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Teenager Abraham K. Biggs Commits Suicide on Live Webcam November 22, 2008

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Associated Content, 21 November 2008

He said he would do it. And he did. Abraham K. Biggs, a 19-year-old Florida bodybuilder, took some sleeping pills on live webcam, lay down and went to sleep. Just like he said he would.

But the teenager never intended to wake up. And he didn’t.

While others watched. And others turned away. And still others encouraged and taunted him.

Abraham K. Biggs, known online as “CandyJunkie” and “Mr. Biggs,” told fellow users in an online bodybuilding forum on Justin.tv – a lifecasting website, where users share via webcam their everyday lives – that he would be committing suicide and invited them to tune in.

Some users saw Biggs take what looked like sleeping pills, lay down on his bed with his back to the camera, and stop moving. After a few hours, some worried that he may have actually went through with his threat because of the stillness of his body. Authorities were notified and police entered the room — live on webcam. After checking for a pulse, they covered the webcam.

Abraham K. Biggs has been reportedly pronounced dead by a Broward Country medical examiner.

Biggs posted on MySpace that he was going to commit suicide three days before he actually went through with it. A post from a week before related how he had closed a chapter in his life and was apologetic to friends for his recent behavior.

It is alleged that some users have deleted their posts from the forum. In light of the ongoing court case involving the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier as a result of alleged cyberbullying from neighbor Lori Drew, users fear that they may in some way be held responsible are well grounded.

Testimony in the Meier case began Wednesday (November 19) in Los Angeles, although the suicide took place in Missouri. The alleged bullying took place on MySpace, where 49-year-old Lori Drew created the MySpace account of “Josh Evans” to allegedly ridicule and harass teenager Megan Meier. MySpace’s corporate offices are located in Los Angeles.

Sarah Palin’s e-mail hacker refutes ‘hacker’ term November 15, 2008

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Straight.com, 14 November 2008

David Kernell, the 20-year-old University of Tennessee student who accessed Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account, insists that what he did should not be considered “hacking”.

According to Wired.com, Kernell’s lawyer has filed a motion that would prevent prosecutors and witnesses from classifying what Kernell’s actions as “hacking” and from calling Kernell a “hacker”.

Apparently, the only thing that Kernell did was correctly guess Palin’s security questions by using Google searches to guide him.

All Kernell needed was Palin’s date of birth, ZIP code, and the knowledge of where she met her husband—information that’s available online for anyone to view.

After resetting Palin’s password to “popcorn”, Kernell posted the Alaskan governor’s e-mail and password on the 4chan forums—a large Internet discussion board that ranges in topics from Japanese culture to video games and sports.

Kernell’s lawyer is arguing that hacking usually involves some sort of advanced computer skills to get past security codes and that guessing a password shouldn’t be counted as such.

Steve Jobs Heart Attack Rumor Started On 4Chan By A Teenager November 5, 2008

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The Common Sense Investor, October 2008

On October 3rd, a rumor that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a heart attack sent Apple’s stock crashing down from $105.04 per share to $94.65 per share, equaling a loss of $9 billion in market value. All that in just 10 minutes. That shows how important Steve Jobs is to Apple. It also shows how fragile the market is at times.

Generally, when a fake news story has a substantial impact on the value of a company’s stock, the SEC gets involved. And that’s just what they did this time. Manipulating the value of a stock for your personal gain is a crime with some hefty penalties, so the SEC tried to trace the story and see if it’s originator had any financial reasons for starting the rumor. It turns out he didn’t.

The story made it’s way to CNN’s iReport.com, which is where it really started to hit the mainstream news, but it’s origin was a tad less respectable: an 18 year-old kid posting on 4Chan as a prank.

Here’s the complete post from CNN’s iReport “Citizen Journalist” Web site:
“Steve Jobs was rushed to the ER just a few hours ago after suffering a major heart attack,” said the false report. “I have an insider who tells me that paramedics were called after Steve claimed to be suffering from severe chest pains and shortness of breath. My source has opted to remain anonymous, but he is quite reliable. I haven’t seen anything about this anywhere else yet, and as of right now, I have no further information, so I thought this would be a good place to start. If anyone else has more information, please share it.”

