Model and celebrity Charlotte Dawson death

Model and famous person Charlotte Dawson, who had long fought the battle against depression, was found deceased in her Sydney apartment on Saturday.

Ms Dawson, 47, who in her book Air Kiss & Tell detailed her the past of depression, saying she was often visited by the “depression bogeyman”, is believed to have hanged herself in her luxury Woolloomooloo apartment. The estate manager, who was due to take her apartment to auction on Saturday, raised the alarm and the building doorman found her body. Apparently friends were concerned after she hadn’t tweeted for 19 hours.

Since losing her role on Australia’s Next peak Model it is believed that she was struggling monetarily. Her ex-husband, Scott Miller, who she said was the ‘love of her life’, had newly done an interview with Channel 9’s 60 minutes, talking about the role his drug addiction had played in the downfall of their wedding.

Social media had played a huge part in Ms Dawson’s life, and cyberbullying via Twitter led to her being hospitalised after an attempted suicide in 2012. Kate Carnell, chief executive of Beyond Blue said that bullying via social media can be a major factor in triggering mental health issues. She told ABC News Online, “Because people can bully anonymously, it makes it additional likely and it makes it more dangerous.”

The Federal Government has managed to get Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft to agree to guidelines when handling complaints about hateful material on social media. It is also considering a scheme which would make the civil prosecution of cyberbullying simpler.

That Charlotte Dawson was driven to take her own life is indeed sad information, that her ‘friends’ have taken to social media to express their grief, the extremely platform said to be responsible for her demise, is even sadder.

Charlotte, herself a prolific tweeter and instagramer, has fought a very public battle with cyberbullies. And when her demons became too much for her to bear, it appears her lack of social media activity is what alerted her ‘friends’ that there was something incorrect.

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Australian television star Charlotte Dawson dead

Sydney’s The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that she was found hanged. In 2012, she was admitted to a Sydney hospital later than a suicide attempt following an ongoing tirade of abuse on Twitter. She had taken medicine tablets with wine and tweeted: “you win” in a suicide note to her cyber tormentors.

She later made fighting bullying her individual mission, waging an anti-bullying media campaign on TV and radio and in newspapers and magazines as well as her beloved Twitter. Her efforts and high public profile on the problem were recognized by the National Rugby League, a main Australian football association, which final year made her an anti-bullying ambassador.

The NRL’s One-Community campaign is an extension of its zero-tolerance policy toward racial abuse in football. Dawson revealed in her 2012 autobiography “Air Kiss & Tell” that she was often visited by the “depression bogeyman.”

She had long graced the pages of women’s gossip magazines and scenes in reality TV shows. Her modeling career had taken her to Italy, Britain and Germany during the 1980s. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key tweeted he was “surprised and saddened” by the news of her death.

The Sun-Herald newspaper in Sydney reported Sunday that her body was found only minutes before her luxury waterside apartment was due to be sold at auction. The tragedy was discovered the day after the birthday of her former companion, Scott Miller, an Australian Olympic silver medal-winning swimmer who became addicted to the drug ice and accrued several convictions for criminal drug and firearm possession.

Dawson professed her enduring love for Miller and sadness at his fall from grace ahead of Australian “60 Minutes” broadcasting an exclusive talk with him on Feb. 16. Kate Carnell, chief executive of Beyond Blue, a not-for-profit business promoting depression awareness, criticized Twitter for failing to sign up to an Australian government complaint-handling program designed to eliminate hateful material from social media sites.

Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft signed up to the project final year. “There’s lots additional work that citizens like Twitter need to do,” Carnell told The Sun-Herald.

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Actor Jackie Chan dead 2014

News of actor Jackie Chan’s death spread quickly earlier this week causing concern among fans across the world. However the February 2014 report has now been confirmed as a complete hoax and just the latest in a string of fake celebrity death reports. Thankfully, the actor best known for his roles in Shanghai Noon, Rush Hour or Police Story is alive and well.

Rumors of the actor’s alleged demise gained traction on Sunday after a ‘R.I.P. Jackie Chan’ Facebook page attracted nearly one million of ‘likes’. Those who read the ‘About’ page were given a believable account of the actor’s passing.

