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Russia Nabs 'Blackhole' Hacking Suspect

Russia Nabs 'Blackhole' Hacking Suspect

Today in international tech news: Russia arrests a man suspected of creating notorious malware. Also: A German court overturns a 2011 ruling that held companies with Facebook fan pages liable for privacy breaches; BlackBerry's cofounders appear to be getting into the bidding; and Papa Snowden visits Edward in Russia.

By David Vranicar
10/11/13 12:35 PM PT

Police in Russia have arrested a man suspected of masterminding a pair of famous hacking tools -- the Blackhole and Cool exploit kits, favorites among cybercriminals looking to install malware.

Russian authorities have been mum on the situation, but security firms have reported a decline in the programs' use. Also, Alexander Gostev, the chief security expert at the Russia-based Internet protection provider Kaspersky Lab, said anonymous sources confirmed the arrest to him.

The software that the suspect created is believed to have installed malware by adding malicious code to legitimate websites -- which would then copy the malware to visitors' computers -- and by creating links in spam messages. Once installed, the malware would play any number of tricks: making false claims that a user's PC was infected and that they should pay a fee to remove viruses; hijacking PCs; or recording what was typed into a computer.

[Source: BBC]

German Court Absolves Companies With Facebook Pages

Overturning a bizarre 2011 order, a German court has ruled that companies operating Facebook fan pages are not liable for potential privacy violations.

The 2011 order said that Facebook was violating German privacy laws -- Germans are notoriously sensitive about privacy -- by collecting data on users. Ergo, a data privacy agency ordered companies operating Facebook fan pages to take them down or face a fine because, according to their logic, these companies were facilitating the privacy breach.

The court that overturned the 2011 ruling didn't issue a verdict on whether or not Facebook is responsible for privacy violations -- only that companies with fan pages aren't liable.

[Source: ZDNet]

BlackBerry Cofounders Mull Purchase

Back in BlackBerry?

Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin, cofounders of the sputtering Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry, are considering a bid to buy the company, or so says a securities filing from Thursday.

The filing didn't specify whether the duo was planning to partake in the US$9-per-share bid offered by Fairfax Financial Holdings, or if they were going to devise an alternative to that bid.

Together, Lazaridis and Fregin control about 8 percent of BlackBerry, according to the filing; Fairfax controls about 10 percent.

It will be difficult for foreign buyers to get in on the BlackBerry bidding (assuming any are interested -- BlackBerry is on an infamous slide). BlackBerry's servers handle millions of corporate and government emails per day, so any buyer would have to pass a review under the national security clause of the Investment Canada Act. In other words, don't expect -- say, Huawei -- to get involved in the bidding.

[Source: Reuters]

Papa Snowden Visits Edward

Lon Snowden, the father of Edward Snowden, arrived in Moscow Thursday.

Lon was met by a slew of television reporters at Sheremetyevo Airport after arriving from New York; he had hoped to avoid media attention, but fat chance of that. He said he was eager to see his son and wanted to "learn more about his circumstances and his health and to discuss legal options."

Lon said that he had obtained a multiple-entry visa and planned to return to Russia because, best he can tell, Edward isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

The founder of Russian social media site VKontakte, who offered Snowden a job upon his arrival, said his offer still stands.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal]


David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.


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