in the future, not 823 years as suggested in the message:

And, the same combination occurred as recently as 2004:

In fact, any month that has 31 days will have three consecutive days that occur five times in the month. Such combinations are commonplace and occur each and every year. For example, October 2011 will have 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays and 5 Mondays.

This message is just a revamped version of another "interesting fact" that circulated earlier in the year that informed recipients that August 2010 was special because it boasted 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays and 5 Tuesdays. The August version also falsely claimed that the "event" only took place once every 823 years.

The October version tacks on an extra bit of nonsense that claims that such combinations are considered "money bag months" and that if we pass on the message to "8 good people" money will come our way.

Since many months with such combination will come along in the months and years to come, we are perhaps likely to see our inboxes and social networks cluttered with updated versions of these silly- and utterly pointless - messages as time goes by.

Thomas Cowling: Victim of Rumour on The Facebook

Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Summary:

A message is being posted on Facebook that warns users to be careful about a man named Thomas Cowling because he is attempting to contact children on Facebook to talk about sex.

Baseless, just baseless. This rumour is totally fake, having no clues. Not even a single credible evidence of any kind supports the claims in the message. The warning message appears to be an altered version of an earlier, and equally baseless, message that warned user about a man named Thierry Mairot. Moreover, there are many people that share the name Thomas Cowling who could be unfairly impacted by this rumour. This fake warning is without merit and should not be re-posted for the sake of not supporting internet criminals.

Original message posted on Facebook looks like shown below:



Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Explanation:

This breathless "warning" message, which is currently circulating around social networking website Facebook at a rate of knots, advises people to watch out for another Facebook user named Thomas Cowling. According to the message, this Thomas Cowling is attempting to contact children via their Facebook profiles in order to talk to them about sex. The message asks users to "urgently" re-post the information to warn other users.

However, there is no credible evidence whatsoever to support the unsubstantiated claims in this warning message. In fact, the message is almost certainly nothing more than a mutated version of an earlier - and equally bogus - Facebook "warning" about a person named Thierry Mairot. As the following example of the Thierry Mairot version illustrates, the two are very similar in wording:
ATTENTION…To all parents whose children have a profile on facebook. There is a man trying to get in contact with children to talk about sex. His name is Thierry Mairot. Please copy and paste this onto your wall and warn all ur friends! Please everyone Moms and Dads …re-post an…d get him off of Facebook! Parents, Grandparents Aunts, Uncles and Cousins! EVEN if you have NO kids
Thus, it seems likely that some malicious prankster has simply substituted the name "Thomas Cowling" for the original "Thierry Mairot" and re-posted the message.

Spreading scurrilous rumours such as this without any evidence whatsoever that the claims in the "warning" are true is simply wrong. Such nasty stories can have a very damaging, long term impact on a person's life. Moreover, even in the unlikely event that one person named "Thomas Cowling" did make inappropriate advances on Facebook, this vague warning could still have a very negative impact on innocent individuals who share that name. Thomas Cowling is in fact a quite common name. There are several people with that name who have profiles on Facebook and searches indicate that there are many people in the world that share that name, including several figures of historical significance.

The warning message makes no effort whatsoever to identify which particular "Thomas Cowling" it might be referring to. Thus, many people that share the name may be unfairly tarnished by this baseless rumour, especially if they happen to be Facebook users. Unfortunately, Facebook is becoming a perfect vehicle for destructive scuttlebutt such as this.

The Internet makes it very easy for faceless cowards to make unfounded accusations against others, while remaining anonymous. They may never be required to justify their accusations in any way. If malicious individuals want to discredit, embarrass or annoy someone, or indeed destroy his or her reputation, all they may have to do is create a damaging rumour and post it on Facebook or other social networks.

And even a hint of pedophilia or perversion is often enough to raise great ire and concern among parents and others who care for children. Thus, such accusations, even if totally unfounded can be a very powerful weapon when wielded by unscrupulous individuals or groups intent on character assassination. Once started, rumours like this can take on a life of their own. Even if the original accuser belatedly learns that his or accusations were wrong, it may well be impossible to stop the further spread of the rumour as it continues its destructive journey. Thus, it is simply irresponsible to post on baseless accusation such as this.

Of course, it is paramount that we take every step to keep vulnerable children safe online. If we are to let younger children use Facebook at all, then as parents and guardians, we should take concrete steps to actively and continually monitor and control their usage. However, spreading scurrilous nonsense such as this warning will do nothing whatsoever to protect our children.

