The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'extortion'
The War on Copyright Piracy has many uses: in Kyrgyzstan, for example, the government is using the pretext of anti-piracy raids to shut down opposition media, by having goons with alleged Microsoft affiliations seize computers:
Stan TV employees told CPJ that police were accompanied by a technical expert, Sergey Pavlovsky, who claimed to be a representative of Microsoft’s Bishkek office. According to the journalists, Pavlovsky said he had authorization papers from Microsoft but was unwilling to show them. After a cursory inspection of the computers, they said, Pavlovsky declared all of the equipment to be using pirated software. Stan TV’s work computers, as well as the personal laptops of journalists, were seized; the offices were also sealed, interrupting the station’s work.Microsoft have disowned any connection to the raid.
Meanwhile, enterprising malware entrepreneurs have jumped onto the copyright lawsuit bandwagon; a new piece of malware for Windows scans users' hard drives for torrents, and threatens the users with lawsuits, demanding payment by credit card:
(via Boing Boing, Download Squad)
Criminals are turning to blackmailing office employees; the criminals send mail to the employees, threatening to wipe their hard disks or install porn on their PCs unless the victims pay them a small sum. Unlike traditional e-extortion schemes, the perpetrators usually don't have to demonstrate their control of the victims' machines; among the millions of people spammed, they find one or two clueless people who accept their claims and pay the small sum demanded; which, of course, marks them out as a "sucker", and results in them being blackmailed for larger amounts.
"It's getting simpler," said Hypponen. "If you wanted to extort money from a small company you would have had to hack them and convince them you have stolen their information. Here, you don't have to do anything but send an e-mail around."