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Kevin Poulsen

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Nuclear cyber security debate hots up

Two companies that make digital systems for nuclear power plants have come out against a government proposal that would attach cyber security standards to plant safety systems. The 15-page proposal, introduced last December by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), would rewrite the commission's "Criteria for Use of …
Kevin Poulsen, 08 Mar 2005
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Feds square off with organized cyber crime

RSA 2005 Computer intruders are learning to play well with others, and that's bad news for the Internet, according to a panel of law enforcement officials and legal experts speaking at the RSA Conference in San Francisco last week. Christopher Painter, deputy director of the Justice Department's computer crime section, spoke almost …
Kevin Poulsen, 23 Feb 2005
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T-Mobile hacker pleads guilty

A sophisticated computer hacker who penetrated servers at wireless giant T-Mobile pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single felony charge of intentionally accessing a protected computer and recklessly causing damage. Nicolas Jacobsen, 22, entered the guilty plea as part of a sealed plea agreement with the government, says prosecutor …
Kevin Poulsen, 17 Feb 2005
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T-Mobile hacker pleads guilty

A sophisticated computer hacker who penetrated servers at wireless giant T-Mobile pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single felony charge of intentionally accessing a protected computer and recklessly causing damage. Nicolas Jacobsen, 22, entered the guilty plea as part of a sealed plea agreement with the government, says prosecutor …
Kevin Poulsen, 16 Feb 2005
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US info-sharing initiative called a flop

Nearly a year after its launch, a federal office created as a conduit for corporate America to provide the government with sensitive information about critical vulnerabilities has been all but rejected by the technology industry that helped conceive it. The Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII) program allows …
Kevin Poulsen, 15 Feb 2005
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Hackers sued for tinkering with Xbox games

In the first case of its kind, a California video game maker is suing an entire community of software tinkerers for reverse engineering and modifying Xbox games that they legally purchased. Tecmo, Inc., a subsidiary of a Japanese company, announced a federal lawsuit Wednesday against Mike Greiling of Eden Prairie, Minn., and …
Kevin Poulsen, 10 Feb 2005
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EU goes on biometric LSD trip

In December 2004, the European Commission adopted the biometric passports directive, a regulation that mandates the use of biometric facial images within 18 months and fingerprints within three years for all passports issued. Biometrics such as fingerprints have long been used as identifiers, albeit mainly for catching …
Kevin Poulsen, 03 Feb 2005
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Hackers at mercy of US judges

A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision last month giving judges more leeway in deciding federal prison terms could be good news for computer intruders who don't fit the classic criminal mold, legal experts say. In US v. Booker, decided 12 January, the court ruled 5-4 to overturn part of a 1984 law that required judges to …
Kevin Poulsen, 03 Feb 2005
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Area 51 'hacker' charges dropped

Federal prosecutors formally dropped charges this month against an amateur astronomer who exposed a buried surveillance network surrounding the Air Force's mysterious "Area 51" air base in Nevada. Chuck Clark, 58, was charged in 2003 with a single count of malicious interference with a communications system used for the …
Kevin Poulsen, 28 Jan 2005
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US to tighten nuclear cyber security

Federal regulators are proposing to add computer security standards to their criteria for installing new computerized safety systems in nuclear power plants. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) quietly launched a public comment period late last month on a proposed 15-page update to its regulatory guide "Criteria for Use …
Kevin Poulsen, 26 Jan 2005
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FBI retires Carnivore

FBI surveillance experts have put their once-controversial Carnivore Internet surveillance tool out to pasture, preferring instead to use commercial products to eavesdrop on network traffic, according to documents released Friday. Two reports to Congress obtained by the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center …
Kevin Poulsen, 15 Jan 2005
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Hacker breaches T-Mobile systems, reads US Secret Service email

A sophisticated computer hacker had access to servers at wireless giant T-Mobile for at least a year, which he used to monitor US Secret Service email, obtain customers' passwords and Social Security numbers, and download candid photos taken by Sidekick users, including Hollywood celebrities, SecurityFocus has learned. Twenty- …
Kevin Poulsen, 12 Jan 2005
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Google exposes web surveillance cams

Blogs and message forums buzzed this week with the discovery that a pair of simple Google searches permits access to well over 1,000 unprotected surveillance cameras around the world - apparently without their owners' knowledge. Searching on certain strings within a URL sniffs out networked cameras that have Web interfaces …
Kevin Poulsen, 08 Jan 2005
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Sims 2 hacks spread like viruses