Hundreds of fans immediately started writing their messages of condolence on the Facebook page, expressing their sadness that the talented 59-year-old actor was dead. And as usual, Twittersphere was frenzied over the death hoax.

Where as some trusting fans believed the post, others were immediately skeptical of the report, perhaps learning their lesson from the huge amount of fake death reports emerging about celebrities over recent months. Some pointed out that the news had not been carried on any major network, indicating that it was a fake report, as the death of an actor of Jackie Chan’s stature would be major news across networks.

A recent poll conducted for the Celebrity Post shows that a large majority (73%) of respondents think those Jackie Chan death rumors are not funny anymore.

On Monday (February 17) the actor’s reps officially confirmed that Jackie Chan is not dead. “He joins the long list of celebrities who have been victimized by this hoax. He’s still alive and well, stop believing what you see on the Internet,” they said.

Some fans have expressed anger at the fake report saying it was reckless, distressing and hurtful to fans of the much loved actor. Others say this shows his extreme popularity across the globe.

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Actor Will Smith dead 2014

Information of actor Will Smith’s death spread quickly earlier this week causing concern among fans across the world. However the February 2014 report has now been confirmed as a complete hoax and now the newest in a string of fake celebrity death reports.

Thankfully, the actor best known for his roles in The Pursuit of Happyness, Men in Black or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is alive and well.

Hundreds of fans directly started writing their messages of condolence on the Facebook page, expressing their sorrow that the talented 45-year-old actor and rapper was dead. And as normal, Twittersphere was frenzied over the death hoax.

Where as some trusting fans believed the post, others were immediately skeptical of the statement, perhaps learning their lesson from the large amount of fake death reports emerging about celebrities over recent months.

Some pointed out that the information had not been carried on any main American system, indicating that it was a fake information, as the death of an actor of Will Smith’s stature would be major news across networks.

A fresh poll conducted for the Celebrity Post shows that a large majority (80%) of respondents think those Will Smith death rumors are not funny any longer.

On Thursday (February 13) the actor’s reps officially confirmed that Will Smith is not dead. “He joins the long list of celebrities who have been victimized by this hoax. He’s still alive and well, stop believing what you see on the Internet,” they said.

A few fans have expressed anger at the fake information saying it was reckless, distressing and hurtful to fans of the much loved actor. Others say this shows his extreme popularity across the world.

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Credit and debit card fraud targets US hotel visitors

White Lodging, the company behind a number of of the hotels in the US chains Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton and Westin, has been leaking thousands of guests’ credit and debit card information throughout much of 2013.

safety journalist Brian Krebs reports hearing from banking business sources in January regarding a pattern of fraud on cards used at the hotels from about 23 March 2013 up until the end of 2013.

The fraud popped up in exact hotels located in the US cities of Austin, in Texas; Chicago, in Illinois; Denver, in Colorado; Los Angeles, in California; Louisville, in Kentucky; and Tampa, in Florida.

The common denominator, it turns out, is that all of the affected hotels in those locations contain businesses run by White Lodging Services Corporation, which owns, develops and/or manages premium hotel brands.

Krebs’s sources said that it was mostly the restaurants, gift shops and other businesses that White Lodging runs within some of the hotels that were targeted, as opposed to the front desk computers that verify guests in and out.

That means that the only Marriott guests who should be affected are those who used their cards at gift shops and restaurants, Krebs notes.

Marriott issued a statement saying that “one of its franchisees has experienced unusual fraud patterns in connection with its systems that process credit card transactions at a number of hotels across a range of brands, including some Marriott-branded hotels.”

Sophos’s Chester Wisniewski and Numaan Huq have been tracking malware behind rigged PoS systems for more than three years and are on the brink of presenting their research at this year’s RSA Conference.

Marriott mentioned fraud “at a number of hotels across a range of brands”, which makes it sound similar to we still might well hear of other hotel brands serviced by White Lodging having been targeted.