“Battling Scientology” Follow-Up October 25, 2008

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The Phoenix, 24 October 2008

Depending on whom you ask, Massachusetts-based protest organizer Gregg Housh had a major victory – or a significant loss – in Boston Municipal Court this Wednesday. As reported in The Phoenix this past week in the feature “Battling Scientology,” Housh faced charges of harassment, disturbing the peace, and disturbing religious worship for his involvement with the picket group Anonymous and his actions against the Boston Church of Scientology.

According to an Anonymous press statement that circulated earlier this afternoon: “On October 22nd Boston Municipal Court dismissed the charge of criminal harassment against ‘Anonymous’ anti-Scientology activist Gregg Housh, pending an order for the two parties to not approach each other.”

Boston Church of Scientology attorney Marc LaCasse was quick to comment that Housh did not get off so easily. “Gregg Housh – under oath – admitted that the [evidence presented against him] was true. The document he signed is called ‘admission to sufficient facts.’ If it doesn’t get any clearer than that…”

Legally speaking, charges against Housh were not technically dismissed. Instead he agreed to a Continuance without a Finding (CWOF), which the Massachusetts Criminal Defense Resource Page explains as: “Under Massachusetts Criminal Laws, agreeing to a Continuance without a Finding is not the same as pleading guilty. Technically, it is an admission that “there are sufficient facts to find you guilty” of the charges. Pleading to a CWOF will happen at a pre-trial conference as part of a plea agreement, if your attorney can get the prosecutor to agree.” (For more about the legal side see this article from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly).

The good news is that all parties seem to be happy with the outcome. At least for now, it appears that Housh – who was placed on one year probation and who faces one year in prison if he enters within 100 yards of the Boston Church of Scientology on Beacon Street – avoided what promised to be a lengthy trial. On the other side, LaCasse says the outcome works for him: “My client simply wanted to be left alone.”

SCIENTOLOGY PROTESTER’S CASE CONTINUED WITHOUT FINDING October 23, 2008

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Suffolk District Attorney, 22 Oct 2008

A Boston Municipal Court judge today continued for one year the case against a Woburn man alleged to have disturbed proceedings at the Back Bay Church of Scientology earlier this year, and will dismiss the case if the defendant abides by certain conditions during that time.

Judge Thomas C. Horgan imposed a one-year continuance without a finding in the case against GREGG HOUSH (D.O.B. 10/17/76), who had been charged with disturbing an assembly of worship and disturbing the peace. If Housh stays away from the Back Bay headquarters of the Church of Scientology and its expected new headquarters in Boston’s South End, and if he does not re-offend in any other manner, those charges will be dismissed. If he does not abide by those terms, Housh’s case could be put back on track for trial.

Also in today’s proceedings, Suffolk prosecutors affirmatively moved to dismiss an additional charge of criminal harassment against Housh. After a review of the evidence, prosecutors determined they could not meet their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt on this charge and could not in good faith move forward with it. Had the case gone to trial, prosecutors would have introduced evidence and testimony to show that Housh and others entered the Church of Scientology’s Beacon Street building in a boisterous manner during a March 1 protest, disturbing the proceedings and alarming those inside. Attorney Michael Dlott represented Housh.

Teen admits to Scientology attack October 23, 2008

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Legalbrief Today, 22 Oct 2008

A teenager hacker has admitted carrying out a cyber attack that crashed Church of Scientology Web sites as part of a campaign by a mysterious underground group.

According to a report on the News24 site, Dmitriy Guzner, of New Jersey, will plead guilty to computer hacking for his role in launching a distributed denial of service attack against Scientology sites earlier this year, the Justice Department said. According to information filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles, Guzner described himself as a member of a shadowy Internet-based group known as ‘Anonymous’ that has carried out a series of protests against Scientology.