Please help to stop the spread of this nasty and destructive rumour. Its continued spread could seriously damage an innocent person's life and reputation. If you receive this message - or one like it since other versions are bound to follow - please do not pass it on to others.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Phishing Scam by Internet Fraudsters - - Rejected Federal Tax Payment Mail

Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Summary:
Email purporting to be from the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) claims that the recipient's federal tax payment has been rejected and urges him or her to follow a link to rectify the problem.

In fact, the email is a scam and is not from the EFTPS. Those who are tricked into following the link will be asked to submit personal and financial information on a bogus website. This information can then be collected by Internet criminals.


Subject: Your Federal Tax Payment ID: 010363182 is failed

Your Federal Tax Payment ID: 010375249 has been rejected.
Return Reason Code R21 - The identification number used in the Company Identification Field is not valid.
Please, check the information and refer to Code R21 to get details about your company payment in transaction contacts section:

[Link removed]

In other way forward information to your accountant adviser.
The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System

Your tax payment is due regardless of EFTPS online availability. In case of an emergency, you can always make your tax payment by calling the EFTPS.


Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Explanation:

This email, which purports to be from US tax payment service Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), claims that the recipient's tax payment has been rejected due to a submission error. The message asks the recipient to click a link in order to review details about the error. The message includes a sender address and link that are seemingly valid EFTPS addresses.

However, the email is not from the EFTPS. The link in the message has been disguised so that it appears to point to the genuine EFTPS website. In fact, it is a phishing scam designed to steal personal information from recipients. At the time of writing, clicking the link in more recent scam emails that I have received invokes a "Page Not Found" error, apparently because the bogus website has been taken down. However, earlier instances of the scam emails opened a fake page designed to look like the genuine EFTPS. The fake page asked users to login to the system and provide personal and financial details. All information submitted on the bogus website is collected by Internet criminals and can then be used for fraud and identity theft.

The EFTPS has posted a warning about these phishing scams on its website, which notes in part:
Remember! EFTPS values your privacy and security and will never attempt to contact you via e-mail.
This scam campaign appears to be ongoing. A second wave of the scam emails is prefixed with the words "SECOND NOTICE" in the subject line. Scammers often put up new phishing websites to replace ones that have been taken down and change links in their scam emails accordingly. If you receive one of these emails, do not click any links that it may contain. Do not open any attachments that may arrive with the email.

Phishing scammers regular use bogus tax related emails as a means of tricking people into handing over personal information. Another scam campaign involves emails purporting to be from the IRS that claim that the recipient is eligible for a tax refund. Similar scams have targeted taxpayers in several other countries, including Australia, Canada, the UK and South Africa. Be very cautious of following links or opening attachments in any email that claims to be from the tax agency in your country or any other government department or law enforcement agency. Phishing scammers very regularly use such ruses to gain new victims.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Keylogger - - A Threat to Your Private Information While Using Public Computers

Beware! Its a Cyber World -- Summary:

Through mail and different social networks; a widely circulated message warns users of public computers to check for a black device that, when plugged into the computer's keyboard by a fraudster, can store all key strokes entered, including passwords.

In fact, such keylogging devices do exist and they certainly can be used to steal personal information from unsuspecting computer users. Computer users should be aware that such devices exist and may be used to steal data. However, the devices are not new technology as suggested in the message and they are not always black. Keyloggers come in all shapes, sizes and colours. There are also software keyloggers that users may inadvertently download from malicious websites. Software keyloggers are probably a more potent security threat than the hardware devices described in the message.

Let's have a look to the contents of the message and related images

Beware the black device connected to the keyboard.



Additional adapter

New storing device fits at the end of the keyboard cable connecting to the PC specialized to save all typed keys in it.

Mostly could be used in net cafes, exhibitions, hotels and airports therefore be careful especially the people who use the Internet in these places to enter their bank accounts online or any other important sites.

After you enter the bank account and leave the PC it will be easy to open your account again as all that you have typed has been saved in the Black device.

Therefore, you should check the PC for any suspicious piece behind it before using the net in public places for important sites.

Please send it to all who you know to educate them against this fraud.

Beware! Its a Cyber World -- Explanation:

This warning message, which has circulated in various versions for several years, advises people using public computers such as those in Internet Cafes to watch out for a "black device" that can steal the user's data when connected to the computer's keyboard. The message claims that after the device has been plugged into the keyboard cable and then into the back of the computer, it can then record every keystroke entered into the computer. Thus, claims the message, when the fraudster who placed the device subsequently retrieves it, he or she will be able to harvest any information that the user has entered on the computer, including bank account details and other private information. The message normally includes pictures showing the black device and how it is installed.