So if you’ve been in a hotel, paid for something in a hotel restaurant or gift shop, bought crafting supplies, or fundamentally touched any sliver of plastic in your wallet or purse at all whatsoever to buy so much as a gumball, keep an eye out for funky charges on your report.

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Spy agencies are slurping individual data from spongy cell phone apps

The US’ National safety Agency (NSA) and its UK counterpart, GCHQ, have been honing their data-slurping technologies to suck up anything they can get from leaky smartphones, the protector reported on Tuesday.

Beyond device details, data shared over the internet by iOS and Android apps can include personal information such as age, gender, and location, while some apps share even more responsive user information, such as sexual first choice or whether a given user might be a swinger.

The Guardian, relying on top-secret documents handed over by whistleblower Edward Snowden, says that the spy guys are increasing capabilities to milk this private information from apps as innocuous as the insanely popular Angry Birds game.

Reporting in partnership with the New York Times and Pro Publica, they revealed that the NSA and GCHQ have “common tools” ready to throw against iPhone, Android and other phone platforms.

The agencies also apparently think of Google Maps as a gold mine. The Guardian reports that one project involved intercepting Google Maps queries from smartphones to collect large volumes of location data.

The documents suggest that, depending on how much information a user has provided in his or her profile on a given app, the organization could collect “almost every key detail of a user’s life”, the protector reports: home country, current location (through geolocation), age, gender, zip code, marital status – options included “single”, “married”, “divorced”, “swinger” and more – income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education level, and amount of children.

Given how popular Angry Birds is, and given that the secret documents use it as a case study, some articles have hung Angry Birds in their headlinery – that’s like finery, but with headlines instead of undies.

But Angry Birds shouldn’t be singled out as being in any way subverted or corrupted by the NSA or GCHQ.

Angry Birds is, after all, just one of thousands of mobile apps, none of which has been indicted as complicit with, or data-raked by, the NSA or GCHQ – rather, the spying agencies are, as news reports say, simply tapping data as it flies across the network.

It’s easy to see why: it’s a heck of a lot more fun to have apps spill your beans, since in switch over we get linked to communities or get shiny doo-dads. All we have to do is fill out profiles with stuff they actually don’t, really, need – birthdates, marital status, etc.

We can take back a large chunk of our privacy simply by refusing to hand over data, whether it’s given in a profile or beamed out when we have WiFi and/or geolocation turned on.

Cinching our data waistbands can be done with three simple steps, outlined by Naked safety in the Privacy Plan Diet.

If you can live without “discover My iPad” or other such geolocation-dependent goodies, you can keep a lot of your data out of the hands of spies, marketers or other data busybodies.

But beyond information knowingly handed over in profiles, phone apps have a nasty habit of distribution more data than users may realize.

Sometimes the holes come from software bugs, but then again, sometimes data leakage is an unintended effect of users’ own, deliberate actions, such as:

Twitter users having geolocation turned on, using the word “home” in their tweets and, Presto! thereby potentially handing a nosy small function their home address.

Soldiers snapping photos that smartphones then mechanically geotag, giving the enemy their coordinates.

Beyond bugs and deliberate leakage from probably-inattentive users is yet another category: apps that silently gulp data in the environment while they’re doing innocent-seeming things in the foreground, such as being a flashlight or a mobile phone app for kids.

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Law enforcement in US, China, India, Romania work together to arrest hackers-for-hire

US China India Romania flagsLaw enforcement in four countries have managed to work together to take down a number of hackers-for-hire, all accused of operating websites present to break into email financial statement for a fee.

Arrests were made over the last week in the US, China, India and Romania, with customers of hacking services also picked up in the US, making a total of eleven arrests all told.

The target of the corresponding leap was a cluster of websites offering bespoke hacking services, mainly breaking into email and social networking sites for a variable fee. It’s not clear whether there was any connection between the sites or their operators, other than their public business model.

In the US, the FBI filed charges against five people, the main targets being two men from Arkansas idea to be behind the site.

The site is thought to have been involved in breaching over 6,000 email accounts. The men could face up to five-years jail time if found blameworthy.

