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Melbourne/Los Angeles: Mall massacre hoax accused dies July 31, 2008

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Nine Msn News, 31 July 2008

Jarrad Willis was found dead on July 8 in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston, police said. The circumstances around the death will be the subject of a coronial investigation.

Willis, 21, was due to face Frankston Magistrates Court on charges of criminal defamation, which were related to circulating an email rather than the threat posted to website 4chan.

The hoax threat, posted to 4chan’s infamous /b/ imageboard, claimed a shooting rampage would occur at the Grove shopping centre in Beverly Hills on December 6, 2007.

“This is my last message, tomorrow a shooting will go down at 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles … I will not stop until I am incapacitated or killed by a police officer,” the threat read.

Police reacted by scrambling officers to the shopping centre and launching an international manhunt, which eventually tracked the message to Willis’s IP address.

The police operation cost in excess of $100,000.

Willis, a 21-year-old philosophy student, was detained over the prank but never charged. Police later charged him with offences relating to other incidents.

The hoax attracted worldwide media attention and Willis gained notoriety among 4chan denizens.

4chan is an anarchic online community best known as a birthplace of many popular internet memes, including Rickrolling and LOLcats.

It is also intimately connected to Anonymous, the shadowy internet group that declared war on Scientology in January this year.

Willis’s death is an open coronial case and no date has yet been set for an inquest.

MySpace suicide: Accused Lori Drew’s lawyer files documents challenging law July 23, 2008

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KTRS 550, 23 July 2008

Lori Drew’s attorney says the law being used to prosecute his client is flawed. H. Dean Steward represents Drew who is accused of using a fake identity on myspace to harass Megan Meier who later committed suicide. He filed 3 documents in Los Angeles federal court calling the law constitutionally vague and criminalizes something done by millions on-line daily. Steward also says prosecutors went too far to charge Drew with anything they could find.

More at St. Louis Post Dispatch

Florida Criminal Case: Efforts to rein in online fight videos July 23, 2008

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Christian Science Monitor, 22 July 2008

Pressure builds on social-networking websites to do more to block such content. Legislation is afoot, too.

The images played out in shocking detail this spring: a group of Florida teens beating a girl and videotaping it to allegedly post online at YouTube and MySpace. Some of them face felony charges and the possibility of life in prison. (more)

Update: New date set in the case of Jeremy Dalin July 22, 2008

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The case of the Fox River Grove teenager convicted last month of falsely making a terrorist threat against Stevenson High School, Jeremy Dalin, has been continued to 08/07/08 for sentencing.

Source: Court Clerk of the Lake County Circuit Court

4chan Cyberbullying: Web-initiated harassment of grandma continues July 20, 2008

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The Herald-Zeitung, 20 July 2008

Web postings urging online and telephone harassment of Herald-Zeitung employees appeared Saturday morning on the Internet hours after an article was published describing similar attacks toward a New Braunfels woman.

Throughout the past week, published news stories and video news clips from San Antonio and Austin television stations posted on YouTube reported that New Braunfels grandmother Mary Alice Altorfer believed a printed flyer stuck on the gate to her River Tree neighborhood’s pool was a racist insult toward her two biracial grandchildren. Soon anonymous Internet postings critical of Altorfer urged Internet viewers to harass her. Altorfer said she received crank phone calls. She was the subject of abusive and derisive comments posted on Web sites.

The homemade flyer depicting a black man with a large Afro bears the words “Pool’s Closed,” and appeared after Altorfer’s visiting grandchildren, ages 6 and 8, went for a swim in the pool.

The image on the flyer is an avatar, and according to numerous Web postings, an icon that was used by members of an Internet users “collective” calling itself “Anonymous” during an attack in 2006 on the Habba game Web site. The attack reportedly was initiated because the Web site would not allow game players to use African-American avatars.

On Internet postings this past week, Altorfer’s assertion that the flyer was a racist gesture to her grandchildren was cited as the reason by “anonymous” Internet users for harassing Altorfer. (continue)

Cyber Bullying Starts After Investigation into High School Coaches July 19, 2008

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WCTV 18 July 2008

“Earlier this week we told you about the resignation of Lincoln High School’s head softball coach Frank Johnson and assistant coach, Christopher Flowers. They resigned after a parent’s complaint started an investigation of alleged misconduct.Now the daughter of the parents who filed the complaint has been receiving threats and vulgar messages on her Myspace page. The Tallahassee Police Department is helping with this investigation.” (More)

Dalin Case: Sentencing postponed July 18, 2008

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Daily Herald, 18 July 2008

Sentencing postponed

The sentencing hearing for a Fox River Grove teenager convicted last month of falsely making a terrorist threat against Stevenson High School was postponed Thursday. Jeremie Dalin faces up to 15 years in prison for posting the threat on a Web site last fall. The sentencing had been scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Lake County circuit court but was called off. No information was available about a new date.

Cyberbullying grows bigger and meaner with photos, video July 17, 2008

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USA Today

Ricky Alatorre doesn’t know which classmate surreptitiously hoisted a cellphone camera and snapped his picture or exactly when it happened.