Such devices do exist and are generally known as "key loggers". The brand of keylogger shown in the message is a KeyShark Key Logger and is available for sale at many different computer outlets and websites around the world. Product information about the device describes it as follows:
This is a device that can be connected to a keyboard to record all keystrokes. It has a changeable password, keyword search, enable/disable option, and stores over a years worth of data.

Keyshark plugs in between your keyboard and your computer. A microcontroller interprets the data, and stores information in the non-volatile memory (which retains the information even when there is a loss of power.) This means that the Key Shark device can be unplugged, and the information will not be lost.

To access the recorded data, you simply type menu in a text editor and the Key Shark comes to life. A menu is displayed with options to erase data, view data, search data for keywords, change password, or disable the device.
The black Keyshark Key Logger shown in the photographs is in fact only one kind of hardware keylogger. The devices come in all shapes and sizes and are not always black. There are also USB and wifi keyloggers as well as PS/2 devices like the one shown here. And despite the claim in the warning message, the devices are certainly not new. In fact, they have been around in one form or another for a number of years.

It should be noted that the devices themselves are not illegal and can be easily procured. Possible legitimate applications for keyloggers might be the monitoring of children's use of the Internet, permission based monitoring of staff activity or helping software developers learn how test users interact with new software products. Law enforcement agencies may also use the devices when gathering evidence or intelligence. That said, keyloggers can indeed be used for nefarious and illegal purposes.

So, what of the scenario described in the warning message? It is not impossible that criminals might use such tactics and may indeed have done so, especially if they were actively targeting a specific user. However, installing and later retrieving enough of the devices to enable the scammers to collect a meaningful amount of usable data seems a little problematical. The devices are not particularly cheap, so procuring enough of the devices to make such a scam consistently pay off could require a considerable monetary outlay for our would be hacker. Moreover, installing the device involves disconnecting the keyboard, plugging the keylogger into the back of the computer, and then reconnecting the keyboard - not a particular easy procedure to perform in a crowded Internet Cafe. Nevertheless, users of public computers would be wise to keep an eye out for such devices. An unscrupulous Internet Cafe owner or staff member could certainly install the devices unbeknownst to customers

All in all, however, a much more potent keylogging threat to users exists in the form of software keyloggers. Software keyloggers, which can perform the same function as hardware devices such as the Keyshark, are much cheaper and can potentially be installed on a great many more computers. Keylogger software in the form of trojans horses can be installed on thousands or even millions of computers via malware email campaigns that cost the criminal very little to implement. Therefore, it seems probable that serious criminals are considerably more likely to operate software keyloggers than use the more expensive and cumbersome hardware variety.

Muslims Prayer on Madison Avenue on Every Friday - - Reality or Anti-Religiion Hoax

Beware! Its a Cyber World -- Summary:

Through mail and different social networks; a widely circulated protest message claims that, every Friday, many Muslims pray on Madison Avenue and other streets of New York, thereby blocking streets and disrupting traffic. The message includes photographs depicting large groups of Muslims praying.

The images and photographs attached to the said message, though genuine, but the description is inaccurate and misleading. The images depict scenes from the annual Muslim Day Parade in New York City. The parade has taken place every year since 1985. The parade only takes place once per year. Muslims do not block New York streets to pray every Friday as claimed in the message.

Let's have a look to the contents of the message; which is spreading a wrong image about Muslims:

Subject: This is Madison Ave. in New York City

Political Madness – Will History repeat itself in our lifetime? PLEASE, read to the end – and you can make your own decision on how you feel, and send to all friends and acquaintances. At least they wont be able to say – “I didn’t see it coming”. I didn’t take too much notice of this situation when I first heard about it. But now I am concerned. You should be too. People of all faiths should be concerned – that is why you are receiving this.

Be informed, Be Concerned, Be aware, Don’t let Political Correctness silence you.

From an American who is a retired international lawyer in Madrid.

This is an accurate picture of every Friday afternoon in several locations throughout New York City where there are mosques with a large number of Muslims that cannot fit into the mosque - They fill the surrounding streets, facing east for a couple of hours between about 2 & 4 p.m. - Besides this one at 42nd St & Madison Ave, there is another, even larger group, at 94th St & 3rd Ave, etc.,etc. - Also, I presume, you are aware of the dispute over building another "high rise" Mosque a few blocks from "ground zero" - With regard to that one, the "Imam" refuses to disclose where the $110 million dollars to build it is coming from and there is a lawsuit filed to force disclosure of that information - November can't come soon enough.

