Tag Archives: New Zealand

Microsoft has decided to do something today it has never done before; it is revealing just how many requests it received for information about customer accounts from law enforcement authorities. The reveal comes in the form of Microsoft##Q##s first Law Enforcement Requests Report, which will apparently be released every six months from now on.

The report states that in 2012, the company received 75,378 law enforcement requests. That total included Microsoft##Q##s Skype division. Microsoft said the requests would have affected about 137,424 customer accounts. Microsoft added the number of requests impacted less than two one-hundredths of one percent of all of the accounts that are recorded by the company.

Microsoft said that 18 percent of the requests resulted in no information being given to law enforcement authorities, “either because Microsoft rejected the request or because no customer information was found.” Microsoft did disclose what it called “non content information” for 79.8 percent of the law enforcement requests in 2012. Actual content disclosures were given to authorities for 1,558 requests, which comprised 2.2 percent of the total law enforcement requests.

In a blog post, Microsoft said that of that small number of accounts that did have content disclosed, over 99 percent were in response to what the company called “lawful warrants from courts in the United States.” Only 14 account content disclosures were given outside the U.S. to the governments of Brazil, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.

The Skype division received 4,713 requests from law enforcement but did not disclose any content from those requests. Microsoft stated that it did provide non-content data, ” .. such as a SkypeID, name, email account, billing information and call detail records if a user subscribed to the Skype In/Online service, which connects to a telephone number.” Microsoft says that it requires a “court order or warrant before we will consider releasing a customer’s content to law enforcement.”

Microsoft got over 75,000 law enforcement info requests in 2012 – Neowin.

Courtesy of Reuters/Nigel Marple Kim Dotcom speaks during an interview with Reuters in Auckland January 19, 2013. Courtesy of Reuters/Nigel Marple

Kim Dotcom, founder of outlawed file-sharing website Megaupload, said his new “cyberlocker” was not revenge on U.S. authorities who planned a raid on his home, closed Megaupload and charged him with online piracy for which he faces jail if found guilty.

Dotcom said his new offering, Mega.co.nz, which will launch even as he and three colleagues await extradition from New Zealand to the United States, complied with the law and warned that attempts to take it down would be futile.

“This is not some kind of finger to the U.S. government or to Hollywood,” Dotcom told Reuters at his sprawling estate in the bucolic hills of Coatesville, just outside Auckland, New Zealand, a country known more for sheep, rugby and the Hobbit than flamboyant tech tycoons.

“Legally, there’s just nothing there that could be used to shut us down. This site is just as legitimate and has the right to exist as Dropbox, Boxnet and other competitors,” he said, referring to other popular cloud storage services.

Dotcom Says New Site Legal | DFI News.

On Saturday, the general public was able to sign up to use Mega, the much hyped successor to the MegaUpload file sharing website that was founded by the controversial Kim Dotcom. Mega’s servers immediately buckled under the pressure as over 100,000 people registered for the service within an hour after it launched.

On Sunday, Dotcom held his official launch party for Mega at his New Zealand mansion; on the same day one year ago that location was raided by U.S. and New Zealand law enforcement officials who arrested Dotcom on online content piracy charges. The Next Web reports that during the event, Dotcom claimed the new Mega service had already reached the one million user registration mark.

The Mega launch event was, as expected, quite a spectacle, with models dressed up in para-military uniforms surrounding Dotcom on stage. A recreation of the raid on the mansion in 2012, complete with helicopters, was also part of the festivities. Even with all of these theatrics, Dotcom said at the conclusion of the event that he will not be making as many public appearances from now on, aside from upcoming court dates.

Mega is currently offering users access to 50 GB of file storage space for free, with additional storage and bandwidth available for a fee. Dotcom said during the Mega launch press conference that the service has been “built from the ground up to adhere to the law.” Only time will tell if Mega will suffer the same fate as MegaUpload.

Kim Dotcom: Mega reaches 1 million users one day after launch.

In a case U.S. officials say is the first of its kind, a Chinese businessman pleaded guilty Monday to selling stolen American software used in defense, space technology and engineering – programs prosecutors said held a retail value of more than $100 million.

The sophisticated software was stolen from an estimated 200 American manufacturers and sold to 325 black market buyers in 61 countries from 2008 to 2011, prosecutors said in court filings. U.S. buyers in 28 states included a NASA engineer and the chief scientist for a defense and law-enforcement contractor, prosecutors said.

