Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hacker Jailed After Spying on Computer Users Using Their Own Cameras

A hacker spied on countless computer users by manipulating their home webcams.

Matthew Anderson, 33, is understood to have sent out 50million ‘spam’ emails containing an attachment for recipients to click on. All of those who did so – believed to be 200,000 – had their computer infected with a virus that left it effectively ‘enslaved’.

Anderson was then able to rifle through private files and saved photographs – and even switch on web cameras attached to the computers. At his leisure he then sat spying into the living rooms or bedrooms of strangers. The victims will have been completely unaware of his watching eyes.

When he was caught in a four-year police operation, officers found he had stored pictures and film of dozens of people in their own homes. Among clips was that of a 16-year-old girl bursting into tears when Anderson began changing words on her computer screen. He then gloated to a fellow hacker about tormenting her, revealing he had been using her webcam for hours, viewing her sisters, and lamenting the fact they were not naked.

Anderson was working in an international hacking gang called ‘m00p’ with at least three others. Only one other, from Finland, has been caught. He was jailed for 18 months today after pleading guilty to ‘unauthorised modification of computer systems’ at Southwark Crown Court in London. However, he is likely to serve just nine months. The court heard the father-of-five, who was born in Rochdale, carried out his crimes in the home of his mother Ruth, 54, in Banffshire, Scotland.

He claimed through his barrister that he joined online chatrooms after being left house-bound by panic attacks in his early 20s. Publicly he ran a computer security firm – offering to protect clients, ironically, from people like himself.

Simon Ward, defending, said Anderson was motivated by ‘the feeling of power that comes from the knowledge that you have control over something that others don’t know you have the control of’.
As well as private home computers, Anderson targeted the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Oxford University and government computers. But he avoided military sources for fear of detection.

The ‘cutting edge’ software behind his virus has been ranked as among the best in the world.
Anderson was caught after the m00p gang was investigated jointly by Scotland Yard and Finnish authorities when a computer expert at John Radcliffe hospital raised concerns. Anderson was found to have profited by £12,000 by selling on to legitimate marketing firms email addresses harvested from computer address books.

But it was the webcams he used and the personal data, including nude photos and bank account details, which he had access to and copied that is particularly chilling. Investigating officer Detective Constable Bob Burls said Anderson’s initial spam emails typically told recipients they had a computer problem, and offered to fix it. When they clicked on the file, the hacker’s virus was let loose to hijack the computer, although it seemed to continue working normally. From his remote location he could record every word typed, or copy the computer screen at any time.

Anderson and his fellow gang members operated unhindered for years – with around one in 250 spam recipients being taken in.

During police monitoring, Anderson – who used online nicknames including warpig and, warpiglet – successfully enslaved 1,743 computers in just 90 minutes. His fellow gang members were known online as Kdoe, CraDle and Okasvi - with the last, real name Artturi Alm, being the only other hacker brought to justice when jailed in his native Finland two years ago.

Mr Burls said the hacker copied one victim’s will, website passwords, banking passwords.

original article here

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Temporary Phone Numbers Stop Cyberstalkers

A mother appalled by online dating stories from divorced friends is set to become a millionaire after launching a unique website to protect women from cyber-stalkers.

Last week model Kelly Brook revealed how she is forced to constantly change her phone number because she is targeted by nuisance calls.

But 52-year-old Gill Kamel's patented site can instantly create a temporary number for your mobile - which diverts to your current phone - to hand out to strangers, safe in the knowledge they don't know what your actual number is.

And if they turn out to be odd-balls you merely shut down that number, create a fresh one and hand that out to your next new dates or friends.

Her site www.losemynumber.co.uk is deemed such an important new tool to protect men and women on the internet that it has been singled out for praise by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. The organisation promotes personal safety.

Married mother-of-two Gill, of Ormskirk, Lancs, said she hopes that no more women should endure stress or fear by simply searching for love or companionship.

She said: 'Internet dating and social networking is a fantastic new way for people to reach out and make new friends - but there are always people out there who are not all they seem and we take so much on trust.

'Hopefully Lose My Number will give people more confidence, feeling safe in the knowledge they are not letting their guard down too much.'

She revealed how many of her friends have joined the growing statistic of divorced couples, estimated at over 120,000 a year in the UK alone.