This scene is in New York City on Madison Avenue, not in France or the Middle East or Yemen or Kenya.

They are claiming America for Allah. If we don't wake up soon, we are going to "politically correct" ourselves right out of our own country!

A Christian Nation cannot put up a Christmas scene of the baby Jesus in a public place, but the Muslims can stop normal traffic every Friday afternoon by worshiping in the streets.... Something is happening in America that is reminiscent of what is happening in Europe. This is Political Correctness gone crazy...

"For evil to flourish, all that is needed is for good people to do nothing." Edmund Burke

Beware! Its a Cyber World -- Explanation:

According to this widely circulated protest message, every Friday afternoon, large numbers of Muslims block streets in various locations in New York City, including Madison Avenue, in order to pray. The message claims that mosques in New York cannot hold all those wishing to worship, so Muslims take over nearby streets each and every Friday afternoon, thereby disrupting normal traffic flow. The message includes several photographs depicting large groups of Muslims praying on Madison Avenue in New York.

The photographs are genuine and do indeed show large numbers of Muslims praying on Madison Avenue. However, the accompanying description is highly misleading and inaccurate. The photographs show scenes from the annual Muslim Day Parade that takes place every September or October in New York City. The key word here is "annual". The mass prayer sessions depicted in the photographs do not take place every Friday in New York as claimed in the message. Muslim worshippers do not block New York streets every Friday afternoon. Claims that such disruptive, street-based prayer sessions occur every week are simply untrue.

The Muslim Day Parade has taken place in New York City since the mid 1980's, in September or October. A history of the Muslim Day Parade published on the parade's official website notes:
New York City is the capital of the world and center of economic, business, social and cultural activities. When it comes to social and cultural activities, it houses many ethnic groups from around the world such as Irish, Italian, Latin, Afro-American, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim. Up until 1985, all these groups were celebrating their ethic and cultural heritage in one form or the other, which included street activities, festivals and parades with the exception of the Muslims.

So, in 1984, few Muslim brothers got together, thought that when there are so many cultural shows and parades are being held in the City then Muslims should also demonstrate their different cultural beauties along with our Islamic values. Muslim representation in the City and State was zero. So they planned about having a United American Muslim Day Parade in New York City which will provide a platform to the Muslim community in this Tri-State are to get together and join the main stream political arena of this country as we have adopted it as our homeland. We are here for good our children have to carry on our Islamic Values in the future when we will be gone.
The parade history states that the first Muslim Day Parade took place in September 1985 and the event has been held every year since.

The first three photographs in the message depict scenes from the 2008 Muslim Day Parade. The same photographs can be viewed in a post about the parade published on the Atlas Shrugs blog in October 2008. The last photograph in the sequence can be seen on the same blog in a post about the 2009 Muslim Day Parade.

The 2010 parade was held on 26 September. An article about the parade published in the New York Times reports:
The scene seemed surreal, yet oddly poignant: at a silent, deserted intersection in the center of Midtown Manhattan, beneath bland corporate logos and brick office buildings, hundreds of Muslims knelt on a sprawling tarpaulin, faced due east and commenced the midday call to prayer.

The ceremony, held along a blocked-off portion of Madison Avenue, marked the start of the American Muslim Day Parade on Sunday, an annual event, first held in 1985, that brings together Muslims of many ethnicities and nationalities who worship in the New York region.
Like the many other official parades that take place each year in New York City, the Muslim Day Parade is properly planned and organized prior to the event and has the necessary authorization and permits from the New York City authorities. And, to reiterate, the parade and the prayer sessions that are part of the event take place only once per year, not every week as claimed in this protest message.

Finally, it should be noted that the supposed Edmund Burke quote included at the end of the message - "For evil to flourish, all that is needed is for good people to do nothing" - may well be misattributed. Edmund Burke was an 18th century Irish political philosopher and politician who is often thought of as the father of modern conservatism. Information about the supposed quote on Wikiquote notes:
This is probably the most quoted statement attributed to Burke, and an extraordinary number of variants of it exist, but all without any definite original source. These very extensively used "quotations" may be based on a paraphrase of some of Burke's ideas, but he is not known to have ever declared them in such a manner in any of his writings. It may have been adapted from these lines of Burke's in his Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents (1770): "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

Burke's alleged quote bears a striking resemblance to the narrated theme of Sergei Bondarchuk's Soviet film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's book "War and Peace", in which the narrator declares "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing", although since the original is in Russian various translations to English are possible.

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