The additional three defendants are accused of being customers of hacking sites. Two paid just over $1,000, while the third, from California, is alleged to have handed over more than $20,000 to a Chinese hacking site.

The Feds did not disclose whether this was the same site operated by Ying “Brent” Liu, who was picked up by Beijing police in link with another email hacking website,, linked to around 300 account compromises. Local reports claim Liu “confessed all through examination”.

In the intervening time in India another man was under arrest, described by local law enforcement reports as only “a Pune based private person” but named by the FBI as Amit Tiwari and linked to two websites connected to over 900 email account breaches.

Lastly, Romanian police have picked up and charged four people regarding six unlike websites which may have been behind around 1,600 further account break-ins.

All in all it seems like a pretty successful operation, made all the more impressive by the complexities of international cybercrime law and the difficulties involved in coordinating action connecting several law enforcement agencies, all operating under different legal codes.

Cybercrime and law blogger Gary Warner called the cooperative effort “unparalleled” and a “great sign” of tough times to come for cybercrooks.

As well as given that details and screenshots of many of the sites involved, Warner also speculates that the Romanian haul may include the notorious celebrity-hacker known as Guccifer, before now thought to have been picked up last week.

Cybercrime is a worldwide problem and requires worldwide measures to combat it. As we’ve seen several times recently, the cyber cops of the world seem to be doing an ever superior job of working together, pooling information and assets and coordinating cases across borders to good result.

Hand and computer. Image courtesy of ShutterstockWe’re also seeing ever more action on the legal side of things, with countries from Pakistan to Nigeria effective on or finishing new laws to deal with cybercrime.

If President Goodluck Jonathan gets his way, the Nigerian proposal may even include the death sentence for cases involving dangerous transportation or loss of life, according to local information.

It’s significant for those drafting and favorable these laws to take into account the global nature of cybercrime, and make sure their local laws enable teamwork and collaboration with legal systems and enforcement agencies around the world.

So, it might be best to steer clear of punishments some might think a little great.

On a brighter note, if the trends demonstrated in the hackers-for-hire case continue, we could one day end up with a properly organized set of laws covering digital crimes all over the world, and a set of enforcement agencies to back them up, all working in unity.

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FBI warns of crimewave striking money registers

Image of money register courtesy of ShutterstockThe US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has warned retailers to harden their defences against cyber-heists – particularly those that latch onto acclaim card details from shoppers, as actually happened to Target.

The BBC reports that Reuters got its hands on the warning, which went out as a classified report to large retailers.

The FBI reportedly said that over the past year, it’s seen about 20 cases in which data was stolen using the similar type of malware as that inserted onto Target’s credit and debit card swiping-machines, money registers and other point-of-sale (PoS) tools.

The agency expects PoS malware crime to continue to grow in the near term, despite whatever mitigations law enforcement and security firms throw at it.

The profits are huge, and the PoS virus code is both too cheap and too widely available on dissident markets for thieves to resist, the FBI said.

According to the FBI’s report, one copy of this type of PoS malware was found on retailing for only $6,000 (£3,600).

That’s actually a bit pricey. I don’t know where they’re shopping, but they’re paying top dollar.

Cybersecurity consultants Group-IB back in September 2013 actually found booby-trapped bank card readers for half that price.

The ones they came across were bundled with a suite of money-stealing support services that offered to make scam crimes a snap: $2,000 (£1,200) on a hire-purchase basis or $3,000 (£1,800) for those crooks who just want to buy the hacked terminals outright.

The FBI wasn’t naming names when it came to whose PoS systems have been ambushed, mind you, but the name Target is the one that’s ringing a lot of bells in that branch these days.

A couple weeks ago, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel told CNBC in an interview that there was malware installed on the retailer’s PoS registers.

We don’t know yet whether those rigged registers were behind the breach of Target’s (at least) 70 million data records.

But it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if those hacked PoS systems were the means by which the thief got to the vast universe of Target customers and guests.

As SophosLabs researcher Numaan Huq describes in this Naked safety article, this type of card fraud is ripe for setting us up to get card data plucked from our hands if we so much as pull out the plastic to pay for one measly candy bar.

