Feeds

Facebook donates cash seized from spammers to cyber CSI lab

Ill-gotten $250k for Koobface, GhostClick takedown team

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Facebook has donated $250k it seized from spammers to an academic centre of excellence in the fight against cybercrime.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham's Center for Information Assurance and Joint Forensics Research will use the cash to build an expanded version of the faculty, due to open next year. The centre helped researchers at Facebook to track down the infamous Koobface gang and helped to unravel the even more notorious GhostClick (DNSChanger) scam, among other work.

Notable researchers at the centre include Gary Warner, Director of Research in Computer Forensics and co-chair of Anti-Phishing Working Group. Warner also runs the well read CyberCrime & Doing Time blog.

"As a result of numerous collaborations over the years, Facebook recognizes the center as both a partner in fighting Internet abuse, and as a critical player in developing future experts who will become dedicated cybersecurity professionals," says Joe Sullivan, chief security officer at Facebook, in a statement. "The center has earned this gift for their successes in fighting cybercrime and because of the need for formal cybersecurity education to better secure everyone’s data across the world."

The donation itself will be widely applauded in security circles even though the Koobface investigation remains controversial. In January 2012, the New York Times publicly named five people security researchers have fingered as prime suspects in the spread of the Koobface worm, a strain of malware that has bedevilled social networking users (particularly on Facebook) since late 2008. Koobface, which was unusually sophisticated, earned scammers income principally through pay-per-install malware.

Critics argue that the disclosure was premature and served only to tip off the suspects, who subsequently went to ground. Whatever the truth of that, no arrests or lawsuits have been filed as a result of the investigation. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.