She said: 'Like myself, a lot of my friends met their husbands at school.

'So none of us had much experience of going out and meeting men. Now, quite a few of them are divorced and are always telling me how difficult they're finding dating.

'But all the rules are different. At what point do you give out your phone number or address?

'Your personal number can give away a lot of personal information about you, not least your home address. There needed to be a safer way to give out your details.

'When one of my employees told me she had been harassed over the phone by a man after trying to sell some old designer clothes on eBay, that was when I decided I had to set up Lose My Number.

'She called the police to let them know what had happened and their only advice was to cancel her phone contract and get a new number. Some people go through the hassle of buying pay-as-you-go phones.

'I realised that there must be a better alternative - I looked around and no-one was providing a quick and easy way to get alternative numbers.'

Mrs Gill has worked in the property and mortgage industry with husband Melvyn for 30 years, up until April of this year when the brainwave saw her create Lose My Number.

After hearing her friend's awful experience with an eBay stalker, she and a few friends decided to test out how easy it was for women to be pressurised into giving out their mobile.

Posing as single women they joined several dating sites and within ten minutes Gill alone had 65 men asking her for her contact details.

Realising what people needed she got advice from IT specialists and launched her site in April this year thinking it would be a minor web aid.

Now it has customers in 194 towns and cities in the UK and abroad and advisors from her regional Government-backed development agency project that her 'High Growth Business' will sweep Europe and America, with the 'potential' to be worth more than £10million.

Her site works by simply typing in your mobile number - and it sends you back a new number starting with '070'.

Your original number will still continue to work, but now you can have up to ten 'follow-me' numbers that will also be diverted through to your mobile.

There is no charge for the customer as people ringing the '070' number do so for 50p a minute, so the service is perfect for making short, initial chats to check the person you meet online really is who they say they are.

You can shut down any '070' number you create at any time if the caller turns out to be a nuisance.

She said: 'No other website can do what we do.

'We have already had a lot of interest from other companies wanting to take the idea abroad - we are still very new but growing every week.'

Her creation has already won praise from one respected organisation - the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, set up following the tragic disappearance of 25 year-old estate agent Suzy in 1986.

Jo Walker at the Trust, said: 'It's so important to take some basic safety precautions when meeting new people, whether that's online, at a party or in a club.

'It's always wiser to avoid giving new acquaintances any of your contact details, such as phone number, until you know them better.

'In the meantime use a service like Lose My Number, which is designed specifically to help people feel more secure and have extra peace of mind when meeting new people.'

Kelly Brook recently revealed that she gets so much male attention she has to change her mobile phone number regularly in a bid to avoid being bombarded with calls.

She said: 'Men ask so I give it out. I’m quite approachable. I have to change my number every couple of months because I give it to anybody who asks for it.

'Then they all keep calling me and I change it.'

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Beatty Chadwick: Still Trolling for Love

by Monica Yant Kinney

The online dating world is full of wishful thinking, baggage-hiding, and artfully chosen photos that defy reality and gravity. All laptop romantics fib a little, hoping the truth won't matter once they've made an electronic love connection with another lonely liar.

But even by today's standards, the Match.com post by an infamous former Main Liner is a stretch.

The half-dozen pictures show a balding gent resembling Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, but the profile lists his age at an inconceivable 54.

He's a Gemini who digs dogs and devours the Economist, a lawyer who earns $150,000 a year. He's "athletic and toned" and seeks a "slender" younger gal interested in summering on a lake in Michigan with a cultured sugar daddy.

"I subscribe to the orchestra, ballet, opera, and theater."

Gee, I tell beattychad when I reach him by phone Monday at his place in Wilmington, you sound like a real catch. But, uh, is any of this version of you true?

Heh heh heh, H. Beatty Chadwick laughs nervously like his animated doppleganger. "What one says online is not always the fact."

A numbers game
If you want the facts, go to a file room at the Schnader Harrison law firm, where 76 boxes marked Chadwick are stacked floor to ceiling.

Surely you remember the basics: Beatty Chadwick, a corporate lawyer with blue blood and a stubborn streak, was accused of hiding $2.5 million from his then-wife, Bobbie, rather than turn it over in one of the Main Line's most salacious divorces.