All Ricky, 16, knows is the fuzzy yet distinguishable portrait of him in English class showed up on MySpace, on a page that claimed to be his. And the fake profile, titled “The Rictionary,” not only identified his school (more …)

Hackers for hire July 17, 2008

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the Inquirer, 17 July 2008

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

Hackers are now professionals using white boards, pie charts and spouting words like ‘paradigm’, ‘cash cow’, and ‘model’.

A report from web security outfit called Finjan claims that the days of the lone hacker who steals and resells credit card numbers is a thing of the past.

Hacks for fame have been replaced by the concept of creating a business where you have frequent customers who buy your stolen product.

Finjan staff went under cover by pretending to be potential customers and found that cybercrime outfits have a structure much like the Mafia.

There is a ‘boss’ who is a business entrepreneur and doesn’t commit the crimes himself, with an ‘underboss’ who manages the operation. The number two sometimes provides the software tools. Then there are ‘campaign managers’ who lead their own attacks to steal data with their ‘affiliation networks’.

Stolen data is sold by ‘resellers’, similar to the Mafia’s ‘associates’. Since these individuals did not partake in the actual cybercrime, they know nothing about the original attacks.

Stolen credit cards and bank accounts are cheap while stolen healthcare-related information, login credentials for organisations, e-mail, and FTP accounts are more expensive.

Megan Meier Case: Trial dates set July 17, 2008

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In the MySpace suicide case of Megan Meier, Los Angeles District Judge Wu held a status conference at which the lawyers agreed to a five-day trial against Lori Drew to begin on October 7. Defense motions are due July 23 and the hearing on those motions will take place September 4. Drew is currently free on a $20,000 bond.

Related: Lori Drew’s indictment, May 2008

Flipping hackers on the attack July 17, 2008

Posted by cyberpatrol in 4chan.org, Anonymous, christopher poole, google, Hacking.
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the inquirer

Google has had its Hot Trends system hacked for the second time in seven days.

Last week a swastika appeared on Google Trends as a top queried term. It was removed and a spokesGoogle claimed that a link on a popular Internet bulletin board, 4Chan, was to blame.

Last night the most queried term on Google Trends was no longer a Swastika, it was the statement “ǝlƃooƃ noʎ ʞɔnɟ”.

So far no one has worked out how it could happen. Google claims the Hot Trends list is automatically generated by machines and algorithms that detect hot or breaking queries.

But flipped text seems to imply that there is a hacker involved rather than just people playing the system.

Hacker from New Zealand escapes penalty July 17, 2008

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ePaymentsNews Network

A 19-year-old New Zealander called Owen Thor Walker was accused of designing software to steal millions of dollars from bank accounts. He has escaped conviction, although he pleaded guilty and he may be offered a job by the police, as the latter are interested in using the hacker’s knowledge in the fight against cybercrime.

Owen Thor Walker was arrested in November 2007 because he was accused of leading a hacking gang that stole USD 24 million from victims worldwide. He designed software which was used by the gang to install malicious software on computers and steal usernames, passwords and credit card details.

According to the New Zealand police, Walker was hired by the gang to design the software to be used to access people’s bank accounts. He did not directly take money from people’s bank accounts. The police are interested in using the hacker’s knowledge in the fight against cybercrime and thus, he may be offered a job within this institution.

‘Cyberbullying’ a new public health threat July 16, 2008

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iStockAnalyst, 15 July 2008

So-called cyberbullying is becoming a serious problem in the age of MySpace and YouTube and is emerging as a public health threat, experts say.

The percentage of U.S. youngsters aged 10 to 17 who said they were victims of cyberbullying increased from 6 percent to 9 percent from 2000-05, to a report by the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, as reported by USA Today Tuesday, said.

The report also found that the number of young people who said they had “made rude or nasty comments to someone on the Internet” increased from 14 percent to 28 percent in the same period.

But experts say many more instances of cyberbulling go unreported because of the fear that tormentors will become angrier and bully them more and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control calls it “an emerging public-health problem” that needs more attention, USA Today said.

“You’re bullied twice,” Nancy Willard, author of “Cyber-Safe Kids,” “Cyber-Savvy Teens” and “Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats” told USA Today. “You’re bullied in the real world with a physical attack, and then you’re bullied online with humiliation. It’s very hurtful. Very, very hurtful.”

At the Uneasy Intersection of Bloggers and the Law July 15, 2008

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New York Times, 15 July 2008

There is no better way to get a blogger talking than by telling him what he cannot publish — although you might forgive a government prosecutor for thinking otherwise.

A grand jury subpoena sent by prosecutors in the Bronx earlier this year sought information to help identify people blogging anonymously on a Web site about New York politics called Room 8.

The subpoena carried a warning in capital letters that disclosing its very existence “could impede the investigation being conducted and thereby interfere with law enforcement” — implying that if the bloggers blabbed, they could be prosecuted. (go to the full article)

Online Cyber-Bullying Attacks Increased 50 Percent From 2000 To 2005 July 15, 2008

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Allheadlinenews.com, 15 July 2008

Cyber-bullying is rising as “netizens” find it easier-and-easier to post photos and videos on social-networking websites and harass victims. A report by the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center says the number of young Americans between the ages 10 to 17 who experienced online harassment increased 50 percent from 2000 to 2005. (to the full article)