In fact, “Buy candy, lose your credit card” is the name of a 2014 RSA safety conference session in which Numaan and Chester Wisniewski will be presenting a paper on the industrialization of this type of card fraud, in February.

The subject of the paper and the presentation is one specific type of PoS malware called RAM scraping very interesting stuff that gets into the nuances of how data is most definitely not encrypted end-to-end in PoS systems, in spite of their being compliant with the expense card industry’s data safety standards, PCI-DSS, and how RAM scraping takes advantage of that.

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Hacker Guccifer apparently arrested in Romania

Guccifer, hacker of the stars, has supposedly been nabbed by police in Romania.

Guccifer has grabbed a slew of stuff from celebrity over his star-studded career, counting ex-US President Bush’s self-portrait in the bathtub, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Facebook account, emails that portray Powell as having an issue with Romanian politician Corina Cretu, and yet the script for the Downton Abbey finale.

According to a Romanian news story, a man supposed to be the hacker, Marcel LazarusLehel, was captured Wednesday in his township.Much of the reporting is coming from Romanian sources, meaning we’re relying on web-based translation, but The Times says that so far, we know this about the man being held:

Although little is known about Mr Lehel, it is understood he was sentenced to three years supervised release in February 2012 after being under arrest … for hacking the e-mail and Facebook accounts of various public figures in Romania.

According to the Romanian newspaper Adevarul, police tracked Lehel down to his township of Sâmbăteni, in the commune of Arad County, where he lives with his wife and daughter and rarely leaves the house.

The raid was organized by Romania’s Directorate of Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism, who said that they were cooperating with US establishment.Adevarul reports that Lehel has used the alias “Little Smoke” in the past.

The newspaper quoted the commune’s mayor, Petru Nicoară, who went to the township on Wednesday morning:

Everyone describes him just as I knew him: as a silence man who keeps to the house… I heard he spent his days at the computer.

Of course, plenty of us spend our days innocently enough at our computers so we’ll presume Lehel is innocent awaiting confirmed guilty.

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Rapper 50 Penny encounters court action for publishing sex video without permission

A New York judge on Friday decided that a California lady could sue artist 50 Penny for publishing onto his website a sex movie that revealed the ladies experience.

50 Penny, aka Curtis Wayne Fitzgibbons III, was billed by the lady, Lastonia Leviston, truly for psychological problems.The X-rated movie presented the lady having sex with Maurice Murray, her former partner.

Leviston is the mom of a child fathered by one of 50 Cent’s competitors, John Ross. According to the New You are able to Publish, 50 Penny supposedly bought the home made adult from Murray, although Leviston statements Murray had guaranteed to eliminate the video.

The artist then modified himself into the video as a wig-wearing narrator known as Pimpin’ Wavy.Murray’s experience was blurry out, but Leviston’s was not.50 Penny says he wasn’t accountable for the televisions 2009 launch, according to Fox Information, but says it was lawfully reasonable to use the pictures.

The rapper’s site gets an incredible number of opinions. It clip was also grabbed by several sites and considered almost 4 thousand times, according to the New You are able to Publish.

Leviston billed that the advertising triggered her to experience depressive disorder and stress and nearly forced her to destruction.50 Penny had tried to get the case ignored by disagreeing that she was bluffing, given that she was still able to get her secondary school equivalency degree and hold down two tasks after the movie was published.

But New york Judge John Wooten had written in his choice that Leviston’s journal could lead to other results, according to news sites that considered the judge documents.From the judge’s choice, as transcribed by the New You are able to Post:

[Leviston’s diary] shows that Leviston amused taking once life ideation as a result of the discharge of the movie record, and that she was incapable to operate normally in her everyday life.In the movie, 50 Penny known as Leviston a “call girl” known as Brooke. In her fit, Leviston declined being a hooker.

The judge documents quotation the artist as saying that his only purpose was to react to Ross “disrespecting” him.

In rebuffing 50 Cent’s make an effort to get the fit ignored, Wooten had written that it’s up to a court to decide whether Leviston’s struggling was “genuine and excessive.”

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