Corporate victims in the case included Microsoft, Oracle, Rockwell Automation,, Agilent Technologies, Siemens, Delcam, Altera Corp and SAP, a government spokesman said.

U.S. officials and the Chinese man’s lawyer, Mingli Chen, said the case was the first in which a businessman involved in pirating industrial software was lured from China by undercover agents and arrested.

The businessman, Xiang Li, of Chengdu, China, was arrested in June 2011, during an undercover sting by U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents on the Pacific island of Saipan, an American territory near Guam.

Video from the undercover meeting in Saipan, filed as evidence in court, is expected to be made public during a press conference Tuesday by John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Charles M. Oberly III, the U.S. Attorney for Delaware.

Li, 36, originally charged in a 46-count indictment, pleaded guilty late Monday to single counts of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright violations and wire fraud.

“I want to tell the court that what I did was wrong and illegal and I want to say I’m sorry,” Li told U.S. District Judge Leonard P. Stark during a 90-minute hearing in federal court. The Chinese citizen spoke through a translator.

In a court filing, prosecutors David Hall and Edward McAndrew said the retail value of the programs Li sold on the black market exceeded $100 million.

During the hearing, Li told U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark that he disputes that figure. After the hearing, his lawyer said Li did not realize the retail value of what he was selling until he was caught and plans to present his own estimate at sentencing, which is set for May 3, he said.

In recent years, U.S. officials have targeted software pirates overseas but bringing them to the United States has proved difficult.

In one of the largest copyright cases, U.S. prosecutors last year charged seven people, including Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, with racketeering conspiracy and copyright violations. The indictment alleges that Dotcom, who lives in New Zealand, ran an organization that earned $175 million selling an estimated $500 billion worth of pirated movies, TV shows and other entertainment media. Dotcom is fighting extradition from New Zealand.

EXPENSIVE SOFTWARE

The Li case involves sophisticated business software, not entertainment software, and thus small quantities of higher-priced products. The retail value of the products Li pirated ranged from several hundred dollars to more than $1 million apiece. He sold them online for as little as $20 to $1,200, according to government court filings.

At one point, Crack99.com and Li’s other sites offered more than 2,000 pirated software titles, prosecutors said.

Li trolled black market Internet forums in search of hacked software, and people with the know-how to crack the passwords needed to run the program. Then he advertised them for sale on his websites. Li transferred the pirated programs to customers by sending compressed files via Gmail, or sent them hyperlinks to download servers, officials said.

“He was pretty proud of himself,” Chen said of his client’s business acumen. “He did not realize it was such a big crime.”

Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations learned of Li’s enterprise after an unidentified U.S. manufacturer noticed his company’s software for sale on crack99.com.

Working undercover for 18 months beginning in early 2010, the U.S. agents made at least five purchases from Li. These included pirated versions of “Satellite Tool Kit” by Analytical Graphics Inc. of Exton, Penn., a product prosecutors said is “designed to assist the military, aerospace and intelligence industries through scenario-based modules that simulate real-world situations, such as missile launches, warfare simulations and flight trajectories.” Agents bought software worth $150,000 retail for several thousand dollars.

Agents lured Li from China to the U.S. territory of Saipan under the premise of discussing a joint illicit business venture. At an island hotel, Li delivered counterfeit packaging and, prosecutors said, “Twenty gigabytes of proprietary data obtained unlawfully from an American software company.” Officials did not identify the company in court documents.

Chinese man pleads guilty in $100 million stolen software sting | Reuters.

Cyber crime is becoming a bigger threat to companies

The social network site helped identify the criminals

A criminal ring that infected 11 million computers around the world, causing more than $850m (£527m) in total losses, has been snared by a team led by the FBI and Facebook.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation worked alongside several international agencies to arrest 10 people it claims infected computers with “Yahos” malicious software, then stole credit card, bank and other personal information.

Facebook’s security team assisted the FBI after “Yahos” targeted its users from 2010 to October 2012.

The social network site helped identify the criminals and spot affected accounts.

The FBI said Facebook’s security systems were “able to detect affected accounts and provide tools to remove these threats”.

According to the agency, which also worked with the US Department of Justice, the accused hackers employed the “butterfly botnet”.

Botnets are networks of compromised computers that can be used in a variety of cyber attacks on personal computers.

Ten people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the UK and the US have been arrested.

Experts say cybercrime is on the rise around the world as PC and mobile computing become more prevalent and as more and more financial transactions shift online.

Facebook Helps FBI Snare $850m Cyber Gang.