In court in 1993, Chadwick said he transferred most of the couple's assets to Gibraltar, of all places, to satisfy a murky debt. Bobbie Chadwick's lawyer, Albert Momjian, contended that the alleged "debt" was a fraud; Beatty Chadwick had hidden the funds around the world so his ex wouldn't see a cent.

A judge agreed and ordered Chadwick to return the money. He refused, was held in contempt, and was arrested in 1995. For reasons only Beatty Chadwick knows, he then chose to spend 14 years behind bars in Delaware County rather than give in to his former flame.

Chadwick was finally released in 2009 when a judge determined that the epic incarceration had lost its "coercive" effect.

The man who had served the longest contempt term in U.S. history was finally free. And where better to start over than on the Internet?

Who's your sugar daddy?
"Yes, it is I," Chadwick says with a chuckle when I ask if he's beattychad. "I am testing the waters. I haven't met anyone yet."

Beattychad is a highly paid lawyer, but Beatty Chadwick is not. His license was suspended. He tells me he's working in real estate development, but is vague on his income: "I don't know why [the dating profile he created] would say I was making a lot of money."

Chadwick is 74, not 54. Of this deception he jokes, "I didn't count the years I spent in jail."

Beattychad has been on the prowl for a month, much to the horror of the former Mrs. Chadwick.

"Unbelievable!" Barbara "Bobbie" Applegate shrieks upon hearing about her ex's online role-playing when reached at her new home in Maine. "He's sick. He's crazy. He's always been a person who didn't have to live by the rules."

Sitting behind his desk, Momjian the lawyer smiles and asks for a copy of Chadwick's online persona. The divorce was finalized long ago, but the financial case drags on.

"We've had him back in court since his release," Momjian tells me. "We've asked for his tax returns. He's still not cooperating."

Momjian seems particularly intrigued by Chadwick's luring women with the promise of pricey European vacations and wine tasting.

"I would imagine that $2.5 million grew, wherever it was," the lawyer surmises. Whether the stolen funds doubled or tripled, "we're going to get that money."

If not, there's always Plan B: "I'd do anything to get him back in jail."

original article here

Monday, November 08, 2010

My Life was Stolen on Facebook

Sounds like our Exposed Cyberpath - Lissa Daly!


Fleeing into the Tube station, Carolyn Owlett felt her heart racing with panic. Behind the ticket barrier, a man she did not know was yelling her name, shouting that he loved her and that he wanted to be with her.

Hurtling on to the safety of a train, the mum-of-one was soon to discover she was at the start of a nightmare brought on by a rogue user of a social networking site.

Carolyn, 26, said: "I was terrified. This man was shouting my name and personal information about me across Oxford Circus station but I had no idea who he was.

"He said he'd come from Belgium to be with me. I was so scared. I yelled at him to leave me alone. He looked like he'd been shot through the heart."

Carolyn was to discover that a 21-year-old woman in Belgium had stolen her identity on Facebook.

She had set up an email and Facebook account in her name, grabbed 2,000 pictures from the net, doctored some of them and conned Carolyn's friends and family into becoming her "friend".

The fake Carolyn, using pictures and details of the real one, had been in a 17-month cyber affair with Regis Remacle - the man at the Tube station - and had even claimed to be the mother of Carolyn's son Billy, three.

The story started to unravel last week after lovestruck Regis travelled from Brussels to declare his feelings to Carolyn in person.

Carolyn - who has a boyfriend - said: "I eventually discovered my Facebook account, and those of my friends and family, had been plundered and that a Belgian woman was pretending to be me.

"She claimed to be the mother of my son and even had cybersex with men online.

"The whole incident has been very upsetting."

Carolyn, from east London, is a radio and TV producer and presenter. In 2004 she was part of girl group The 411 who had two top five singles in the chart. She said: "I had a great time as part of the group and a few fans set up tribute sites online.

"It was flattering that they enjoyed our music and I sometimes went on the forums to chat.
"The group split in 2005 and I had my son Billy in 2007 with my ex. As a new mum I found Facebook invaluable for catching up with friends and staying in touch with my parents, who live abroad."

Carolyn, one of 26million Brits to use the site, said: "I had no problems until June this year, when I received an odd message from a stranger called Regis.