NEW JERSEY MAN CHARGED WITH ATTACKING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY WEBSITES IN THE NAME OF ‘ANONYMOUS’ October 18, 2008

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United States Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

Thom Mrozek
Public Affairs Officer

October 17, 2008

NEW JERSEY MAN CHARGED WITH ATTACKING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY WEBSITES IN THE NAME OF ‘ANONYMOUS’

LOS ANGELES – A New Jersey man was charged today for his role in an attack on Church of Scientology websites in January 2008 that rendered the websites unavailable.

Dmitriy Guzner, 18, of Verona, New Jersey, has agreed to plead guilty to computer hacking for his role in the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against the Scientology websites. A DDOS attack occurs where a large amount of malicious Internet traffic is directed at a website or a set of websites. The target websites are unable to handle the high volume of Internet traffic and therefore become unavailable to legitimate users trying to reach the sites.

According to the criminal information filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Guzner participated in the attack because he considered himself a member of an underground group called “Anonymous.”  “Anonymous” has led protests against the Church of Scientology at various locations across the country, and in January 2008 posted a video on YouTube which announced a new offensive against Scientology.

Once he pleads guilty, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks in federal court in New Jersey, Guzner faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force in Los Angeles. The agencies involved in the investigation were the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation.

#####

Release No. 08-140 – original here: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2008/140.html

‘Anonymous’ Member Unmasked, Charged With Web Attack on Scientology October 18, 2008

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Wired Blog, 17 Oct 2008

An 18-year-old New Jersey man agreed to plead guilty to federal computer hacking charges Friday for participating in a denial-of-service attack against Church of Scientology websites, as part of collective of online troublemakers known as “Anonymous.”

Dmitriy Guzner is charged with a single felony count of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer for the January distributed denial-of-service attack. He faces a likely sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison based on stipulations in his plea agreement, which also obliges him to pay $37,500 in restitution. (more)

Tennessee College Students Indicted In Palin Hacking October 11, 2008

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eCanada now

Washington (ECN) – 20-year old David Kernell has been indicted for hacking into the e-mail account of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

The U.S. Justice Department announced on Wednesday that the 20-year old has been indicted, and has since turned himself into authorities.

He is now set to appear before a U.S. judge, where he faces a $250,000 fine, as well as 5 years in prison if convicted.

The indictment states that Kernell hacked into the e-mail account of Palin back on September 16th.

He used the password reset feature to gain access to the Yahoo e-mail account.

He then posted some of the contents of the account, along with the password on an online message board.

The information was published on the site 4chan.org, according to the indictment.

The 20-year old is the son of Democratic state legislator Mike Kernell, and went by the online name rubico.

Gov. Palin’s Alleged Hacker Indicted October 8, 2008

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Washington Post, 8 October 2008

A 20-year-old student at the University of Tennessee has been indicted for breaking into one of the email accounts of Gov. Sarah Palin and then posting screenshots of personal information obtained there to a public Web-site.

David Kernell, the son of a Democratic state lawmaker, was led into a Knoxville federal court wearing handcuffs and shackles on his ankles today and was released without posting bond, according to the Associated Press.

According to the indictment, Kernell broke into the account, gov.palin@yahoo.com, by using Yahoo’s password recovery tool. After researching and correctly answering a series of personal questions from Yahoo, Kernell was allowed to reset the password. He chose ‘popcorn,’ according to the indictment.

The personal information he discovered there included the email addresses of family members, pictures of family members and Gov. Palin’s address book for her Yahoo email account. It was posted on http://www.4CHAN.org.

Learning of an investigation, Kernell “removed, altered, concealed and covered up files on his laptop computer,” the indictment says.

Trial is set for Dec. 16. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Tennessee: Grand jury doesn’t indict student in Palin e-mail case September 25, 2008

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Chattanooga Times Free Press 24 September 2008

A federal grand jury in Chattanooga ended its session Tuesday without indicting a University of Tennessee student who authorities believe may have hacked into vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account.

The FBI’s investigation into David Kernell’s activities, however, is ongoing, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Knoxville is overseeing the case, but U.S. Attorney Russ Dedrick declined to comment Tuesday on when, or if, another grand jury will resume hearing evidence from the FBI’s investigation.

