Archive for October, 2009

A new internet game is about to be launched which allows ‘super snooper’ players to plug into the nation’s CCTV cameras and report on members of the public committing crimes.

The ‘Internet Eyes’ service involves players scouring thousands of CCTV cameras installed in shops, businesses and town centres across Britain looking for law-breakers.

Players who help catch the most criminals each month will win cash prizes up to £1,000.

Internet Eyes Crime deterrent or snoopers paradise? The CCTV website allows access to a network of cameras where watchers can report crimes to camera owners

The Internet Eyes’ website will also feature a rogue’s gallery of the so-called ‘criminals’ along with a list of their offences and which internet user caught them.

But civil rights campaigners today condemned the game, which launches in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, next month, and branded it ‘a snoopers paradise’.

They claim nosey neighbours could snoop on homeowners putting the wrong rubbish in bins and even motorists guilty of the most minor misdemeanors.

But businessman Tony Morgan, a former restaurant owner, said it would give local businesses protection against petty criminals, and act as a deterrent once ‘Internet Eyes patrol here’ signs are prominently displayed.

He will charge those who use the service, which could eventually include local authorities and even police forces as well as shop owners, £20 a week per camera to have their CCTV included on the site – amounting to thousands each year.

Internet EyesInternet Eyes: David Steele, Tony Morgan and James Woodward

He said: ‘This could turn out to be the best crime prevention weapon there’s ever been.

‘I wanted to combine the serious business of stopping crime with the incentive of winning money.

‘There are over four million CCTV cameras in the UK and only one in a thousand gets watched.

‘Crimes are bound to get missed but this way people the cameras will be watched by lots of people 24-hours-a-day.

‘It gives people something better to do than watching Big Brother when everyone is asleep.

‘We’ve had a lot of interest from local businesses and hope to roll it out nationwide and then worldwide.’

He said the team had seen a wave of support and denied that liberties were being affected.

‘There are more than four million cameras in the UK so everybody is on camera already, it is just that no one is watching the cameras.’

Players collect points by watching the cameras, which show CCTV images in real-time, and click a button every time they see something suspicious taking place.

An SMS or text message, along with a still image of the alleged crime, is sent to whoever controls the camera. They can then decide whether or not to take action.

The camera controller will send a feedback email back to the player indicating whether a crime has taken place.

Players are awarded one point for spotting a suspected crime and three points if they see someone committing an actual crime.  Players also lose points if the camera operator rules that the alert was not a crime.

The game has been condemned by civil rights campaigners who claim it will encourage people to spy and snitch on each other.

Charles Farrier, director of the No-CCTV pressure group, said: ‘It is an appalling idea for a game and will create a snoopers paradise.

‘It is something which should be nipped in the bud immediately. It will not only encourage a dangerous spying mentality by turning crime into a game but also could lead to dangerous civil rights abuses.

‘What if a group of racists decide to send alerts every time a black person is seen on screen and what’s stopping criminals using the cameras to scope out where to commit crimes.’

James Woodward, head of the technical team for Internet Eyes, which is based in Devon and Stratford-upon-Avon, said safeguards – including blocking players out for sending three incorrect alerts – would prevent the game being abused.

He said: ‘For privacy reasons users will not know the location of the cameras. They will find it very difficult to work out where the camera is.

‘It is possible that someone who is blocked out could see a crime taking place but be unable to alert the operator.

‘But it is probably safe to assume someone else looking at the same camera will raise the alarm.

‘Whoever has a CCTV camera, be it the police, local authorities or business or home owners can sign up to have their cameras watched. We hope to include police cameras very soon.’

The game will initially use CCTV cameras in shops and businesses in Stratford-upon-Avon but will be rolled out across Britain by December before going worldwide next year.

Last month it was revealed that Britain has 4.2 million CCTV cameras – the equivalent of one per 14 people – one-and-a-half-times as many as Communist China.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1218225/Internet-game-awards-points-people-spotting-crimes-CCTV-cameras-branded-snoopers-paradise.html#ixzz0TF3wlOGD

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Just found this one this morning. A phishing email arrived on a user’s machine claiming to be from UPS. The email didn’t even look official. It was all in plain text too. The message in the email is copied below and the supposed date given that the parcel was undeliverable always differs.

Subject: UPS Delivery Problem NR.9618

Hello!

Unfortunately we failed to deliver the package which was sent on the 24th of June in time because the recipient’s address is wrong.

