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IT & Communications

We are all internet users and the internet is supposed to be a broadly free medium (albeit one we pay for) but there was one piece of regulation that militated against all good sense in the cause of supposed equality for all. So-called Net Neutrality is a flawed interference in the freedom of commercial concerns to enter into agreements with individual customers and, more than that, it risks damaging commerce. Now the USA is proposing to reverse the position taken under the Obama government. This is why it should do so. But equally, this is why one major element of it must remain.

Editorial Staff
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We know that companies gather data when you interact with them (even we do, but it's very, very little and what we do with it is mostly for our protection) but do you know what they collect?

Here's an example from search engine Ask.Com

Editorial Staff
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The wording says "If you'd like to cancel just part of your order... please contact us and quote your order number." So, like the obedient chap I am, I did.

This is my exchange with Marks and Spencer's Chatbot.

And you think AI will protect your bank?

Nigel Morris-Co...
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We are not pretending to be making any contribution to the story about this spectacularly successful virus - we're just helping spread information about it. This is from the USA Government's information service about cyber-threats, US-CERT which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

17 May 2017

Editorial Staff
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The conviction of a resident of California for distributing illegal content over a peer-to-peer computer network is the latest strike against supposedly untraceable material on the internet. It's a "tip of the iceberg" moment but it shows that there are ways of investigating and securing convictions across apparently secure and secret methods of content distribution.

Editorial Staff
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It's been around since the latter stages of the US election, first being reported in October 2016 and it's a hoax.

Editorial Staff
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A form of scam spam has come to our notice this morning. It is unusually convincing and clever.

It purports to come from Scotia Bank's secure e-mail service but, obviously, it does not.

Details below.

Editorial Staff
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It's proof that no one, no matter how good, can guarantee that there are no IT security risks in their products. US-CERT, the US government body that reports risks discovered in products, has its usual raft of Adobe and Microsoft products in this week's list but there is a surprising entry: data security company F-Secure, a recognised leader in the field, has made an appearance, too.

Editorial Staff
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There's a whole industry, across the world, that charges fees for doing things you can easily do for free and which give you the impression, whilst not actually saying so, that you need their services to obtain your rights. One is the domain name registration scam, that appears in several variants.

Here's today's.

Editorial Staff
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In recent weeks, we've seen a significant number of spam-scams from a domain that is remarkably similar to an official UK government domain, showing that registrars and hosts are failing to identify obviously fraudulent customers. The fraudulent domain name is close enough to the real thing to fool many targets.

Editorial Staff
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The benefits that flow to Google, Bing, etc. from linking to illegal websites are substantial. So are the benefits gained by internet hosts, especially those providing anonymous or anonymising services for a fee (e.g. Cloudflare) and the internet domain registrars that facilitate the purchase and anonymisation of domains by criminals. In this article, we start the list of domains and those who benefit from providing services to them. Registered users can add their own examples of genuinely illegal websites in the comments.

Editorial Staff
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This is a bit weird: criminals have created an Android virus that resides in users' phones and hacks into wifi network routers, then it does devious and harmful things.

Editorial Staff
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We'd expect the young to be involved in hacking and cracking but surprisingly, the young are also widely implicated in a far wider range of offences. Then again, 'twas always thus.
Editorial Staff
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There's rarely anything new in Spam Scams but the letter that purports to come from "Investigation and Enforcement Services" and carries a (not exactly correct) UK Government Copyright Notice is novel. Read the full mail below.

Editorial Staff
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It was called Avalanche and it was "specifically designed to thwart detection by law enforcement." But co-operation between enforcement agencies in more than 40 countries and private sector participants created a profile of it and that enabled it to be located and taken down. It had facilitated huge harms.

CoNet Administrator
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