“Grand juries can pursue investigations for many sessions,” Mr. Dedrick said.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Chattanooga confirmed Monday that the local federal grand jury would be evaluating the case Tuesday. Grand juries are responsible for hearing basic evidence in a case and then deciding whether to indict a suspect for a specific crime.

Grand jury proceedings are not open to the public, and it is not known what evidence the grand jury here might have heard Tuesday in relation to the case against Mr. Kernell.

Three students arrived at the federal courthouse on Georgia Avenue about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday to testify about Mr. Kernell, the son of state Rep. Michael Kernell, D-Memphis. The students did not provide their names and did not answer questions about the case. An attorney with them from Maryville, Tenn., declined comment, as well.

The students were allowed to leave the courthouse through the back door, where members of the public generally are not allowed.

FBI agents from Knoxville exited the front doors of the courthouse about 10 a.m., also declining to comment on any aspect of the case.

A hacker last week broke into one of the Yahoo Inc. e-mail accounts used by Alaska Gov. Palin, the running mate of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The McCain campaign acknowledged the act, calling it illegal and an invasion of her privacy.

The FBI began investigating Mr. Kernell over the weekend, according to the Justice Department. Investigators searched his apartment in Knoxville, but they did not file any criminal charges immediately.

Mr. Kernell, 20, is an economics major at UT. Kernell family attorney Wade V. Davies wrote in a letter Monday that “the Kernell family wants to do the right thing, and they want what is best for their son.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Finland school shooting: Police questioned and released suspect over YouTube video September 23, 2008

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Telegraph, 23 September 2008

A gunman who shot dead ten people at a school in Finland before killing himself had been questioned by police earlier this week over YouTube videos showing him at a shooting range, the country’s interior minister said.

Police were alerted to a clip posted on the video sharing website showing a young man wielding a handgun at a shooting range, Anne Holmlund said.

“Police reached him on Monday, Sept 22, and asked him to be interviewed regarding the shooting video,” Ms Holmlund said. He was later released.

She said the man arrested, identified by the school’s headmaster as Matti Juhani Saari, had a temporary permit for a .22 calibre pistol and that the permit had not been withdrawn.

Link: Video report on massacre

At 11am (800 GMT) today, a man stormed the vocational school in the town of Kauhajoki, 120 miles from Helsinki, in northwest Finland, firing “many shots” that left ten people dead. He died later in hospital after turning the gun on himself.

“Within a short space of time I heard several dozen rounds of shots, in other words it was an automatic pistol,” school janitor Jukka Forsberg told Finnish broadcaster YLE.

“I saw some female students who were wailing and moaning and one managed to escape out of the back door.”

“He also shot towards me, did not say anything and once the bullets started to whizz by I started running for my life.”

Finnish media said YouTube clips of a man firing a gun appeared to be linked to the shooting. In one of them, a young man wearing a leather jacket fires several shots in rapid succession with a handgun at what appears to be a shooting range.

Link: Shooting Range video by suspect Matti Saari

The posting was made five days before the shooting and the location was given as Kauhajoki. The posting included a message saying: “Whole life is war and whole life is pain. And you will fight alone in your personal war.”

Link: “You will die next” video by suspect Matti Saari

The shooting raised the spectre of the massacre at a Finnish high school in Jokela, north of Helsinki, less than a year ago.

On November 7, 2007, 18-year-old student Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot six students, the school’s headmistress and a nurse before turning his gun on himself.

Auvinen, who had posted footage foreshadowing the November 2007 massacre on YouTube, was a student at the school.

In the video, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, described himself as a “social Darwinist” who would “eliminate all who I see unfit”.

Link: Report about Pekka-Eric Auvinen

The 2007 attack triggered a fierce debate about gun laws in the Nordic nation with deep-rooted traditions of hunting in the sub-Arctic wilderness.

With 1.6 million firearms in private hands, Finland is an anomaly in Europe, lagging behind only the US and Yemen in civilian gun ownership.

Oprah Winfrey Found Dead: Another Week, Another Hoax September 21, 2008

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The Post Chronical, 20 September 2008

Oprah Winfrey is not dead. There is yet again another rumor floating out in the gossipsphere that Oprah Winfrey has died.

