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A man who has won about $1.5 million in poker tournaments has been arrested and charged with running an operation that combined spam, Android malware, and a fake dating website to scam victims out of $3.9 million, according to Symantec.

Symantec worked with investigators from the Chiba Prefectural Police in Japan, who earlier this week "arrested nine individuals for distributing spam that included e-mails with links to download Android.Enesoluty—a malware used to collect contact details stored on the owner’s device," Symantec wrote in its blog.

Android.Enesoluty is a Trojan distributed as an Android application file. It steals information and sends it to computers run by hackers. It was discovered by security researchers in September 2012.

The suspect flagged as the "main player running the operation" is 50-year-old Masaaki Kagawa of Tokyo, president of an IT firm named Koei Planning and a poker player with success in high-stakes tournaments around the world.

Masaaki Kagawa wins a big pot in the Aussie Millions Cash Game Invitational a few years ago.

Kagawa has reportedly won about $1.5 million in tournaments dating back to 2008 (minus entry fees). His most recent score was a third place finish in the 2013 Aussie Millions Poker Championship in February, which netted him $320,000.

Kagawa was already under investigation while playing in that tournament. Symantec explains:

From our observations, the operation began around September 2012 and ended in April 2013 when authorities raided the company office. We confirmed around 150 domains were registered to host the malicious apps during this time span. According to media reports, the group was able to collect approximately 37 million e-mail addresses from around 810,000 Android devices. The company earned over 390 million yen (approximately 3.9 million US dollars) by running a fake online dating service called Sakura in the last five months of the spam operation. Spam used to lure victims to the dating site was sent to the addresses collected by the malware.

The malware allegedly used in this operation appears to share source code with Android.Uracto, a Trojan that steals contacts and sends spam text messages to those contacts. Scammers maintaining Android.Uracto have not yet been identified.

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Jason Scott, the well-known digital archivist with archive.org who has previously produced a documentary on bulletin board systems, has turned his attention to Def Con — the Vegas convention that now attracts thousands of hackers (and would-be hackers) each year. Def Con: The Documentary sits down with a number of individuals who've been involved with the event from the start, including "The Dark Tangent" himself, Def Con founder Jeff Moss.

Def Con is familiar territory for Scott, who is a longtime attendee and frequent speaker at the conference — and naturally, assembling the narrative of how the world's largest hacker convention got its start fits in well with his day job of preserving internet history.

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punk2176 writes "Hacker and security researcher Alejandro Caceres (developer of the PunkSPIDER project) and 3D UI developer Teal Rogers unveiled a new free and open source tool at DEF CON 21 that could change the way that users view the web and its vulnerabilities. The project is a visualization system that combines the principles of offensive security, 3D data visualization, and 'big data' to allow users to understand the complex interconnections between websites. Using a highly distributed HBase back-end and a Hadoop-based vulnerability scanner and web crawler the project is meant to improve the average user's understanding of the unseen and potentially vulnerable underbelly of web applications that they own or use. The makers are calling this new method of visualization web 3.0. A free demo can be found here, where users can play with and navigate an early version of the tool via a web interface. More details can be found here and interested users can opt-in to the mailing list and eventually the closed beta here."

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sciencehabit writes "A new study suggests that all the reviews you read on Yelp and Amazon are easily manipulated. It's not that companies are stacking the deck, necessarily, it's that a few positive comments early on can influence future commenters. In fact, when researchers gamed the system on a real news aggregation site, the items received fake positive votes from the researchers were 32% more likely to receive more positive votes compared with a control (abstract). And those comments were no more likely than the control to be down-voted by the next viewer to see them. By the end of the study, positively manipulated comments got an overall boost of about 25%. However, the same did not hold true for negative manipulation. The ratings of comments that got a fake down vote were usually negated by an up vote by the next user to see them."

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Dave Eggers, the acclaimed author behind A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and A Hologram for the King, will release his latest novel, The Circle, this fall. The book will revolve around a fictional, but eerily familiar entity, "the Circle," which is described as "the world's most powerful internet company."

The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.

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Emoji; they've conquered the world, featured in novels, and more recently they've allowed us to track Twitter's mood in real time. Now, a new app for iPhone automatically generates another internet staple, ASCII art, using only emoji. Emojify lets you take photos with your phone's camera, or pull existing images from your camera roll, and replaces the pixels with emoji. Once you've selected your photo, you'll be able to control image size (ranging up to 16-megapixel files for poster-sized prints) and contrast before exporting or sharing your creation.

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It was a late night in May. Renderman, the computer hacker notorious for discovering that outdated air traffic control software could be used to reroute planes mid-flight, was feeling shitty. The stress of digging himself out of debt he’d accumulated during years of underemployment was compounded by the feeling of being trapped in a job he hated. He was forgetful and couldn’t focus on anything. “Depression has sapped my motivation and lust for life,” he later wrote. “I can't remember the last time I worked on a project ... it's like I'm a ghost in my own life. Just existing but with no form ... I’m most definitely not myself.”

Feeling slightly buzzed after a few beers, he decided to speak out. “My name is Renderman and I suffer from depression,” he tweeted.

Within minutes, other hackers started responding.

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