Players of Electronic Arts' enormously popular simulated life game are complaining that their artfully-crafted homes and mansions are beginning to resemble the Twilight Zone, thanks to an artifact of the game's design that causes hacks to spread like viruses from user to unwitting user. Entire neighborhoods of Sims are being …
Kevin Poulsen, 06 Jan 2005
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Groups fight internet wiretap push

Companies and advocacy groups opposed to the FBI's plan to make the internet more accommodating to covert law enforcement surveillance are sharpening a new argument against the controversial proposal: that law enforcement's Internet spying capabilities are just fine as it is. In comments filed with the FCC Tuesday, advocates …
Kevin Poulsen, 23 Dec 2004
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DHS network vulnerable to attack

The US Department of Homeland Security is having some homeland cyber security issues on its systems providing remote access to telecommuters, according to a newly-released report by the DHS Inspector General's office. Earlier this year security auditors armed with ISS's Internet Scanner, @stake's L0phtCrack and Sandstorm …
Kevin Poulsen, 17 Dec 2004
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Michigan Wi-Fi hacker jailed for nine years

A 21-year-old Michigan man was sentenced to nine years in federal prison yesterday in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina for his role in a failed scheme to steal credit card numbers from the Lowe's chain of home improvement stores by taking advantage of an unsecured Wi-Fi network at a store in suburban Detroit. Brian …
Kevin Poulsen, 16 Dec 2004
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Sprint sued over alleged vice hacks

A Las Vegas adult services operator is making a federal case of his longstanding claim that cyber security weaknesses at the local phone company have permitted hackers to hijack calls intended for his stable of in-room entertainers - reprising a complaint that state regulators rejected in 2002. Eddie Munoz is seeking $30m in …
Kevin Poulsen, 08 Dec 2004
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Berkeley hack sparks legislative backlash

The research community would lose its access to sensitive information from California's state-run programs under proposed legislation announced this week, a reaction to the penetration earlier this year of a university system housing personal data on over 1m participants in a state program. But researchers warn the proposal …
Kevin Poulsen, 03 Dec 2004
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Hacking tool 'draws FBI subpoenas'

The author of the popular freeware hacking tool Nmap warned users this week that FBI agents are increasingly seeking access to information from the server logs of his download site, insecure.org. "I may be forced by law to comply with legal, properly served subpoenas," wrote "Fyodor," the 27-year-old Silicon Valley coder …
Kevin Poulsen, 25 Nov 2004
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Judge dismisses keylogger case

A federal judge in Los Angeles has dismissed charges against a California man who used a keystroke logger to spy on his employer, ruling that use of such a device does not violate federal wiretap law. Larry Ropp, a former claims adjuster for a US insurance company, was caught last year using a "KEYKatcher" brand surveillance …
Kevin Poulsen, 20 Nov 2004
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Petco settles with FTC over cyber security gaffe

Pet supply retailer Petco Animal Supplies Inc. will be on a short cybersecurity leash for the next 20 years to settle a Federal Trade Commission action over a security hole on its e-commerce site that may have left as many as 500,000 customer credit card numbers exposed to hackers. The settlement stems from an incident first …
Kevin Poulsen, 18 Nov 2004
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Defendant: Microsoft source code sale was a setup

A 27-year-old Connecticut man facing felony economic espionage charges for allegedly selling a copy of Microsoft's leaked source code for $20 says he's being singled out only because the software giant and law enforcement officials can't find the people who stole the code in the first place. "They're using me as an example, to …
Kevin Poulsen, 12 Nov 2004
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Banks brace for cashpoint attack

An international group of law enforcement and financial industry associations hopes to prevent a new type of bank robbery before it gets off the ground: cyber attacks against automated teller machines. This fall the Global ATM Security Alliance (GASA) published what it says are the first international cyber security guidelines …
Kevin Poulsen, 11 Nov 2004
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Alleged DDoS kingpin joins most wanted list

The fugitive Massachusetts businessman charged in the first criminal case to arise from an alleged DDoS-for-hire scheme has appeared on an FBI most wanted list, while the five men accused of carrying out his will are headed for federal court. Jay Echouafni, 37, is a fugitive from a five-count federal indictment in Los Angeles …
Kevin Poulsen, 06 Nov 2004