Please print out the invoice copy attached and collect the package at our office.

United Parcel Service.

Interesting thing was this. Saved the attachment to the C: drive with it still inside the zip folder. Then scanned the .zip folder with AVG and AVG reported no viruses found.

On the other hand, it could have been a program with non malicious code to the system, which still sent off details and is only malicious in principle rather than code. Only an idea because I didn’t open it….! 😛

This was an official warning released on the UPS website:

Attention Virus Warning
Service Update

We have become aware there is a fraudulent email being sent that says it is coming from UPS and leads the reader to believe that a UPS shipment could not be delivered. The reader is advised to open an attachment reportedly containing a waybill for the shipment to be picked up.

This email attachment contains a virus. We recommend that you do not open the attachment, but delete the email immediately.

UPS may send official notification messages on occasion, but they rarely include attachments. If you receive a notification message that includes an attachment and are in doubt about its authenticity, please contact customerservice@ups.com.

Please note that UPS takes its customer relationships very seriously, but cannot take responsibility for the unauthorized actions of third parties.

Thank you for your attention.

The attachment contains malware, detected as Trj/Agent.JEN by Internet Security company PandaLabs, that can replace an important file on Windows computers and then download other malware to the infected computer. PandaLabs notes:

This malware is copied in the system, replacing the Windows Userinit.exe (this file is the one which runs explorer.exe, the interface of the system and other important processes), copying the legitimate file as userini.exe, so that the computer can work properly.

Additionally, it establishes a connection with a Russian domain, which has been used on some occassions by banker Trojans. From this domain it will redirect the request to a German domain in order to download a rootkit and a rogue antivirus, detected as Rootkit/Agent.JEP and Adware/AntivirusXP2008 respectively.

Apparently, the reported sender is now coming from DHL.

The way signal strength varies in a wireless network can reveal what’s going on behind closed doors.

It’s every schoolboy’s dream: an easy way of looking through walls to spy on neighbors, monitor siblings, and keep tabs on the sweet jar. And now a dream no longer…

Researchers at the University of Utah say that the way radio signals vary in a wireless network can reveal the movement of people behind closed doors. Joey Wilson and Neal Patwari have developed a technique called variance-based radio tomographic imaging that processes the signals to reveal signs of movement. They’ve even tested the idea with a 34-node wireless network using the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless protocol, the protocol for personal area networks employed by home automation services such as ZigBee.

The basic idea is straightforward. The signal strength at any point in a network is the sum of all the paths the radio waves can take to get to the receiver. Any change in the volume of space through which the signals pass, for example caused by the movement of a person, makes the signal strength vary. So by “interrogating” this volume of space with many signals, picked up by multiple receivers, it is possible to build up a picture of the movement within it.

In tests with a 34-node network set up outside a standard living room, Wilson and Patwari say they were able to locate moving objects in the room to within a meter or so. That’s not bad, and the team says there is ample potential for improvement by increasing accuracy while reducing the number of nodes.

The advantage of this technique over others is, first, its cost. The nodes in such a network are off-the-shelf and therefore cheap. Other through-wall viewing systems cost in excess of $100,000. The second advantage is the ease with which it can be set up. Wilson and Patwari say that adding a GPS receiver to each node allows it to work out its own location, which should dramatically speed up the imaging process. Other systems have to be “trained” to recognize the environment.

Wilson and Patwari have even worked out how their system might be used:

“We envision a building imaging scenario similar to the following. Emergency responders, military forces, or police arrive at a scene where entry into a building is potentially dangerous. They deploy radio sensors around (and potentially on top of) the building area, either by throwing or launching them, or dropping them while moving around the building. The nodes immediately form a network and self-localize, perhaps using information about the size and shape of the building from a database (eg Google maps) and some known-location coordinates (eg using GPS). Then, nodes begin to transmit, making signal strength measurements on links which cross the building or area of interest. The received signal strength measurements of each link are transmitted back to a base station and used to estimate the positions of moving people and objects within the building.”

That’s ambitious, but if they do get their system to the point where it can be used like this, it raises another problem: privacy.

How might such cheap and easy-to-configure monitoring networks be used if they become widely available? What’s to stop next door’s teenage brats from monitoring your every move, or house thieves choosing their targets on the basis that nobody is inside?

Of course, in the cat-and-mouse game of surveillance, it shouldn’t be too hard to build a device that disables such a monitoring network. But only if you know it’s there in the first place.

There are fun and games galore to be had with this idea.

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