"It said 'Does your boyfriend know what you've been up to?' I thought it was a case of mistaken identity, so I sent the guy a message back to say so.

"I also started getting messages from men in Africa and Turkey calling me 'sugar lips' or 'hot stuff'.

"Then last week I was walking to Oxford Circus Tube. I was aware of someone walking very close, then I heard 'Carolyn' whispered in my ear. I realised it was the man following me."

Doctored ...
Carolyn ran through the station, leaving the stranger shouting after her. He turned out to be Regis, 28, a graphic designer.

On the train Carolyn recalled the odd message from months earlier. She said: "As soon as I got off the train I found him on Facebook and my boyfriend messaged him, asking what was going on. He replied within seconds and the story came out."

Regis believed he had been conducting a steamy virtual affair with Carolyn for 17 months. He had seen thousands of pictures of her friends and family and knew where she worked.
He'd had text and online sex with 'Carolyn', chatted to her on Skype and had bought her a diamond necklace.
Carolyn explained: "Regis sent me dozens of emails showing our supposed conversations. I felt sick and violated.

"My boyfriend was with me and we have a great relationship so he believed me when I told him the affair was fiction. But if we hadn't been so strong this could have destroyed us. She'd trawled the internet for more than 2,000 pictures of me and had badgered my pals, family and work contacts to be 'friends'.

"I do feel sorry for Regis, as for the past 17 months he's been living a lie through no fault of his own."

The pair discovered the stalker was a 21-year-old Belgian woman calling herself Kristella Erbicella.

Following the Tube snub, Regis contacted the fake Carolyn and Erbicella responded with a confession. Regis then shared that message with Carolyn.

Carolyn contacted her pals and discovered Erbicella had asked every single one to be her Facebook "friend", saying she was a mate of Carolyn's. Several believed her and accepted the request, giving her access to Carolyn's pictures and information.

Carolyn said: "Erbicella said she had been a fan of The 411. When she was feeling down one day she decided to use my picture and set up a Facebook page. She got compliments and it made her feel good, so she carried on.

"She had to find out more and more about me to keep the pretence going and the whole thing spiralled out of control."

She used one of Carolyn posing with a girl pal and replaced the friend with Regis, shown above, showing how they would look as a couple. Carolyn said: "I couldn't believe my eyes. It looks like Regis and I are a happy couple but in reality we'd never even met. It's scary to see what Erbicella was capable of."

In the one message Erbicella sent to Carolyn, she wrote in broken English: "I want to apologise for everything I've done.

"I really respect you. You have always been my idol. I'm sorry for everything, I do not want have problems with you.

"It is hard for me as I love someone who does not know I exist as me. I just want you to understand me and what I feel right now."

Carolyn said: "This woman has harassed my friends and used photos of my son. She even set up an online photo album dedicated to Billy - who knows what kind of people have seen those photos?

"I communicate with Billy's nursery through email and dread to think what could have happened. She could have turned up at the gates and taken him.

"The experience has shown me that nothing you post on the internet ever goes away. People should be careful when posting pictures of their kids and their lives.

"I found out the hard way that you never know who is watching."

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Dating Scam Uses Military Information to Con

Two weeks ago an ex-Navy wife was on an internet dating website when she met someone who introduced himself as Christopher Dockery.

"He was a widowed soldier stationed in Camp Promise Kabul -- later I found out there's no Camp Promise," said the woman who wants to remain anonymous.

They would e-mail each other for days. He sent romantic poems and even provided pictures, but when he asked her for money, she knew she had been sucked into a scam.

First, she noticed red flags, like the poor English he used. "Some of the words were not spelled correctly; the use of grammar was not totally there," she added.

She said the second red flag were his so-called needs. "He kept mentioning that they didn't have access to funds at the base," she said.

Finally, she grew even more suspicious when he asked her to send money so he could purchase a satellite phone to stay in touch.

"It was $355. I was to send an order to set up this service," she said.

But she did an internet search and discovered the whole relationship is part of a worldwide scam. She refused to send the money and the relationship dissipated.

"His communication has slowly dwindled," she added.

Military personnel would not have these kinds of communication needs, said John Shockley, executive director of the USO.

