Fraud Alert – the New Weapon of Microsoft

Microsoft and security and consumer groups joined to set up a centralized service where security researchers can report incidents of internet fraud and hand over stolen personal data.

Internet Fraud Alert, which began operations immediately on its launch on Thursday, is a partnership between Microsoft and the US-based National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA). It is supported by organizations including Accuity, the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), eBay, the Federal Trade Commission and PayPal.

The  Internet Fraud Alert will bring together an assortment of stakeholders, including retailers, financial institutions, service providers, technology companies, academic researchers, consumer advocates and government agencies, in a move to reduce online fraud and protect consumers.

The new program will inform companies about compromised credentials through a centralized alerting system powered by Microsoft technology. It enables security researchers and investigators to securely share information with firms about incidents where compromised account credentials have been discovered.

The system developed by Microsoft will report stolen data — such as online account login details or credit card numbers — that they come across during their work. It can also be used to notify the financial and other institutions responsible for the compromised accounts.

There was previously no centralized way of securely passing information on account compromises between security researchers and service providers, retailers, financial institutions and government bodies, according to the software maker.

In addition, Microsoft is donating the tool to the NCFTA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating public-private partnerships between industry, law enforcement and academia on cyber-security issues which is backed by the FBI and Carnegie Mellon University, among others.

Limewire + Music Publishers = Love?

After Limewire being broken by the recording studios that are now waiting a huge unpayable payoff, music publishers have decided that they want a piece of the action.

Limewire has been sued by a coalition of eight music publishers accusing it of copyright infringement, says The New York Times.

The National Music Publishers’ Association organised the lawsuit that comes after a federal judge’s ruling last month in a similar case brought by recording companies that Limewire and its creator, Mark Gorton, were liable for copyright infringement.

David Israelite, chief executive of the publishers’ association, said his outfit had decided to bring the complaint because most publishers were not represented in the record company lawsuit.

“We’re looking for more than cessation of infringement, we’re looking for damages for all of the infringement done over the years.”, said Israelite.

Limewire is still hoping hoping it can negotiate a resolution with the companies that want to be paid.

The music publishers aim at $150,000 for each song distributed on the service illegally. Seems that Limewire will end up having to pay enough to clear all third world debt.

It will not happen of course. Limewire will be shuttered and go bankrupt and only the lawyers will get any money.

File-sharing or Watching a Film in a Group

The other days, the TorrentFreak guys have posted an interesting interview with an independent film director who confessed that only bad or mediocre films are affected by the file-sharing.  Sam Bozzo feels that “the current file-sharing trend is a catalyst for a true evolution in filmmaking”.

That’s quite a statement, since so many in the movie industry disagree. But Bozzo does a good job backing it up by explaining his own experiences.  He has discovered an unusual way to get money from his own “pirated movies”:

I contacted the uploader of my film and asked she spread a message of support with the torrent, asking for donations if a viewer likes the film and explaining that was a self-financed endeavor. The result? I received many donations and emails of support from those who downloaded the film, but I furthermore believe that viewers spread the word of the film to their non-torrent-downloading friends and that DVD sales increased due to the leak.

Therefore, the torrent leak acquired “free advertising”, and soon he became the only truly independent documentary filmmaker making his money this year.

He thinks that it’s wrong to worry about DVD sales, because if people are watching the movies on their computer, it’s probably best to compare it to a situation like inviting friends over to watch a film in a group.

“The more people who see the film, the more will likely love it and want to buy it for their collection. When you invite a group of friends to your house to watch a DVD, do you charge them? One person bought one DVD, and ten watch it free, but if the film is good, hopefully a few of them will buy a DVD for themselves, or at least spread positive word.

The entire interview on

IEEE Suggests Digital Personal Property

The IEEE P1817 proposed last month a file protection system, known as Digital Personal Property (DPP), that aims to allow users to share their digital files but keep them protected from outright copying at the same time. It includes two pieces of a digital file: a title folder that would contain the encrypted file and a playkey that will grant access.

The title folder could be shared by the users, but access to the file within could be granted only if they share a playkey too. It would be contained within either a tamper-protected circuit inside a computer or personal device, or online at a playkey hosting site.

Owners would need to be careful who they lend the playkey out to, however, as the borrower could move it and never return it, much like lending out a physical item such as a CD.

The digital property can also be donated or resold. Each playkey would be unique, singular and protected from counterfeiting.
The group’s first meeting is scheduled for July 14th in Santa Clara, CA.

2 Euros to Block File-Sharing

This is the amount that French ISPs began offering for a service to block file-sharing on customer connections. For 2 euro per month payment, French ISP Orange, for example, is offering a service which allows the control the activity of computers connected to your internet line, from downloading ‘illegally’ using peer-to-peer networks. You can protect up to three computers connected to the same internet line.”

“Our solution is intended primarily for parents who want to make sure their children do nothing illegal on P2P networks,” the company said.

The software, which is Windows-only, runs in the background and utilizes a blacklist maintained and updated by Orange. The content of that blacklist must remain a secret.

Nevertheless, TorrentFreak has find out that the Orange’s efforts were in vain because some people have succeed to access the server and have discovered that they can send malware to anyone using the software.