“Oprah Winfrey, age 54, was found dead in her home residing in Chicago, Illinois at 8:21 AM on September 20, 2008. Local Police and the FBI are trying to keep it on the down low for now until further notice. From what has been reported thus far, she appears to have a bloody area around her eye, a bullet wound in her stomach and some cuts and bruises”

The fake article goes on to explain that Oprah was targeted because she criticized a certain website.Once again we have a rumor spreading like wildfire without one single confirmation be a credible source.

A similar death report hoax about Miley Cyrus happened on Sep, 6.

I think it’s a safe bet to file this under the category of ‘4chan shenanigans.’

Today, according to this blogger, this message appeared on 4chan.

“Many may not realize this, but we just may be the strongest, yet most unorganized group of people in the world. Impossible to track us. Our positions in the world vary person to person, but together, we are legion.

Let us take control, create “Joker-Like” chaos, this week has been a cute start, but I believe we can do more, much more. We are the new world order. The Illuminati are like children compared to our stature.

To put it simply, my point is.

Kill the Oprah.”

Without making any calls, our collective guess would be that Oprah is safe and sound. She is probably on the phone with Gail somewhere in Chicago, alive and well and still refusing to interview Sarah Palin.

We’ll keep you updated if this hoax turns out to be anything more.

Oprah Dead: SICK HOAX September 20, 2008

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babble, 21 September 2008

Reports of Oprah Winfrey being found dead have swept the internet, although no reliable news organisations were being sourced. There’s a reason for that: SHE’S NOT DEAD.

According to wikinews.org, it’s part of an internet hoax that was either started by a group known as Anonymous or from a website 4chan.org. Either way, it’s sick.

O’Reilly Hacked for Comments about Palin Hack September 20, 2008

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Wired, 19 Sept 2008

A hacker claims to have cracked the web site of Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly and purloined a list of subscribers to the site, which includes their names, e-mail addresses, city and state, and the password they use for their registration to the site.

The attack was retaliation for comments that O’Reilly made on the air this week about web sites that published e-mails obtained from the Yahoo account of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, according to a press release distributed by WikiLeaks late Friday.

The hacker sent WikiLeaks a screenshot of O’Reilly’s subscriber list as proof of the deed, which WikiLeaks has posted online.

This week on his Fox show, O’Reilly slammed web sites, such as WikiLeaks and Gawker, for posting screenshots of e-mails, family photos and a list of contacts taken from Palin’s private e-mail account.

“They’re trafficking in stolen merchandise,” O’Reilly said during one of his shows, calling for their prosecution. He also referred to a site that published the screenshots as “despicable, slimy, scummy.”

In the video above, O’Reilly spoke with Amanda Carpenter, a reporter for Townhall.com who agreed with him and said that a web site that published such information was “complicit” in the hack of Palin’s e-mail account.

“They think it’s newsworthy, even though the information was absolutely, illegally obtained,” she said.

Neither O’Reilly nor Carpenter mentioned the First Amendment protection that media organizations, such as Fox News and Townhall.com, are generally afforded for publishing newsworthy information.

That segment was followed the next day by a segment with Fox News anchor, Megyn Kelly, a lawyer, who explained why the First Amendment would protect the sites. (See video below.)

O’Reilly, disagreed with her, however.

“If your grandma sends you 50 bucks for your birthday and somebody steals the letter and gives it to somebody else and they take the 50 bucks, they’re going to get charged as well as this person who stole the letter,” he said.

Kelly explained that taking stolen money and publishing news were not the same.

“That’s crazy,” he said.

“No it’s not crazy,” Kelly replied. “Because . . . what if somebody obtained a document illegally that proved some massive conspiracy among the presidential candidates and they leaked it to Fox News and we knew it was stolen. You don’t think we’d put it on the air? You’re darn right we would. And it’s not illegal.”

WikiLeaks said in its press release that it had confirmed the authenticity of the list, but didn’t mention how it did so.

Efforts by Threat Level to contact Fox News and some of the subscribers on the list to independently verify the authenticity of the list were unsuccessful.