"We send prepaid phone cards and there's also USO centers and other military centers for people to use either email, Skype, as well as phone banks to call home," said Shockley.

It is tragic that scammers would stoop this low, he said. "I find it very disturbing and appalling that someone would use a member's name as a front to get some money on a scam."

For this woman, it is a lesson learned. "It is heartbreaking that people are that mean without regard," she said.

No one wants to think they could be duped by an internet dating scam, and yet it happens every single year. So how can you tell if it is a scam?

•Communication is vague, difficult to understand or is repeated.
•Email messages change in tone, language, style or grammar.
•There's a sob story that turns into an emergency and only you can help.

If somebody asks you to wire them cash online, say no.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

November 2010 Predator of the Month: Beatrice Acevedo

[EOPC's comments in dark blue]

Another cautionary tale of the misuse of social networking by predators. Both male and FEMALE. In this case the latter.

An app(lication) on Facebook asks those looking for love (indicated on one's Facebook profile) asks: "are you interested". You the click on pictures.
If there is a match then parties move forward from there.

Here's Beatrice's first "solicitous" message to her victim:

Beatrice Acevedo
Add as Friend

I saw you on "Are You Interested" (http://apps.facebook.com/yesnomaybe/?f=m) and wanted to say hi

This victim then added her as a friend and exchanged light hearted messages.

Then, right after she had called me "my love" (in French) in a previous message she wrote:

(caution! she's moving too fast and they never even met in person. These are red flags this victim won't ignore the next time!)

Beatrice Acevedo June 17, 2008 at 5:35pm
Hi XXX. You have no idea How happy I was to read your message and what a message it was. it almost felt like a letter. We already have another thing in common, we like talking. That sounds nice.

Today I stayed home since I was feeling under the weather but you put a smile on my face. Tomorrow I am home too sinced my younger son MXXX (we call him MXXX) is graduating from Kindergaarten. I had better take tissues just in case I have something in my eye... you know what I mean. It was so moving when JXXX (10) graduated, especially when the kids sang "you are my sunshine"to their mom and brought you a rose! MXXX is 5.

They're my little men, always there for me . They give me a lot of amore and joy. We have a lot fun together. They are as goofy as heir mom. I love joking and a little nuts sometimes. I believe a good sense of humor helps you go through any stress or problems more smoothly.

I work with my best friends so we work hard but have fun. The atmosphere is laid back. No uniforms & IPod welcome at the front desk. We're all goofballs who entertain the guests. I have lots of regulars. We make it very homey. My boss is a nutcase who is freaking out when something goes wrong but I pay no mind to him anymore. Actually I can imitate him very well (one of my talents). We were busy during the weekend but once again we are all the time. Excellent year for business. Xmas bonus should be great!

You seem very busy yourself with your ob. Interesting how you got your inspiration! The other day I had a George Michael checking in with his wife but that was a regular Joe who happens to have that name! Now as far as my private life story is concerned my story is complicated. To summarize it my sons are from 2 different fathers. I married JXXX's father at the age of 26 and left him after 2 years of hell since he was abusive. JXXX was a baby and does not remember him. I told him the story though. I believe honesty is important with kids. I lived with XXX for 2 years just the two of us.

One day I met a man witth his ddaughter at the playground. We tallked and he seemed perfect for me since he was divorced with a child. I'll be honest with you since I like you. In the six years we haived togher we got separated twice which was my decision. He is an alcoholic and I can't live this way. The last time we came back together he begged me and promised he would stop. of course he still does it, not so bad but that is enough to upset me. I am not happy with him and lost all the love I had. It's a question of time before I break up for good . I would love to keep talking to you and get to know you better but I'll understand ifr you don't want nything do with me after what I told you. I really like you so I hope you're not upset. Just in case, my cell is XXX XXXX. I am always alone in the evening.

Tanti bacci per te. The little devil in the blue dress.
Sent via Facebook Mobile

Her newest victim thought then she was upfront and honest and did call her. Notice how she'd thrown out the Female Predator 'Pity Ploy' along with the 'I've been abused' Ploy and the 'I Love My Kids/ Good Mother' Ploy. Unfortunately we never know if the person is telling the truth... and if we assume they are without checking on them - we can be used.

More as the month goes on...